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DAA - Auckland’s newest architectural firm

27 May 2014


Announcing the formation of DAA - Auckland’s newest architectural firm

In recognition of the appointment of Sam Atcheson as a co-director of the company, Dorrington Architects and Associates has rebranded. The new name of the business is DAA, the acronym for Dorrington Atcheson Architects.

The architectural studio based in Newton, Auckland employs a team of six and together, the directors have 30 years’ experience in the industry.

The pair met at the University of Auckland in the late 90s and originally worked together at Fearon Hay Architects. In 2007, Atcheson joined Dorrington Architects and the first project they teamed forces on – a house in the central North Island – was recognised in the Residential category of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Awards.

While Dorrington will take the lead in the design direction of DAA, Atcheson will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the practice.

The DAA vision is of architecture with a ‘reduced aesthetic’. As Dorrington explains, “Details are pared back to a minimum so reading the componentry of the building is as clear as possible.” Atcheson: “Each element is distinctive: we’re striving for an honesty of structure and material, and buildings that are carefully composed.”

The duo has already scooped awards for houses in Auckland, and holiday homes in Taupo and Raglan. In the retail sector, the team worked with design studio Veneer on ‘Shoebox’, a store for shoe designer Kathryn Wilson which was a Best Design Awards finalist. Similarly, their collaboration on Britomart’s Tyler Street Garage was recognised both by the NZIA and the Best Design Awards.

DAA recently turned their ‘reduced aesthetic’ philosophy to the renovation of a 70s house in Herne Bay. The layout of this multi-gabled home was proving impractical for a family with three children. They retained the roof and many existing materials, but simplified the internal planning to create spaces that were open-plan, light and a lot more workable.

The practice has a focus on new dwellings. A recent award-winning house in Mission Bay, Auckland wraps around an internal courtyard in its park-like setting. Its striking material palette teams the solidity of stone-cladding over concrete block with dark-stained vertical cedar shiplap. A sunken lounge adds a retro aspect to this thoroughly contemporary design.

One of DAA’s latest projects, a new-build in Titirangi, is a glass-and-plywood box where the bush-setting is celebrated and playfulness is explored with colour-block inserts on the kitchen cabinetry and an over-sized window seat. At only four metres wide, the footprint is a compact 120 square metres.

Auckland’s Unitary Plan will result in a shift towards higher-density living, and homeowners are turning to architects to deliver a quality result on tighter sites. “When building on a smaller section, more people are starting to recognise the value of engaging an architect who can ensure there’s no wasted space in the planning,” says Atcheson.

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