Angelina Jolie Dressed in a Sack

Recently I visited a house at Musick Point, which has to be a greatly under rated part of Auckland. It has a golf course at the end of the peninsular, wonderful views of the gulf, and this particular home had a fantastic aspect out west towards the Eastern Suburbs of Auckland - which looked really quite nice from a distance.

The owners had bought 10 years ago - on something of a whim. The house had everything inside that they wanted, it suited their lifestyle at the time, and just worked for them. It was, however, clad in plaster over the now dreaded fibre cement board, and designed externally from an aesthetic point of view that can best be described as 'dubious'.

Anyway, this particular house was built in the heady days before everyone was terrified of the 'L' word for 'Leaky', and hardly anyone thought the bad 'C' word meant 'Council'. It was perfect for the new owners, but very badly dressed - I suggested it was something like Angelina Jolie dressed in a sack. The owner responded by saying that Mrs Pitt would look good even dressed in a sack.

That's the point of course - it's easy to understand the beauty within when it's Angelina covered in a sack, but often that's not the case with buildings that look dodgy from the outside.

Intuitively everyone knows when a building 'feels' good but they probably can't articulate that feeling, or know if the place can be made to feel still more engaging, more soulful and more delightful. We think differently though, and we can see the 'inner Angelina' in buildings and we understand how to reveal that and add value (or the 'inner Jabba the Hutt' in rare cases).

We do this not by looking at buildings as just sculpture, but we look for value in the less tangible, often more highly thought of aspects of a building when it's actually experienced.

When we look at buildings in this way, we find potential in them that has been hidden away by poor design, perhaps even just by poor clothing. We help look past the sack to the real beauty that lies beneath. By thinking differently, we know we can help open up possibilities that might not have ever been considered.

John Durkin

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