We designed this house on a lifestyle block just south of the town of Waipu in New Zealand. The owners’ goals were to build an energy efficient house and shed where they would live, raise miniature donkeys, and surround themselves with their own orchard of fruit and nut trees. The 3.5 acre site slopes gently from the road across rolling pasture to the mature Totara-lined Ahuroa River at the bottom of the property. The main views are to the west so the house was designed with a balance of western windows to capture the view and northern windows for solar gain.
The house is composed of two 3 metre tall wings, a living pavilion and a bedrooms pavilion which are joined by a low entry. The entry, the day-bed bay, and the dining room bay are all flat roofed, 2.1 metre spaces designed to create an intimate feel and to create contrast with the adjacent 3 metre tall spaces.
The predominate exterior material is vertical corrugated steel. We used it on the roof and on the walls of both pavilions. We set the entry apart by using stained Macrocarpa weatherboards, both inside and out. This gives way to a set of tripple stacking glass doors and a dramatic view of the rural scenery upon entering the house. The use of macrocarpa cladding on the interior of the entry hall creates the feeling of an indoor/outdoor space in the entry.
One of the most interesting features in the house is the efficient stained macrocarpa and painted steel roof trusses which we used in the vaulted kitchen and living rooms. This system eliminates the need for large timber ridge beams while allowing for dramatic high ceilings inside. The house is also designed to be highly energy efficient. On winter days, the north-facing glazing washes sunlight across the polished concrete floors. Under-slab & slab-edge insulation coupled with well above-code wall and roof insulation keep the heat in at night and allow this house to be comfortable year-round without any added heat.