parsonson architects: wairau house, new zealand parsonson architects: wairau house, new zealand
feb 08, 2013

parsonson architects: wairau house, new zealand

‘wairau house’ by parsonson architects, wairau valley, new zealandimage © paul mcCredieall images courtesy of parsonson architects




located amidst the rural landscape of the wairau valley in northern new zealand, the ‘wairau home’ shares the company of groomed farms, orchards, and vineyards quilted over the rolling hills. local practice parsonson architects conceived of the residence as an encampment of five private concrete structures connected by a series of semi-exterior walkways and landscape elements that bring the user in constant communication with the outside. the thin pitched roof components recall the agricultural architecture of the area, while the interior maintains a more contemporary feel with a rich palette of wood, exposed concrete, and continuous expanses of glass that creates transparent thresholds to the scenic environment. the home is organized throughout one level, remaining hidden in the pastoral context.

open structure connects with the exterior landscapeimage © paul mcCredie




the main volume to the north contains the central social space – kitchen, living room, dining area, study, and den – with a satellite structure to the east that has two bedrooms, a workshop, and services, and another wing to the west where the more private quarters are located.  the footprint creates a general horseshoe outline that wraps around a central pool and also gives each function of the dwelling a unique view to the horizon as well as to the central area of the residence. light steel columns hold up the almost floating canopy that protects the solid concrete elements that sit structurally independent of the roof, creating a sort of connection between all the spaces while providing visual privacy. the retractable glass walls turn the residential nature of the project into an exterior pool-side pavilion, allowing the free movement of circulation and air through the entire structure.

concrete elements sit independently from the roof structureimage © paul mcCredie



image © paul mcCredie



a central pool is wrapped by different wings of the house in a U-shaped footprintimage © paul mcCredie



image © paul mcCredie



exterior gazebo following the same roof structure as the house but made of thin wooden planksimage © paul mcCredie



small yard with saplingsimage © paul mcCredie



living room with a variety of wood texturesimage © paul mcCredie



concrete walls delineate spaces while remaining open at the ceilingimage © paul mcCredie



kitchenimage © paul mcCredie



kitchen and diningimage © paul mcCredie



view to the exteriorimage © paul mcCredie



‘wairau house’ by parsonson architects, wairau valley, new zealandimage © paul mcCredie




site plan



roof plan





















 concept sketch

  • Please check your references: Wairau Valley is at the top of the South Island of New Zealand (we have two islands)! Northern New Zealand would mean Northland.

    Vicky says:
  • … er, just to clarify (and not get laughed at by fellow Kiwis) we actually have three islands if you include Stewart Island, but we commonly talk about the North and South ones.

    Vicky says:
  • thank you for catching that vicky,
    the article has been updated with more accurate information!

    danny db says:
  • Spectacular. It has some nice character.

    justin says:
  • A lovely use of glass concrete and wood. The kitchen windows are splendid and the raw concrete provides a nice contrast to the stainless steel and the warm wood.

    Ron Smith says:

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