Pac Studio 3 Heron House

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Sarosh Mulla, Aaron Paterson
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Liz Tjahjana, Steven Lloyd, Eric Abba, Rory Kofoed, Mat Reid, Fritha Hobbs, Bhavina Patel, Jess Sodo
  • Client
    Ryan Heron

Our client had purchased a site in central Auckland, with some friends. The site came with an existing little bungalow, usefully placed towards the front of the site. Their plan was for our client’s friends to occupy this existing house and for a new dwelling to be built in the back yard for our client to use when he and his partner returned to Auckland from overseas each summer. The idea hinged on a shared garden between the two dwellings and the idea of this being both a buffer to create privacy as also a place to come together.
Restrictions are typically seen as limitations – but they can also inspire imaginative fusions of form and function, inviting you to look beyond the orthogonal, to share spaces, and reach out to light and views. This house is distinguished by its tall, asymmetric roofline – the form, a response to council planning controls, turns limitation into opportunities to reach up and out, capturing an easterly view of Maungawhau / Mount Eden, and the softer, eastern morning light. The volume internally is spectacular and was instantly nick named the cathedral by the carpenters tasked with creating it. The roof avoids any planning infringements, allowing the client’s ambitious timeline to be met, while also introducing a form which can be read from the street.
The bach is often about the beach, but at heart we think it’s really about intention. Creating an architecture to shift mindsets from work to relaxation, simplicity, and bringing people together. It can happen anywhere. Here, the ‘beach’ is replaced with a lush, mature garden – shared with good friends who occupy the site’s front house.

The interior of the house is about colour, texture and fun. The bright yellow kitchen sits within the double height space as the heart of the home. Deep blue green walls and clear finished okoume plywood ceilings create a space which is both voluminous, but warm and intimate. A custom made stow away ladder leads you up to the mezzanine where a tall roof window provides a view to the maunga.
The exterior by contrast is designed with visually recessive cladding, emphasising the lush garden’s qualities. The silvered timber cladding and dulled zincalume roofing become weathered and neutral in response to the tropical planting that characterises the shared garden as also the neighbouring sites.

Within the small budget for the project, we sought out solutions what would have the highest impact on the building’s energy use through its lifetime. The house is heavily insulated and lined with both interior and exterior vapour barriers, making it tremendously airtight. These two measures, combined with the small footprint make it easy to heat. The tall volume is also easy to ventilate at high level from the mezzanine. This sets the fundamentals for the house on a good footing.