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Nature VS nurture: raising the Kiwi bach

The Kiwi bach was born in the middle of the 20th century as a symbol of the beach holiday lifestyle that became increasingly accessible to the middle class of the time. Once synonymous with rustic charm and modest amenities - sometimes situated completely 'off the grid' - the early generation bach was definitely the product of its rural, rough and ready environment. Some could say nature played its part in rearing the concept.

These days, nurture seems to be raising a new breed of the Kiwi bach as modern models earn accolades and boast materials and mod-cons that would rival those found in permanent residences.

For the purists out there, the concept of a luxury design may be at odds with the down-to-earth bach that has long been a celebrated national icon. At face value, the architectural evolution and refinement of the concept could be attributed to stricter building codes, affluence, and suburban sprawl, but Maurice Regeer of MnM Design offers an insightful take on the metamorphosis, citing the financial imperative as a governing principle in the design of new baches.

"The definition of bach is 'a small house' with modest facilities. Yesterday's bach will link into this quite well. It was mostly used during holiday times with family. Today's bach has slightly different needs. We want more modern facilities and I think what is driving the evolution is the constant change in the use. The rise of the websites that have baches for rent has made a huge impact. Suddenly we see money coming in for an otherwise expensive piece of real estate.

"A big gamechanger these days is rental income, BookaBach and AirBnB to name a couple. These help with the running cost of a bach and we have noticed this is something the whole design will be orientated towards."

While Maurice laments the loss of the original bach version 1.0 - some of which have actually been dismantled given their transcendence of modern legal parameters - he says the future of the bach design remains open for interpretation and we're still likely to see the pared back versions with 'clamping' (container camping) a new genre.

"The bach has always been engrained into the Kiwi way of celebrating the holiday seasons. That will not change, but the truth is that the older style bach is slowly disappearing and making way for more luxury style accommodations. It's a shame as they have quite quirky design aspects and lots of history.

"Tomorrow's bach? Your guess is as good as mine, but we are seeing a big movement back towards a brief that all the client needs is a container on site, with running water, and they will sort out the rest. 'Clamping'!"

One thing's for sure, the shapeshifting nature of the bach's architecture and style is keeping the urban dictionary in business with neologisms.