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Tuesday Chew: David Strachan - from country boy to sustainable design extraordinaire

David Strachan, design director of Strachan Group Architects (SGA), has over 30 years experience in the fields of building, interiors, teaching and architecture. Dave has a Master of Architecture Degree in Sustainable Design and is a 2002 graduate of the Newcastle University Glenn Murcutt Master class. He is currently Adjunct Professor at Unitec School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. He and his practice have gained numerous awards and they are well recognised within the industry for producing finely crafted buildings.

Who the heck are you?

A country boy with a master of architecture and a licensed building practitioner’s ticket trying to figure out how to make beautiful buildings that uplift the human spirit...

What inspires you?

Our people, our place, our climate, our landscape and our way of living... Plus my role as adjunct professor of design at Unitec school of architecture, that aboriginal saying of “if you want to hold onto something give it away” the idea of sharing your knowledge with keen students who you learn from as well because of their freshness and passion for architecture.

What role does sustainability play in your designs?

It’s embedded in our core philosophy of “climate responsive architecture” so even if clients don’t want it they get it anyway!

Owhanake Bay house

What work makes you want to jump up and shout about?

All the crappy subdivision layouts and house designs where they seem to have lost the north point.

What building would you like to tear down?

There are lots, all those “Mr. Blobby” apartment blocks that leak like sieves, I really feel for those poor people who have to live in those things.

Your dream commission?

To design a “new urban” housing village to create a strong sense of community, not in a “greenfields” location, but maybe on a “brownfilelds” site, close to all the existing urban infrastructure of schools, buses shops etc But...what about designing a series of houses based around pre-fab construction techniques, using all the latest digital technologies and fabrication techniques and machinery available now. Pre-fab offers real benefits in terms of cost, quality and time and it represents the future in terms of housing because not everyone can afford a bespoke piece of art...

Glade Entry

Favourite quote

..."I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster and leaves less room for lies." Le Corbusier. 

Top: Urban Shed, Middle: Foothills House, Bottom: Point House

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