Machiya House

The timelessness and longevity of this South Canterbury house delights through its use of resilient low-maintenance materials while also being super energy-efficient and sustainable. Japanese architecture and the early prairie houses of the late great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright served as the home’s initial inspiration. The brief was for a ‘Japanese-influenced house, timeless and with high performance, environmentally sound ideas, and technologies.’ The clients wanted a comfortable, warm home, incorporating both energy-efficient design ideas. In addition, it had to be “geriatric-friendly” (an accessible house) incorporating universal design principles.

The Japanese architectural philosophy for space planning is economical and detailed. Interior spaces flow from one to another without the need for long hallways. A centrally located entranceway made easy access achievable. An understated and slightly mysterious feel from the south-facing street side is due to minimal windows and an outdoor walkway/atrium leading to the hidden entry door.

Clerestory windows above the kitchen dining and entry with vertical cedar battens allow pleasant filtered light to penetrate deep into the building and assists passive solar performance. The resulting aesthetic has reference to old ‘Machiya’ style townhouse buildings seen in areas around Kyoto. The exterior roof form hints towards the same architectural styles. The exposed outrigger rafters in Pinus Radiata provide a large one-meter-wide eaves overhang, good for protection from overheating and the weather. Hip gables and cedar fascias and battens covering glazed gable ends provide light and enhance the look. The use of large Glulam pine beams and exposed rafters perfectly fits with the Japanese interior design aesthetic.

Large blocks of Oamaru Stone and Classic Stone Schist help ground the building, softened with cedar accents. Gerard Roofs Stratos Shingles fitted perfectly with the traditional Japanese vibe. The interior makes extensive use of timber throughout.

This home received two awards at the 2009 ADNZ Resene Awards; Winner of both the first time entrant and roof categories (both by Shizuka Yasui).

Machiya House| IN PICTURES