Nightlight - Akaroa, New Zealand
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Nightlight - Akaroa, New Zealand

Using a polycarbonate shell with Abodo Vulcan Screening, this utility shed doubles as a sculptural light feature.

Using a polycarbonate shell screened with Abodo Vulcan timber, this utility shed is creatively designed to double as a sculptural light feature for the future outdoor living space of a work-in-progress building project.

With long term plans to regenerate the land and create their ‘forever home’ on this kanuka-lined site in Akaroa, architect Mitchell and Amy Douglas of Fabric Architecture (formerly Coll Architecture) have made a strong start with this sculptural utility shed, which has already been awarded a 2022 NZIA Small Architecture Project Award for Canterbury.

Dubbed ‘Nightlight’, the structure not only provides tool storage and outdoor amenities for washing up, but will also play a part in illuminating the garden when the house is finished. A polycarbonate shell allows light through, while a lattice of Abodo Vulcan Screening gives texture and the essence of a Japanese lantern to the structure. The light it provides will be a welcome addition to an otherwise dark backyard.

To help the building merge with its bush setting in daylight, the architect specified a combination of 88x18mm Vulcan Screening finished with one factory coat of Protector - Patina, and uncoated 42.65mm Vulcan Screening. This will silver off with time and exposure to the weather. As the project was a labour of love, the stability of the thermally modified timber was also a bonus for architect Mitch, who required the timber to withstand being stored on site over winter.

The use of timber was also part of the architect’s aim to ensure the building had net negative embodied carbon. LVL framing creates the internal structure, while locally sourced macrocarpa was chosen for the decking. In order to gain the optimal lantern effect from the building, all internal and external battens and slats are lined up and used sparingly. To add some visual warmth inside, the LVL framing is left exposed with mist green detailing for a pop of colour.

Other than its translucent qualities, the polycarbonate shell was also chosen for its ease of transport to this remote site and the ability to be worked with hand tools. The building was created by hand by the architect, including the operable screens, surface slider, windows, and the hand mixed and poured concrete pile footings and hot tub.

Rather than creating a temporary building, or one that needed to be tucked away from sight, Nightlight exemplifies the architect’s true dedication to an end goal of creating a lasting, beautiful place to live on this unique, bush lined and coastal site.

Project Details
Completion Date:
February 2022
Fabric / Formerly Coll Architecture
Vulcan Screening (88x18mm) in Protector – Patina (one coat)
Vulcan Screening (65x42mm) uncoated
Akaroa/Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Photography credits:
Nancy Zhou
NZIA 2022 Canterbury Architecture Award, Small Project Architecture
NZIA New Zealand Architecture Awards Shortlist
NZIA Canterbury Architecture Awards Winner
Here Magazine Small Project Winner
Best Awards Lighting Design Silver
Best Awards Residential Bronze
ADNZ Resene Colour Award National Finalist
ADNZ Resene Colour Award Regional Winner


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Timber: Vulcan Cladding

Type: Rusticated 90x20MM

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Oil - Litres (second coat to front face installed):


Oil - Litres (one coat all sides + two coats face):


Note: The figures given here include 10% wastage and are approximate only. Final order quantities are the buyer’s responsibility and should be checked and verified prior to order placement. Abodo will not accept liability for over or under-ordered items. Thank you!


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