339: A Private, Inner City Oasis

Located on a main arterial road and faced with high neighbours overlooking from the north and south, this small narrow site required a considered approach to create privacy within the house, whilst still maintaining ample light, sun and views. As the own home of Architect Dave Strachan and his wife Colleen, they were looking to downsize and spend less time maintaining their property and more time enjoying the environment and growing tribe of grandchildren on a site just an easy bus ride from the delights of the city and a 2-3 minute walk to Mount Eden village in which they have lived in for 30 years.

Concrete and steel present a solid face to the busy road, while within the fabric of the 230m2 house/garage, solid and void create moments of introspection, juxtaposed with framed openings offering views to the surrounds; connecting to both the immediate site and the neighbourhood beyond. Dave was initially drawn to the site because of the design challenges that it presented, the strong presence of Mangawhau to the East and vistas to the west as the land falls away steeply to the gully below.

Facing the street is a covered entry courtyard, a transition between the public and the private. It provides relief in the form of an indoor garden lined with band-sawn Lawson Cypress and filled with native plants, including a living herb wall. Bleeding into this space, the dining and kitchen utilise the courtyard’s glazed roof to allow light to penetrate deep into the southern part of the house. Above, emphasised through double height spaces within the living and kitchen areas, a timber clad cradle accommodates the first floor bedrooms and bathroom, amplifying the sense of verticality created by the large gable roof and full-length windows that permit visual access through the building to passers by.

This home utilises it’s site and material selections to minimise maintenance and maximise sustainability. The exterior walls and roof are clad in Metalcraft Roofing’s Espan 340 in COLORSTEEL® Ironsand. The concealed fixing and shadow play formed by the high ribs creates a clean and modern, yet robust envelope. The large north face of the gable roof houses an expansive array of photovoltaic panels to harness the sun’s energy, aiming for the house to become a net zero energy dwelling.

A bank of water tanks to the south accommodates water collection and storage for use within the house and gardens. The design encompasses many thermal moderating elements, including a double layer wrap system, high levels of insulation and thermal mass to contribute to internal comfort in both winter and summer. The adjacent pool provides additional passive cooling to the living area in the warmer months.

SGA (Strachan Group Architects)

SGA is a multiple award-winning Auckland practice.
Grounded in a specific and detailed first-hand
knowledge of construction the team brings a highly
developed sense of craft to the task of creating
sustainable buildings with precision and elegance.

SGA (Strachan Group Architects
Project Team: Dave Strachan, Ross Keane

Main contractor: Crate Innovation Ltd – Fraser Strachan
and James Strachan

Roofing/cladding Manufacturer:
Roofing or cladding profile: Espan 340
Colour: Ironsand

Roofing Installer:
Aspect Roofing

Cladding Installer:
Fraser Strachan, Crate innovation Ltd

Landscape Architect:
SGLA – Campbell Strachan

Simon Devitt