Rukutai St

Rukutai St Catalyst Homes


The brief for this project was to achieve a healthy, elegant, low maintenance 3 bedroom home. The house features a diagonal wall to capture sunlight, a German heat exchange system and windows designed in Germany, making it very efficient to manage temperature.

In order to overcome some challenging design restrictions, we had to work closely with the project engineers and the builder to produce an effective detail for a thermally broken slab. The complex mesh of steel was required to give strength to the insulation layer of the slab which would separate our building’s thermal envelope from the exterior courtyard.

The key restriction was the proximity to the site boundary, excavating further and producing a ‘standard’ solution would have risked undermining the neighbour’s property, as well as delaying the project  significantly.

Maintaining a thermally efficient floor slab, was essential however, because of the fact that the foundations of the cold external retaining wall needed to extend into the building footprint. This would have meant significant heat loss, particularly during the winter months when the exterior slab would not absorb as much warmth from the sun.

This challenging detail allowed us to achieve a well insulated floor slab and maintain the integrity of our super-efficient building envelope.

Due to the height of the retaining walls required by this project, we again had to work closely with our design team and builders to find a creative way of maximising the amount of light being reflected into the apartment and courtyard below.

By building the block retaining wall at a 74° angle, we we able to effectively bounce light into the lower space and open up the courtyard, visually widening the space.

The cantilevered steel portal frame to support the upper storey is installed, overhanging the garage opening and giving the first glimpse of the future footprint of the house. The dramatic cantilever supports part of the master bedroom and ensuite above, whilst sheltering the front door and garage entry at ground level.