• Tony Liu

Difference Between Japanese And NZ Houses Part 2

Hi all,

After entering the school and apprenticeship period, with my knowledge and feeling involved in New Zealand architecture for a total of 13 years, I thought about New Zealanders’ attitude toward home design.


New Zealand Housing Situation

In the past 30 years, the house price doubled every ten years. In the latest years, it has doubled only for about 3 – 4 years. Even if houses become old, if they are nicely renovated, their property value will not decrease. Rather, there are many people who like old houses and appreciate their age and value.

Property prices go up due to New Zealand as a diversified investment destination from the world and that this country attracts wealthy people for their children’s study abroad destination. The fact that NZ population is increasing may also be one of the biggest factors.

Until a while ago, a single story home with 100 m 2 – 160 m 2 floor area on a site area of 600 m 2 had been very common. However, double story home with 200 m 2 floor area on a 400 m 2 section is popular nowadays, which can cost more than a million dollars in Auckland.

Common Attitudes Towards NZ Home Design

Considering the housing circumstances of New Zealand above, let’s look at NZ’s way of thinking about home design.

  1. First – design

  2. Second – excitement and fun

These come from playful imagination and..

  1. Third – Functionality

However, I guess many do not care about functionality.

I have seen various residential buildings in the past 13 years.

Many of these highlight appearance and scenery but I see a living rooms is cold, a bathroom is too sunny, a kitchen and dining are 20 meters away from each other, an entrance with no storage at all, and no consistency between laundry room, bathroom and laundry area…..

I could hardly see functionality and good waterproofing in these homes.

A good point with NZ homes is that their appearance is better than Japanese homes, especially the exterior wall and landscaping.

My Attitude Towards Home Design

My design priority is as follows:

  1. First – Design

  2. Second – Playful Imagination

  3. Third – Functionality

  4. Fourth – Design For Future

I keep this order to develop design with our clients with lots of fun.

On one hand, I think that there is no perfect design and design trend keeps changing very quickly in recent years so I usually relax to develop design in a flexible way, especially when come to Design and Playful Imagination.

On the other hand, when it comes to functionality and technology I try my best to get the best quality.

During the design stage I try to incorporate:

  1. Full use of Japanese technology such as earthquake resistance and water resistance

  2. Full use of available space

  3. Storage at the entrance and other areas

  4. Landscape design

  5. High quality work at low cost

  6. Perspective of ten years ahead

  7. Goodness for our company, owner and society

There are many things listed above that are not related to New Zealand’s building standards and public value standards but I make efforts to realise what I can do. What I do is not significant but think my role is a succession of Japanese traditional design/carpentry culture.

日本とニュージーランドの設計に対する違い その2 NZ住宅事情編



過去30年では、10年ごとに住宅価格が倍になる。 直近では、3-4年くらいで倍になっている。 住宅は古くなっても、良いリノベーションをしていればあまり価値がさがらない、むしろ、古いのが好きという層の人も多く、新築と変わらない価値を置く層がある。 一生住むなんて考えいない。 平均のデータで7年ごとに子供の成長とともに移動する。