New Zealand-based Parsonson Architects successfully completed a family home located on the lower slopes of Te Mata Peak bordering the Tukituki River. Maybe that’s the reason why it was named Tukituki House. Designed with sustainability, efficiency and the needs of families in mind, the formation of old river terraces and fertile soil is one of the attractions of the location.

The family home of the couple and their two children. The owner loves landscapes, loves gardening, and wants a place to live that can connect with the surrounding environment. The home also features a swimming pool for hot summer days, covered outdoor space, and plenty of outdoor space for large trees and a productive garden.


Tukituki House design concept

Tukituki House sits low and gently steps downwards, following the contour of the land beneath the long roof covering. There is an entry via a covered walkway to the side of the garage which leads to the main living area facing north and opens to a partially covered outdoor space leading to the swimming pool. The living spaces mostly face east, north and west to connect to the protected outdoors, so that residents will be treated to sunlight from morning to evening. Meanwhile, the upper living area extends further west to enjoy views south of Te Mata Peak.


Tukituki House interior

Located inside, family activities center around the kitchen, dining room, family and covered outdoor areas. The TV combined with the work space is also used for children with large sliders allowing it to be closed and the upper living area is used as a retreat for parents. The bedrooms are in the wing that stretches from north to south and is positioned at the east end to enjoy the morning sun, with a large roof to filter the hot summer sun. The house is largely clad in dark-stained horizontal cedar weatherboards that relate to the dark shapes in the surrounding landscape and Andy Coltart’s house nearby. This darkness is balanced by white elements that follow the rhythm of paneling one might find in a more traditional farmhouse and operate as a contrast to the dark shapes.


Embrace sustainable design

This house is mostly built using materials with a low carbon footprint. The structure is made of wood, with minimal use of structural steel elements forming the roof. The majority of the exterior trim is made from Western Red Cedar, the interior trim is made from a mix of Saligna Pine and Eucalyptus, while the ceilings and joinery are mostly made from Okoume plywood. The walls are 140mm thick allowing R4 insulation, and the ceiling has R5 insulation. Double glazed windows and concrete slabs are insulated below and around them. The concrete floor area is left exposed and is designed to function as a heat sink, collecting and storing heat during the day and releasing it at night.

The shape and plan of the roof are arranged to allow morning sunlight to enter and provide flexibility for the outdoor area to adapt to different weather conditions. The floor plan allows for abundant natural cross-ventilation and cooling. The space heater is a combination of an electric radiator and wood burner. Rainwater is collected and stored for reuse to irrigate the garden, and black water is treated using a vermicompost system and discharged to the site.















photography: Paul McCredie

source: Parsonson Architects

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