Thursday, February 7, 2008

Raglan and the Addition of the Bach

Yesterday, I went to Raglan to check out some of the houses there that had been added onto a good bit over time. Raglan is more known for its surfing and having the longest left break in the world. Some people looked at me kind of funny when I told them I wasn’t really going to surf, and instead look at some of the houses. Most of the folks there had some serious chillin’ on their minds. Not that that was that far from mine. I did ride some serious waves, with just my body, almost as far as some of the surfers made it.

But, Raglan is another one of those old weekend communities, made up of baches, which I had mentioned in an earlier post. While it certainly still houses the weekend getaway, there are many more people that now call it home. Consequently, there are many new homes, but the original housing stock has been modified quite a bit, with a majority of the houses having very defined additions. Such additions varied greatly, as one might suspect, ranging from just formal interventions maintaining the same materials to very distinct differences based on materials, size, color, and relationship to the street. Many of the original houses were one or two rooms, and certainly couldn’t cover the more permanent lifestyle or one in which the standards were constantly changing. Many of the houses had clear additions of garages, as they were probably built before cars were a commodity. Some houses stayed very small and simple, and just had small campers parked in front.

What is interesting most about these is that they express a strong chronology, beginning with a very small unit, that served very basic functions. But, as these functions changed, values, and culture changed, resulting very much in the changing physical form of the house. I suspect that this language and character will be very similar to what I will see in the developing countries. The quality of standards of housing may be different, and a lot of that depends on time. Time and standards are themes that will continually be surfacing during my explorations.

PS. More pictures will be coming soon. Just trying to keep up with my thoughts before they drift away.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Wow! That's a lot to take in...the movie, the farm, surfing whilst discerning the chronological development of the communities you encounter....

Your articulation of this journey and your interest in "wanting to believe in the power of the built environment to change lives, culture, and family for the better" really resonated with me. Moreover, your description of the development of the Ford's "Big House" definitely helps to anchor and contextualize a rationale for your profession, i.e. as you put it, "they have had to update their order to serve and have a quality of housing...." And, when your final post described the change in functions, values and cultures, I began to contemplate the notion of hegemony and constructs of class that support the manifestation of hegemonic values in the community.

While I can't wait to see the pics, your words are immensely vivid...

Thanks so much for sharing your insights as you continue on this journey.