Ron Sang was introduced to Brian Brake by his friend, sculptor Guy Ngan.
"He had a drawing of a Japanese farm house. He liked everything Japanese. But his land was amongst the bush, full of nikau palms and kauri trees and there was this big, lumbering farmhouse with an orange tile roof, and I thought 'this can't be right'."
Sang asked for the weekend and on Monday, presented plans for a house of glass and wood. The design was revised a reported 18 times, as Sang went backwards and forth with the Hong Kong-based Brake."
The design process for the Brake House was complicated, not just by the fact Brake was living in Hong Kong at the time, but that technology was still rather basic.
"In 1976, there was no fax; you can't transmit anything except by airmail. You can't ring without first making an appointment - it was all done slowly." Today, the house has a Category 1 heritage listing, is recognised amongst the country's top 20 modern buildings and, in 2001, was awarded the New Zealand Institute of Architect's inaugural Enduring Architectural Award.
The current owners initially fought the Historic Place listing. "But eventually we sat down and said: 'you know what, it isn't about us. This is about Ron and Brian. It'd be pretty selfish to deny them that recognition'."
Sang: "Without question, it's one of the best houses I've done. That opened many doors for me."