Nikau House by Strachan Group Architects


Sited in Auckland’s inner city suburb of Parnell, the Nikau House is the first of a newly developed subdivision; the conception of private and responsive spaces for the client, a semi-retired couple was essential for conceived future conditions as well as ensuring that existing aspects of the site were acknowledged.

The clients wanted a light, airy Scandinavian modernist design aesthetic in a house that could easily accommodate visitors and family when they come to stay. The challenge lay in creating an innovative design within a tight urban context whilst still providing privacy, amenity and quality of indoor and outdoor space on a small site. A key consideration was providing ample wall space to display the couple’s art collection and feature shelving to store their books.

The building steps with the site’s natural contour, creating over height spaces to the West, and allowing for the library’s tall shelving wall. Considered placement of windows frame the views to the lush green bush gully, existing Nikau palms and the Waitemata Harbour to the North. The Zincalume trapezoidal roofing wraps around the structure to form the Eastern wall – combined with slatted exterior timber screens to provide further privacy from future developments.

An intrinsic approach to sustainable design is demonstrated in the garden and solar water systems, thermal mass and cross-ventilated spaces. Timber decking is used internally to create a floor that breathes, this combined with internal timber louvers in the upper level bedrooms creates convection airflow to passively heat and cool the home. The slatted screens also act as shading devices, helping to regulate the internal temperatures – casting patterns of shadow on the sunlit interior spaces.

Materials have been selected for durability and a refined aesthetic. The timber and light colour palette reference Scandinavian design and provide a backdrop to emphasise the bold modern art collection. The result for the satisfied clients is a serene, quiet urban retreat with an understated luxury.

Architects: Strachan Group Architects
Location: Parnell, Auckland
Architect In Charge: Strachan Group Architects
Design Team: Dave Strachan, Pat de Pont, Jessica Knight
Engineer: Thorne Dwyer Structures
Builder: Dave McGillivray
Area: 230.0 sqm
Photographs: Jackie Meiring


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