Strachan Group Architects: A Sense of Craft


Grounded in a specific and detailed first-hand knowledge of construction, the Strachan Group Architects team bring a highly developed sense of craft to the task of creating sustainable buildings with precision and elegance. Images Simon Devitt & Patrick Reynolds

The practice has a rich and complex understanding of how to respond to the subtleties of site, the impacts of the natural environment and the many contexts within which a building must operate. To these qualities SGA adds a precise knowledge of construction with an advanced level of experience of prefabrication and the use of digitally controlled machinery, fabricating building elements under tightly controlled conditions.

SGA takes pride in its ability to communicate ideas about building as they develop in conversation with clients, consultants and contractors. This skill has been honed in the extensive involvement the practice has had in education where it has delivered a number of design/build projects with architecture students that have been recognised by the New Zealand Institute of Architects by a series of Awards. 

Recognised by their peers as an innovative and exciting practice, SGA is a group of highly skilled people with a diverse complementary skills. This flexible team is highly attuned to new developments in the building industry, appreciated by their many clients and capable of undertaking work at any scale.

Tiri House: Waiheke Island

Located on a large site with existing visitor accommodation and a private vineyard, this new home treads lightly on the land, utilising the footprint of the previous dwelling, which was transported to a local site and re-used. Ideally sited just below a ridgeline, with panoramic views stretching southeast from Oneroa Bay, to Hakaimango Point and the Hauraki Gulf beyond, the home was designed to take advantage of the views without sacrificing protection and refuge from the elements.
Bay House – Castor Bay, Auckland, winnter of NZIA local award 2018,
Trends International Design Awards – 2018 Architect Designed Kitchen 

Located at Castor Bay on Auckland’s North Shore, the dark box like forms of Bay House stretch and weave along the elevated south-facing site. Recessed into the bank, the concrete basement is fractured by a glass roofed atrium space that allows sun and natural light to permeate deep within the building footprint. Guests are welcomed into this atrium space by the sound of the cascading pond in the garden above, circulating up through the atrium on to a timber planked bridge which connects the living areas either side.
Whare Koa – Opahi Bay, Mahurangi West – NZIA local award winner 2018

New Zealand is home to some spectacular vistas and landscapes and it draws amazing architecture to its shores.  A fine example is Whare Koa House in the breathtaking Mahurangi West countryside. This glorious piece of design excels both internally and externally and showcases the talents of the SGA design team wonderfully well.
The home had to accommodate a very active and gregarious live-work lifestyle and see them in to retirement. Having been involved with the community for over fifty years, the brief for the family’s new house was beyond the normal requirements of a contemporary three-bedroom home. The family’s new house was to become part home, part workshop/studio and part community facility to accommodate weekly tennis games and community meetings etc.
The floor plan is “T” shaped, with the head anchored to the low part of the site, directly atop the footprint of the old bach, accommodating two east facing bedrooms and the art studio with the main living spaces and kitchen above – all oriented towards the view. An open atrium occupies the space between this living wing and the workshop with master suite above with views beyond via the glazed roof and clerestory.
339 Mount Eden – local award NZIA 2017
Gold in Best Awards 2017  
Home Magazine – Home of the Year 2017
Trends International Design Awards 2017
NZ Architect-designed kitchen Highly Commended

Located on a main arterial road and faced with high neighbours overlooking from the North and South, this small narrow site required a considered approach that would create privacy within the house, whilst still maintaining ample light, sun from the North and valley views to the West and
towards Maungawhau to the East.
Concrete and steel present a solid face to the busy Mount Eden Road, while within the fabric of the house, solid and void create moments of introspection juxtaposed with framed openings offering views to the surrounds, connecting to both the immediate site and the neighbourhood beyond. The covered entry courtyard, conceived as a transition between public and private, provides relief in the form of an indoor garden lined with band-sawn Lawson Cypress and filled with native plants including a living herb wall. Bleeding into this space, the dining and kitchen utilise the courtyard’s glazed roof to allow light to penetrate deep into the Southern part of the house. Above, emphasised through double height spaces within the living and kitchen areas, a timber cradle accommodates the first floor bedrooms and bathroom, amplifying the sense of verticality created by the large gable roof.

Te Hihi – Karaka Auckland NZIA local award winner 2016
Trends International Design Awards – Architect Designed Kitchen
Highly Commended 2016

Te Hihi embraces the interminable rural setting amidst the gentle rolling landscape distinctive of Karaka, 45 kilometers south of Auckland City. The building is sited where two valleys converge to form a narrowing spur of land from which immediate and distant vistas can be experienced in all directions. The main axis of the house follows the incline of the land, expressed with a central hallway that finds relief in large viewing windows to the east. Spaces are organised along this circulation path, shifting and tapering to each gain an eastern aspect and northern sun. This axis is intersected by the entry concourse and continuous pergola, which slices across the ridge and connects to the northern lawn and pool area.
The traditional weatherboard has been re-worked in a large format to respond to the elongated building form, rendered black to recess into the landscape and contrast the glowing warmth of timber.

Owhanake Bay House, Waiheke Island
NZIA National Award Winner 2012 – Residential Architecture – Houses
NZIA Local Award Winner 2011 – Residential – Housing
NZIA Local Award Winner 2011 – Residential – Sustainable Architecture


The site is located on Waiheke Island, overlooking Owhanake and just below a significant ridge line. For the semi-retired owners, single level accessibility was a requirement that set design challenges on a site with a 15 degree cross slope.
The house is a play on the idea of “living on the verandah” in a sub-tropical climate. Banks of eastern flap windows on gas struts open, leaving only “verandah posts” intact as occupants engage with the landscape under the shelter and shade of the “verandah” roof.
Three narrow pavilions “bend” to follow the natural contours, allowing ease of movement through the landscape and minimal excavation of the landform. As in the natural environment, folds in landforms often contain watercourses; hence the two wedges of space between the three pavilions become a gathering of water, points of cleansing. These two linkages contain 2 bath-houses, one the main ensuite and the other a plunge pool/spa.
Boatsheds, Takapuna, Auckland
NZIA Local Award Winner – 2015 – Housing
Best Awards 2014 – Bronze – Residential Interior
Supreme Award and Auckland Region Registered Master Builders –

2014 – House of the Year
Auckland Region Registered Master Builders – Craftsmanship Award – 2014
Auckland Region Registered Master Builders –

Heart of the Home Kitchen Award – 2014
Auckland Region Registered Master Builders –

Plumbing World Bathroom Excellence Award – 2014
Trends International Design Awards –

Best New Zealand Architect-Designed Kitchen – 2015

On a constrained, compact urban site, a stones throw from Takapuna Beach, the three-stepped gables of these black ‘boatsheds’ appropriately reference our boating and beach culture. The sliding forms reveal a solution beyond the standard connotations of a home, a bespoke incubator for the clients’ lifestyle.
The corner site, challenged by two 5m front yards and the blunt presence of a three-storey neighbour hard on the North-West boundary, stimulated an approach of layered complexity with ample transparency to capture light, sun and glimpses of the pohutukawa and baiting ocean.
Simplicity of the exterior form is contrasted by the highly crafted timber interior, exhibiting the skilled artistry of the builder. A diverse succession of multi-connected spaces create a threaded flow of movement, whilst each maintains a distinct and sequestered quality.