Boatsheds

A superb, relaxed, confident family home.

  • Location
  • Auckland, NZ
  • Architect
  • Strachan Group Architects (SGA)
  • Photography
  • Simon Devitt

Inserted into a small and very difficult corner site, this elegant, light-filled assemblage of three boat-shed like structures is a superb response to the lives of a busy boating and sporting family. Robust yet elegant, full of surprises, and making inspired use of wood, glass and steel, the house is beautifully built throughout.

A superb, relaxed, confident family home with real personality, it makes a vivid streetscape contribution to its neighbourhood and as such has won numerous awards including the NZIA Architecture Award 2015 for housing.

SGA, in association with Rachael Rush, designed the house, which sits on a constrained, compact urban site, a stone’s throw away from Takapuna Beach. The three-stepped gables of the black ‘boatsheds’ appropriately reference the boating and beach culture of the area, with the sliding forms revealing a solution beyond the standard connotations of a home - a bespoke incubator for the clients’ lifestyle.

Along with their love of the ocean, the clients’ affinity for natural wood played a part in SGA’s inspiration for the house design. The clients share a passion for the warmth that wood contributes to a home as well as its ability to express exquisite craftsmanship. The corner site, challenged by two 5m front yards and the blunt presence of a three-storey neighbour hard on the North-West boundary, stimulated an approach of layered complexity with ample transparency to capture light, sun and glimpses of the Pohutukawa and baiting ocean.

Feature lighting from David Trubridge was chosen for the house and at night the lights cast unique shadow effects across the voluminous patterned ceilings in lapped plywood.Commenting on the importance of light in the project SGA Director Pat de Pont told darc: A great deal of what this house is about is related to light, and particularly with transmission and transparency. The intention is to enlarge and animate space with light from the inside and to dissolve the building's exterior to reduce its bulk and dominance on the corner site. The building is crafted like a jewellery box with a simple, recessive exterior and a warm golden glowing interior, a lantern that only really shows itself at night."

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