Located on Mount Eden Road in Auckland NZ, this house is situated on a small narrow site and surrounded by high neighbours on the North and South sides. A primary consideration for the Strachan Group Architects (SGA) was to ensure privacy for the occupants from the neighbours as well as the busy arterial road while still maintaining ample light indoors, and valley views to the West and towards Maungawhau on the East.

A covered courtyard with a glazed roof functions as a transition space between the world outside and the oasis within; the busy road is shut off by a solid wall made of concrete and steel. From inside the house, framed openings offer views to the surrounds, connecting to both the immediate site and the neighbourhood beyond.

An indoor garden in the covered courtyard is lined with band-sawn Lawson Cypress and filled with native plants including a living herb wall. The dining and kitchen areas open out into the courtyard, utilising the glazed roof to allow light to penetrate deep into the Southern part of the house. Double height spaces within the living and kitchen areas bring focus to a timber cradle that accommodates the first floor bedrooms and bathroom, amplifying the sense of verticality created by the large gable roof.

Birch S/BB Select from Big River Group was used in this project. The unfinished European Birch plywood panels feature a straight grain and fine texture as well as an attractive multi-ply edge detail, and come in product colours ranging from creamy white to biscuit.

On the North face of the gable roof, photovoltaic panels have been installed to harness solar energy and set the house firmly on the path to becoming a Net Zero Energy dwelling. Multiple water tanks to the South accommodate rainwater collection and storage for use within the house and gardens. The house is well-insulated with a double layer wrap system contributing to indoor comfort for residents throughout the year. The adjacent pool provides additional passive cooling to the living area in the warmer months.

The Mount Eden Road house won several accolades for its design including NZIA Local Award Winner – 2017 – Housing; Home Magazine – Home of the Year 2017 – Finalist; and Trends International Design Awards – 2017 – New Zealand Architect-Designed Kitchen – Highly Commended.

NZIA Awards Jury Citation: ‘Spatial complexity is handled with ease and classic planning devices, such as indoor-outdoor flow and open plan living areas, are disrupted in this house which blurs the definition between indoors and out. Generous to the passing public, yet providing private space for an extended family, this oasis in one of Auckland’s busiest streets offers a textured layering of space as it transitions between street and garden.’