Deborah Cranko

NZ Registered Architect practicing
Cranko Archietcts Ltd


I have been practising in Wellington since leaving university, working for architectural and multi-discipline firms. I founded my practice to enable me to care for my children and continue to practise. They are well-grown now but I have a great team of architects at our office with whom I continue to enjoy working. Architecture is a broad profession embracing aesthetic, social, legal and business skills and a joie de vivre. Our practice work is currently mainly in the residential area with a focus on sustainability and heritage work, and commercial projects relating to heritage and seismic strengthening. Projects have been around New Zealand from Central Otago to Tauranga but mainly in the Wellington region. I have long-standing involvement in related architecture bodies. These have included NZACS, NZRAB and investigations and Architectural Centre (President), NAWIC (Life member) and NZIOB (awards judging). I’ve represented NZIA (Fellow) on the Building Industry Authority, NZS3604 and serve on various government boards. I chaired the Professions Advisory Group at the School of Architecture and Design at Victoria University of Wellington in addition to tutoring and guest lectures. The 1993 Wellington Women in Architecture exhibition which I co-chaired was awarded a Branch Award !

Project Title
Harbour View Road House
The clients had lived in a drafty single-storey 1950’s box on the site for several years and enjoyed the panoramic harbour and garden views and all-day sun. They were keen to implement sustainable design principles in a house with a flexible layout for family and guests. They wanted an elegant, under-stated house with a relaxed feel. The property is located in an established city-fringe neighbourhood, among mainly weather board houses. The new house adopts the scale of its neighbours and the weather boards, but provides new design focus with the use of corrugated steel and glass. The double height gallery entrance faces due north and acts as transition space between the east and west wings of the house. Polished concrete floors and the stack-bonded concrete blocks in the gallery act as a conservatory/trombe wall. Sustainably-grown timbers and recycled timbers from the previous house feature throughout. The upper storey monopitch roofs have skillion ceilings to exaggerate the framed views of the harbour and hills; the large eaves provide summer shading. Wide wall framing provides deep reveals for thermally-broken double glazed windows and the space for extra insulation. As future proofing for the owners’ old age, a lift shaft connects the basement garage with the ground and first floors – and to a roof deck for 360° views. Clerestory windows at the roof deck admit sun to the southern spaces. The solar tubes heat a large hot water cylinder supplemented in winter by a wood burner (burning recycled timber!) Trees retained with other planting from the previous garden define the outdoor spaces. A grey water system and rainwater tank provide summer watering. The flat garden area is created by a ‘green roof’ garage – sustainable design in a contemporary way. Photos Pete Nicholaison
Year of Completion
Residential, new build
Design & project architect