Our Story

Parsonson Architects was established in Wellington in 1987 by the current director, Gerald Parsonson B. Arch, FNZIA, Registered Architect.

Gerald started the practice after working at Craig Craig Moller Architects in Wellington and a period travelling overseas with sketchbook in hand. The direction was driven by an excitement and passion to create architecture that responds to our uniquely New Zealand context. The practice has evolved into a multi award winning studio that has demonstrated a consistent ability to execute projects to the highest levels of excellence.

In the period 1995-2005 Gerald was joined by senior staff Craig Burt (B. Arch, ANZIA, Registered Architect), Sam Donald (B. Arch, ANZIA, Registered Architect) and Andreas Cherry (B.Arch, B. BSc, LBP) who have between them over 60 years industry experience and they have added unique and wide-ranging skill sets to the practice. Over the past 10 years a growing number passionate and engaged architectural graduates have joined the studio bringing a range of fresh ideas and with a deep passion for architecture. 

The practice was initially focused on individual houses and more recently projects have included multi-unit residential, community, commercial, hospitality, education and competition entries across a variety of building typologies and project scales. We enjoy working on a mix of projects as each has different challenges and offers varied opportunities for us to express a unique and creative response.

Collaboration

Collaboration is fundamental to the way we work. The studio fosters a willingness to collaborate with a range of designers, from other architects and landscape architects to specialist consultants and stakeholders. We have recently been involved in community-led participatory design processes that proactively seek opportunities for collaborative design to increase individuals sense of agency while also increasing awareness of the design process and building a sense of community from the outset.

Creativity

We approach every project through fresh eyes. Every site, location, client and set of circumstances creates a unique set of relationships. We work very hard to identify and understand these collaboratively, where they form a base for the design to spring from. Often we write word strings or semi-poetry before drawing. Gerald in particular is interested in the similarities between the creative processes of art, music, literature and architecture. Once a ‘design story’ is created it forms a conceptual structure that guides decision making on the project and is a way of achieving a creative consistency to the finished building.

Sustainability

We believe in sustainability being one of the cornerstones of design, which we look to explore from the urban scale down to the details. We have more recently designed and built several ‘Passive House’ projects and have a Certified Passive House Designer within our practice.

We believe in comprehensive design solutions that recognize and respond to global concerns regarding climate change, our limited natural resources, environmental pollution, health, and biodiversity. The process of building by its very nature consumes large amounts of resourcesand generates large amounts of waste. With elegant design, creative thinking and careful construction, buildings can be made to consume less and last longer. A building that functions well, delights the mind, and pleases the eye will remain farther from the wrecking ball. In addition, the integration of sustainable technologies like planted green roofs, solar power, water collection, recycled materials, above-code insulation and air tightness, heat recovery ventilaionand passive solar design don’t need to look or feel like an experiment. Thoughtful incorporation of these elements and principles early in the design process can produce buildings that are rich, appealing and most importantly, responsible.

Our ethos

We work in a collaborative and creative studio environment, where we enjoy searching for and unlocking the unique potentials in each new project. We look to explore a ‘design story’ that is often multi-layered and poetic, forming a guiding structure or spine for the creative evolution of a project. 

We are architects who are passionate about both the natural and the built environments, from the city scale right down to the crafting of individual details. We are drawn towards an architecture of excellence and have developed an approach for achieving this across all budget levels. The creation of a high quality architecture is an exciting and joyful process and springs from the seed of optimism. We are particularly interested community based projects and how they benefit the city. We have recently linked in with others and set up our own Wellington based co-housing group.

“We shape our buildings. Thereafter, they shape us.”   Sir Winston Churchill.

"It’s all about art as far as I’m concerned. It seems to me that when you’ve finished with all the functional tasks – the practicalities in which you can have a fine time – to touch people with a building is what it’s about."   David Mitchell. 2005

Expertise

Experience

Parsonson Architectsis recognised as consistently delivering work of excellence, represented by the major awards and regular features in both local and international architecture and design magazines and books.  Gerald Parsonson has been regularly invited to be an awards juror and has twice been a convenor of the NZIA National Awards Jury.

The practice has accumulated significant knowledge of architectural design, project delivery and construction. We have an enthusiastic and passionate team and have developed processes that ensure the journey is enjoyable and fruitful.

We have a broad range of experience across our different staff members, with experience in:

-       Architectural design and documentation;

-       Technical and construction methodologies;

-       Cost estimation and management;

-       Sustainability and Certified Passive House design;

-       Multi-unit and Co-Housing;

-       Community projects;

-       Hospitality;

-       Singledwellingsand holiday retreats.

Senior staff are involved with oversight in all projects.

Craft

Parsonson Architects has consistently demonstrated the ability to explore and deliver finely tuned and carefully crafted architecture over different project types and all budget levels. We enjoy exploring the beauty of detail and how materials go together at all scales.

Cost management

After many years of delivering architecture to defined project budgets, we have developed multi staged cost management strategies that have enabled us to guide clients confidently through their project budgeting. Good cost advice at the early stages is essential and allows us to create great architectural outcomes regardless of whether the budget is generous or tight. There is nothing worse than a project that was very good, but had to be pulled apart late in the piece due to budget blowouts.

Co-Housing

Parsonson Architects have set up a growing Co-Housing group in Wellington and are actively seeking to support others in this area also. We are proponents of the Australian ‘Nightingale Model’ and believe that Co-Housing provides an option to create housing developments that have more of a sense of sustainable and community based living as an alternative to the standard suburban sprawl model.

Passive House

We have designed and built several houses to the ‘Passive House’ standard. Recently Nicholas Zilliox has joined the practice, who is a ‘Certified Passive House Designer’.

A Passive house has high levels of insulation within an airtight external envelope, combined with a heat recovery ventilation system, resulting in a constant temperature of 20 degrees Celcius all year round, regardless of climate and a constant supply of fresh/filtered air. 

It starts by defining a solid thermal envelope, where there are three functional layers: an air-tightness layer on the inside of the insulation, the insulation layer, and lastly a wind­ and weather tightness layer.

Passive House projects are not dependent on solar gains to achieve thermal comfort and energy efficiency, but they still benefit from a careful consideration of the impact of sun paths and shading. In addition to excellent thermal comfort and ventilation, a Passive House is also very quiet; you could live beside a motorway and not hear the traffic outside. 

Awards:

2018 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Housing - Korokoro Bush House
2018 NZIA Wellington Colour Award, Korokoro Bush House
2018 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Te Horo Bach
2018 NZIA Wellington Colour Award, Te Horo Bach
2017 NZIA Nelson-Marlborough Architecture Award, Housing, Ruby Bay House
2017 NZIA Gisborne Hawke’s Bay Architecture Award, Housing, Mangakuri Bach
2017 NZIA Gisborne Hawke’s Bay Colour Award, Mangakuri Bach
2017 NZIA Nelson-Marlborough Architecture Award, Housing, Ruby Bay House
2017 NZIA Nelson-Marlborough Colour Award, Ruby Bay House
2016 NZIA Sir Ian Athfield Award, Housing, Zavos Corner Apartments, Wellington
2016 NZIA NZ Architecture Award, Multi-Unit, Zavos Corner Apartments, Wellington
2016 NZIA NZ Architecture Award, Interior Architecture, Zavos Corner Apartments, Wellington
2016 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Housing - Alterations and Additions, Field Way Bach, Waikanae
2016 NZIA Wellington Colour Award, Field Way Bach, Waikanae
2016 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Multi-Unit, Zavos Corner Apartments, Wellington
2016 Home of the Year, Best Multi-Unit Project, Zavos Corner Apartments, Wellington
2015 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Hospitality & Retail, Loretta Cafe & Restaurant
2015 Wellington Civic Trust Award, Zavos Corner Apartments, Wellington
2015 Interior Awards, Hospitality Winner, Loretta Cafe & Restaurant, Wellington
2015 Eat, Drink, Design Awards Australasia, Best Restaurant Shortlist, Loretta, Wellington
2014 Urbis Best Restaurant Interior, Loretta Cafe & Restaurant, Wellington
2013 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Housing, Seatoun Heights House
2013 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Housing, Lowry Bay House, Lower Hutt
2013 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Housing, Sea View House
2012 NZIA Nelson-Marlborough Architecture Award, Housing, Wairau Valley House House
2012 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Housing, Tutere St Beach House, Waikanae
2010 NZIA Gisborne Hawke’s Bay Architecture Award, Housing, Shoal Bay Beach House
2010 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Small Project, Peka Peka Beach House
2010 NZIA Colour Award, Peka Peka Beach House
2010 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Housing, Seatoun House, Wellington
2010 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Housing, Greytown House, Wairarapa
2010 NZIA Nelson-Marlborough Architecture Award, Housing, Apple Bay House
2009 Home of the Year Award Finalist, Shoal Bay House
2008 NZIA NZ Architecture Award, Housing, Salamanca House, Wellington
2007 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Raumati House
2007 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Salamanca House, Wellington
2007 NZIA Colour Award, Raumati House
2006 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Commercial & Industrial, Icebreaker Touch-Lab, Wellington
2006 Best Awards, Category Winner, Icebreaker Touch-Lab, Wellington
2006 NZIA NZ Award for Architecture, Residential, Martinborough House
2005 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Martinborough House
2005 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Coastal House, Wellington
2005 Property Council of New Zealand Award, Merit, Mitika Apartments, Wellington
2005 NZIA NZ Award for Architecture, Residential, Southward House, Wellington
2005 NZIA NZ Award for Architecture, Multiple Housing, Mitika Apartments, Wellington
2005 NZIA NZ Award for Architecture, Residential, Paetawa House, Peka Peka
2004 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Southward House, Wellington
2004 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Glensor-Hutchins House, Waikanae
2004 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Multiple Housing, Mitika Apartments, Wellington
2004 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Paetawa House, Peka Peka
2004 NZIA Colour Award, Paetawa House, Peka Peka
2004 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Glass Awards Finalist, Peka Peka House
2004 Home of the Year Finalist, Paetawa House, Peka Peka
2003 NZIA Supreme Award for Architecture, Northland House, Wellington
2003 NZIA Regional Award for Architecture, Northland House, Wellington
2002 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Townsend House, Wellington
2002 NZIA Colour Award, Townsend House, Wellington
2002 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Residential, Northland House, Wellington
2002 NZIA Supreme Architecture Award, Manly St Beach House, Paraparaumu
2001 NZIA Regional Architecture Award, Manly St Beach House, Paraparaumu
2001 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Manly St Beach House, Paraparaumu
2001 NZIA Colour Award, Manly St Beach House, Paraparaumu
2001 Home of the Year Award, Manly St Beach House, Paraparaumu
2000 NZIA National Architecture Award, Eastbourne House, Lower Hutt
2000 NZIA Colour Award, Eastbourne House, Lower Hutt
2000 NZIA Central Region Architecture Award, Eastbourne House, Lower Hutt
1999 NZIA Wellington Architecture Award, Residential, Eastbourne House, Lower Hutt
1996 NZIA Regional Award for Architecture, Hataitai House, Wellington
1996 NZIA Colour Award, Hataitai House, Wellington
1995 NZIA National Award for Architecture, Upland Road House, Wellington
1994 NZIA Regional Award for Architecture, Upland Road House, Wellington
1994 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Upland Road House, Wellington

Judging- Gerald Parsonson:

2010 NZIA NZ awards: Convenor
2009 NZIA NZ awards: Convenor
2008 HOME Magazine Home of the Year: Judge
2007 NZIA NZ awards (Southern Region): Judge
2005 Cavalier Bremworth Awards: Judge
2004 NZIA Supreme awards: Judge
2004 NZIA Regional awards (Central Region): Convenor
2002 NZIA Local awards (Wellington): Judge
1999 NZIA Local awards (Wellington): Judge

Publications:

2016 Zavos Corner Apartments, City House, Country House.
2016 Zavos Corner Apartments, HOME magazine.
2016 Field Way Bach, Kia Ora magazine.
2016 Field Way Bach, HOME magazine.
2013 Wairau Valley House, Marlborough: HOUSES magazine.
2013 Sea View House, Wellington: HOME magazine.
2013 Sea View House, Kia Ora Magazine magazine.
2012 Shoal Bay Bach, Hawkes Bay: Wood Interiors.
2012 Shoal Bay Bach, Hawkes Bay: Coastal Houses.
2012 Salamanca House, Wellington: Big House Small House.
2012 Newlands House, Wellington: Houses in Difficult Places.
2011 Shoal Bay Bach, Hawkes Bay: A Place in the Sun.
2011 Salamanca House, Wellington: Forty-Six Sq. m of Land Doesn't Normally Become a House.
2011 Manly Street Beach House, Paraparaumu: Summer Houses.
2011 Manly Street Beach House, Paraparaumu: dwell magazine.
2011 Apple Bay Bach, Marlborough: HOME magazine.
2010 Yeosu Competition, South Korea: Contemporary Architects.
2010 Shoal Bay Bach, Hawkes Bat: ARQA.
2010 Salamanca House, Wellington: Contemporary Architects.
2010 Salamanca House, Wellington: Contemporary Architects.
2010 Queens Wharf Competition, Auckland: Contemporary Architects.
2010 Peka Peka House, Kapiti: HISE.
2010 Peka Peka House, Kapiti: Dwell.
2010 Peka Peka House, Kapiti: Contemporary Architects.
2010 Peka Peka House, Kapiti: ARQA.
2010 Peka Peka House, Kapiti: Architectura + Constructao.
2010 Martinborough House, Wairarapa: Contemporary Architects.
2010 Kumutoto Site 9 Competition, Wellington: Contemporary Architects.
2009 Shoal Bay Bach House: HOME magazine.
2009 Peka Peka House, Kapiti: HOUSES magazine.
2009 Parsonson Architects Office: Pro Design.
2009 Martinborough House: 100 Country Houses.
2009 Manly Street and Paetawa Houses: A pocketful of Beach Houses.
2008 Salamanca House: HOUSES magazine.
2008 Paetawa and Raumati Houses: HOUSES magazine.
2007 Manly Street Beach House: New Zealand Houses.
2007 Aro Valley House: HOUSES kitchen and bathrooms.
2006 Paetawa House, Peka Peka: Architecture inspired by NZ.
2006 Martinborough House: HOUSES magazine.
2005 Waikanae House: Home and Entertaining Magazine.
2005 Paetawa House, Peka Peka: Beach Houses of Australia and NZ.
2005 Paetawa House, Peka Peka: 100 of the Best Houses from Downunder.
2005 Manly Street Beach House: NZ A Photography Celebration.
2005 Manly Street Beach House: Exquisite Apart -100 Years of Architecture in NZ. 
2005 Manly Street Beach House: 50 Great Kitchens by Architects.
2004 Paetawa House, Peka Peka: Living by the Sea exhibition and book. Mahara Gallery.
2004 Paetawa House, Peka Peka: Home and Entertaining Magazine.
2004 Mitika Apartments: Architecture NZ.
2003 Northland House: URBIS.
2003 Northland House: AU China.
2003 Northland House: Architecture NZ.
2002 Manly Street Beach House: South East Asia Building.
2002 Manly Street Beach House: AU.
2001 Manly Street Beach House: Home and Entertaining Magazine.
2001 Eastbourne House: Worlds 100 Best Houses.
2000 Wadestown House: Home and Entertaining Magazine.
2000 Pauatahanui House: Home and Entertaining Magazine.
2000 Gaynor-Leahy House: Home and Entertaining Magazine.
2000 Eastbourne House: URBIS.
2000 Eastbourne House: Architecture NZ.
1999 Eastbourne House: Architecture NZ.
1998 Brooklyn House Alterations and Additions: Home and Building. 
1996 Upland Road House: Home and Building Magazine.
1989 Saporito Restaurant: Home and Building Magazine.

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