Arapai-Urale House, Auckland


A two storey detached house which is a contemporary take on the traditional single gable worker’s cottage found in Auckland’s inner suburbs. The house is simple and robust in form, allowing for the growing up of a large family.

Project Summary

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Arapai-Urale House is a recipient of an NZIA Award and a Resene Colour Award in 2004. The clients, a TV producer and a poet, had historical connections with the Bay, as does the house, which relates well to the area's special character requirements. 

The form references its Victorian neighbours and includes deep verandas to acclimatise the solid container to the Pacific environment. 

Equivalence between the rooms plays down traditional hierarchies and ensures the small house accommodates a growing family and the large number of visitors that sometimes stay over. 

The brief to the architect was relatively utilitarian with requirements such as, a small lawn, a pantry, and room for six children. The design response was to weave the pragmatic requirements into a refined and abstracted take on the 19th century precedent of the worker's cottages. 

​At first glance, the design appears to be a simple proposition, upon further evaluation there is a degree of complexity in the composition. A strange cut-out of the roof provides visual interest and a break in what would have been a long roof form. This cleverly allows clear storeys to be introduced and provides daylight into upper level bedrooms and family spaces. ​​