The Tate Home

While London might have the Tate Modern – a contemporary art gallery on the banks of the Thames – New Zealand has Chris Tate, an Auckland-based architect who’s every bit as avant-garde as his namesake. 

New Zealand’s own Tate Modern 

Chris developed a passion for art, buildings and spaces at an early age. He also developed a penchant for using unconventional materials to create unexpected relationships that often inspired, and sometimes shocked! 

His love of jet-black buildings with pure white interiors has become synonymous with his style: creating soft, gentle interiors nestled within uninvitingly tough exteriors.

One of his most recent projects – on Waiheke Island – was his own place; a pad where he could work, live and relax. Now affectionately known as ‘The Tent’, it resembles a giant Cicada, hunched and ready to spring. 


The build itself was challenging. Chris describes it as ‘like a large sail under wind load, requiring a lot of supporting structure’. The complexities of this all-steel structure are hidden inside the stunningly white walls which, unencumbered, present a perfectly smooth, clean look and feel.

Clad in an elegantly fine-ribbed Metalcraft Metrib roofing profile in Ebony COLORSTEEL®, it squats low at the back, widening to thrust seven metres high at the front. 

The building required steel purlins every 200mm and a steel spine supporting the two huge steel segments that served as both roof and walls. With on-site engineering input from Team Builders 2000 craftsmen, Chris created his own steel materials to exact structural specifications. 

That’s why he used only steel framing. “It allows flexibility of design. It’s 100% reliable. It’s stable. There’s no variation. It’s unaffected by weather. It’s also a cost-effective material that’s lightweight and easy to handle. That means it’s less demanding on the builders and allows me to craft my own customised pieces on site.”

The end result really is a work of art; a highly-functional building that’s bold and distinctive yet completely at home in the stunning natural landscape that surrounds it.

Material: COLORSTEEL® ENDURA® in Ebony

Profile: Metalcraft Metrib 750

Supplier: Metalcraft

Roofer: Clive Mathews

Architect: Chris Tate

Builder: Andrew Sawley