Dulieu Residence / studio MWA

Courtesy of ltd.

Architect: studio MWA ltd. – studio Mikulcic Worldwide Architecture
Location: 1059 Akatarawa Road, Upper Hutt,
Client: Dianne & Barry Dulieu
Author of the project: DaVoR Mikulcic Dipl. Eng. Arch. (Sarajevo) ANZIA, RAIA
Project Team: DaVoR Mikulcic, Michael Maddern, David Thomson & Daniel Casas
Structural Engineer: ABUILD – Wellington (Mr. Michael Ives)
Land surveyor: Lendrums & Associates Ltd. – Upper Hutt
Geotechnical Engineer: ABUILD – Wellington
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Courtesy of studio MWA ltd.

Courtesy of studio MWA ltd.

Sites like this are a dream. Quite often you have the feeling you are living away from the rest of the world being hugged by nature. The fantastic view, total privacy, site approach is from about 75 m above the site, its proximity to the River, are just some of details that make the site special. Being located just on the edge of the 100 year flood zone; it’s a natural amphitheatre with bush surrounding hills in close proximity. From the start a decision was made to slightly elevate the site further. I suppose the final design, building setting, choice of materials, textures and colours say more than I can express with words. The images do the talking for themselves.

Courtesy of studio MWA ltd.

Together with the client a brief was developed, but from the start it was obvious that a simple single story design using natural materials, quality orientation to capture sun to take advantage of passive solar energy heating, rainwater and spring water collection, environmentally responsible sewer treatment, with a sustainable approach was ideal. A Black butterfly was definitely one of the initial ideas and even in execution looks like a beautiful creature. And the final house is easy to live in, with indoor-outdoor flow, low maintenance, but the openness and simplicity are the main characteristics of this design. To create a residential project which has nearly 70% of exterior walls in glass is always very challenging in order to follow the standards and requirements, but we achieved all that and even more.

Courtesy of studio MWA ltd.

When the client’s start to call a newly completed Project HOME, you know that you achieved something special. In this case, after moving to their new house Dianne and Barry give to entire property and house “new name “ – PARATIHO, which in Maori language means paradise. I suppose it says everything.


The House has 3 double bedrooms with a studio. The Main Master bedroom has an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe. House includes 3 individual living areas, and a triple garage. The two bathrooms and a separate visitor toilet like the ensuite, have possible disabled access. The layout allows for separation between the formal living and dining area and separate family living and kitchen area. The third lounge is close to the visitor’s bedrooms, giving opportunity for easy living, for the extended family. All rooms have direct access outside in same level with possibility to use the glorious outdoor space from anywhere. Around house are extensive decking, garden with surrounding native bush and few small lakes – pond areas.
Text provided by DaVoR Mikulcic.

Courtesy of studio MWA ltd.
Courtesy of studio MWA ltd.

Main Contactor/Project management: Barry Dulieu & Rhys Construction Ltd.
Building structure: Reinforced concrete slab + steel + timber
Structural steel work: Whakatiki Engineering Ltd. – Upper Hutt
Stone masonry: Bosworth Stone Ltd. – Upper Hutt (Mr. Glen Bosworth & team)
Aluminium Joinery: Westview Aluminium Ltd. – Upper Hutt
Roof & wall metal cladding: T.W. Clark Roofing 202 Ltd. – Lower Hutt
Joinery: Noble Kitchens – Upper Hutt (Mr. Hadrian Noble)
Site area: 2500 m2
Number of stories: single story building
Project interior area: 381 m2
Covered outdoor area: over 250 m2
Project area under roof structure: over 630 m2
Terrace deck area: over 450 m2

Cite: "Dulieu Residence / studio MWA" 24 Jan 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=201822>
  • architist

    very interesting form and the design looks great. I love the materiality..

  • rock

    it’s pretty heavy, but the stone walls are just a veneer, unfortunately.
    tidy, but heavy

    • http://www.studiomwa.co.nz/ studio MWA

      Thank you for your comment we’d thought we would clarify why the building is built as it is. New Zealand, being known as the shaky isle’s is very prone to earthquakes, and wellington as a city is known as “Windy Wellington” regularly receiving winds more than 150km/h hence the heavy structure, solid stone walls have proven very unsafe in NZ in history hence them being only veneer, and even then as shown by the Christchurch Earthquakes in the past year nothing is certain.
      For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington

  • frosty

    A veneer is totally appropriate in a seismically active part of the world. This site isn’t too far away from a main fault.
    Solid stone construction generally across NZ is a no-no.

  • http://www.lifemark.co.nz RebeccaD

    wonderful design! Does this design include the Lifemark design standards?

    • http://www.studiomwa.co.nz DaVoR Mikulcic

      Yes, Rebeka. Lifemark principles or how we call them “principles of universal design” are integral part of our designs.