Akaroa House

A many-gabled house sensitive to the surrounding heritage context.

Context – that is, heritage – is key when designing a house in Akaroa – a harbourside, French colonial town located approximately 75 kilometres from Christchurch.

To ensure the house didn’t overwhelm its quaint setting, we broke the plan down under a series of gabled roofs. They recede and advance across the façade, diminishing the overall scale by presenting as a series of slightly different, more modestly-sized buildings.

Akaroa House


NZIA National Architecture Award – Shortlisted

NZIA Canterbury Architecture Award – Housing category

NZIA Resene Colour Award

Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Award - Silver Award in the Residential Category

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Sometimes you can both fit in and stand out. Located on a waterfront site in Akaroa, this house shows a contemporary form of architecture that is also sensitive to scale, aesthetic and heritage. 


The client brief was for a contemporary timber house – and, specifically, not a glass pavilion, which may not have sat well in Akaroa (and the design committee that ensures proposed developments ‘fit’), a village rightly proud of its heritage architecture, much of which consists of small-scale timber-clad gable forms.


The key architectural move was to break the building into a series of discrete, steeply pitched gabled roofs. These recede and advance to diminish the bulk of the structure and make it appear as several smaller dwellings – each with a slightly different character to further the effect and display a pleasing variety.

Carefully composed areas of glass frame expansive views of the picturesque landscape of harbour and hills while a series of timber shutters complement the overall aesthetic, maintain privacy in this quite public spot and enable the house to be enclosed when not in use.

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