Cymon Allfrey Architects Create a Multi-Generational Retreat in Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs of North Canterbury in New Zealand is home to this inter-generational family retreat. The project looks and takes inspiration from campsite’s, creating a series of loosely connected buildings.


The project, which was completed in 2017, has been titled The Family Bach, and was taken on by local architecture firm, Cymon Allfrey Architects.



The series of dwellings are spread over an area of 1,356.25-square-feet (126-square-meters). Two of the units serve as fully functioning homes, complete with spaces for cooking, eating, relaxing and sleeping. There’s also another structure on the site that serves as a store and bunkhouse.



From the architects: “Similar to establishing a campsite, the architecture deliberately challenges our understanding of a dwelling to engage the family in a manner of living that fosters the qualities of holiday making. Decorated and furnished using objects we found and loved, this retreat is crafted for memory making.”


The three buildings are tied to one another through an outdoor communal space. The communal space is predominantly composed of a large exterior wooden deck, and a patio. The deck provides a space for cooking and eating with a barbecue, outdoor table and a few benches, while the patio hosts the fire pit.


The one of the main aims of the project was to allow the buildings, and their inhabitants, to function independently of one another. It’s the surroundings and communal areas which are designed to bring them back together.


Creating a cozy family retreat extends beyond the spaces, to their actual make up. Extensive use was made of timber due to its perceived warmth and honesty. Outside, solar panels are put to use, subsidizing the families electrical needs. Inside, a mass of concrete can be found around the wood burner to help regulate the interior temperature.


For more retreats, check out Jephta Lake Retreat, which uses rich finishes to create a relaxing atmosphere. Or, This old Swiss chalet that gets rebuilt as an usual retreat. See all retreats.

Photos © Stephen Goodenough

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

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