Wanaka Gable House

Panoramic view of Lake Wanaka

Location: Wanaka

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A Wanaka Home with a Strong Connection to the Landscape

This new Wanaka home was designed specifically for an elderly local couple, and integral to the design were principles of ‘aging in place’. We strove to create a home that our clients could live in safely, independently and comfortably as long as possible, while taking advantage of the stunning local environment and using sustainable architecture principles

The clients favoured traditional gabled roofs, so the home was designed as a collection of gabled forms. Glazed gabled ends from areas of rest and repose (such as the bedroom and living areas) allowed for framed views of the surrounding mountains and lake. The gabled forms also allowed for high ceilings, making relatively small spaces feel generous.

The arrangement of these gabled wings also allowed for the creation of a variety of outdoor living areas located between the forms. Outdoor living spaces were located to give the clients the flexibility to seek either sun or shade throughout the day, while being sheltered from the prominent north-west wind. Level thresholds provided seamless connections between internal floor finishes and deck or paved courtyard areas. All living areas, and the master bedroom, connect directly with an outdoor living space – creating strong physical, and visual, connections to the surrounding landscape.

Universal Design Principles

The layout also allows for views from internal spaces across the outdoor living areas to other internal spaces. We felt it was important that all main living areas within the home feel connected with each other, and with the landscape. Should our clients be in bed, or relaxing in the lounge, they have the ability to feel connected with activity going on in the rest of the house, and connected with their local context.

Windows were scaled and positioned to create an uplifting, light and sun filled home. High levels of insulation and radiant heating were installed throughout the home to ensure high levels of thermal comfort throughout the year.

Wide passageways, and oversized sliding doors, were designed to allow for future wheelchair use. Allowing ample room for maneuvering wheelchairs was integral to the planning of the kitchen and bathroom. In addition, a suitably sized lift for a wheelchair use was installed between the garage and living levels, creating unrestricted access between the lower and upper level should the clients become less mobile in the future.

Interested in sustainable architecture and energy efficient homes in New Zealand? Contact us today.

Photographer: Simon Larkin

House with traditional gabled roofsSustainably designed house with oversized sliding doorsEntrance to modern Wanaka houseWindow seat with natural sunlightNaturally lit hallway with hardwood floorsModern bathroom with bathtub and large windowDining room with floor to ceiling windowsStructural design in eco architecture homeTall windows and high ceilings for natural sunlightOutdoor roof designed for sunlight and shade

Client Testimonial

“We cannot speak too highly of the results that we received.

From the brief that we provided, Chris and Beth came up with a design that fitted perfectly with the site and our requirements.

Virtually no changes were needed to the original plan and the build was carried out without any of the stress that often accompanies such a major project. We would have no hesitation in recommending their professional and quality service.” – Wanaka gable house clients

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Lake Wakatipu House

Eco architecture design for Queenstown home
View of Queenstown mountains and Lake Wakatipu from a house

Location: Queenstown

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Connecting to the Outdoors on a Small, Steep Site

This newly built home is located within an elevated suburban neighbourhood overlooking Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown and the surrounding mountain ranges.

The owners who work internationally needed the home to serve as both a retreat from busy working lives and a social space to catch up with friends and to host guests.

The design offers a range of internal and external spaces for privacy or socialising that connect to the lake & mountains out to the East, or to sun, shade & shelter from the elements in the enclosed courtyard to the West.

Entry into the house is via a private laneway to the middle level that contains all living spaces and services areas. The guest suites, bathing room and wine cellar are on the lower ground floor with the master suite at first floor level ensuring privacy for guests owners alike.

The covenants of the steep site restricted the available building platform in both terms of floor plan and height. The design also had to anticipate the close proximity of similarly scaled future neighbours while maintaining access to both sun and views.  A series of stacked forms that are well grounded and sunken into the bedrock, step back following the slope of the site minimising the apparent scale of the home from both the street below and the external living spaces.

Outdoor living has been established by stepped terraces, which connect to the Lake and Remarkables mountain views to the east. But as with most sites in the Queenstown Lakes District, where there is a view there is the wind, so an alternative sheltered courtyard area has been created to the West which soaks up the sun from midday until the sun sets.  An outdoor fire allows the courtyard to be utilised well into the twilight.  Raised planters adjoining the courtyard will provide some greenery and provide direct access from the kitchen for herbs and vegetables.

Robust and Durable Local Materials, Combined with Thermal Detailing

A limited palette of robust textured and easily maintained materials including board formed concrete, local schist, steel and cement render have been used both internally and externally to bind interior to exterior.  The interiors are visually warm and restrained providing a backdrop for art, collectables and the extensive views.

Large areas of glazing are utilised to eastern aspects of the living areas to open out to the wide panoramic Lake Wakatipu landscape, while the remaining windows are more selective and frame individual landscaping elements and views such as Ben Lomond, Cecil & Walter Peaks and Queenstown Hill.  With a high percentage of glazing toward the views, the construction of the home had to compensate for thermal loss through the glazing.

The construction employs a high level of thermal detailing with fully thermally broken concrete slabs and ‘criss-cross’ double layer of wall and roof framing.  This allows an unbroken line of insulation to the outside line of framing, with services such as wiring and plumbing running through a second layer of insulation to the inside line of framing.  Care has been taken to ensure that ventilation has been provided behind all wall and roof claddings to ensure condensation is removed from the external fabric.

Interested in sustainable architecture and energy efficient homes in New Zealand? Contact us today.

Photographer: Graham Warman Photography

Energy efficient home in QueenstownEco architecture design for Queenstown homeSide view of Queenstown home designed for energy efficiencyModern living room with balcony overlooking Lake WakatipuLiving room with concrete insulation and fireplaceHis and hers sinks in a modern bathroomEntrance with glazing and ventilationSpacious kitchen with floor to ceiling sliding doors opening to balcony with lake viewsDining table and chairs in front of large sliding glass doorsBathtub with oversized window overlooking Lake Wakatipu in QueenstownLarge master bedroom with king bed and fireplaceBackyard leading into house with sliding glass doors

Queensberry Hills House

Panoramic view of Queensberry Hills

Location: Queensberry

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A family home in an Alpine environment

This was our second project in the stunning but harsh environment of the Queensberry Hills, between the Pisa Ranges and the Upper Clutha River valley ( See Queensberry Hills Retreat project). Drawing upon the experience gained in the design & construction of the previous house, we had confidence that our previous analysis and solutions had been successful.

In that regard this family home had a similar L shape configuration with narrow plan depths that allowed sheltered outdoor living areas to be created from the predominant Northerly / North-westerly winds. The narrow plan allows views through the house to the distant Alpine ranges and Lake Hawea to the North, and the Mata Au River Valley and local Grandview mountain range / Trig Hill to the East.

More locally the views from both the courtyard and the house include the Pisa Range and the Poison Creek gorge. Windows are carefully placed to frame views specific to each room. Views are also afforded in the open plan areas by looking through one space to another and with enough head height to the windows so that the mountain tops are not cut off when viewed from deeper into the plan.

A double-sided wood fire separates the main living space from a bar area, creating just enough separation to define the spaces but allowing a level of connection between the various users of the house.  The bar is an ideal space for standing, something that is seen in the workplace for various health benefits but not something you often see in a private residence. It is a great space either to drink a dram or fine pinot while watching the weather play in the mountain and valleys, or to play a game of chess, or to read the newspaper or simply surf the web.

The bar and adjoining study are flat-roofed with exposed hardwood beams and veneered plywood ceilings. This area of lower flat ceilings help define individual spaces and give a variety in volume through the house. The flat roof over this area also helps to visually divide the private wing of the house from the guest suite, entry area and garaging.

A concrete block plinth to the northern aspects of the house provides a protection or wear layer to prevent windblown grit and dirt from damaging the timber cladding. The vertical shiplap cedar cladding defines the main monopitch volumes but break out rooms are clad in wide format fibre cement weatherboards.

Creating warmth and comfort using Passive House principles

As with any house that we design, much attention is given to the thermal detailing and with the harsh local environment, it was important to get this right for the comfort levels of the users and to minimise energy consumption. The thermally broken floor slab means that the heated flor slab is completed separated from the ground and the concrete foundations by closed-cell insulation.

The 140mm wall framing is sheathed externally with a rigid air barrier (RAB) and has a second layer of 50mm framing to the interior face. This allows for a continuous layer of insulation as wiring and plumbing can be run through the inner framing without interrupting the insulation of the 140mm framing. A second layer of insulation sits between this inner layer of framing meaning that any thermal bridging is minimised to where the framing elements cross each other, significantly reducing the amount of timber framing exposed to both the external and internal environments.

A Pro Clima Intello vapour control layer provides airtightness to both the wall and roof framing meaning that the roof and walls can release any moisture back through the membrane but the membrane prevents any internal moisture generated from cooking, showering, laundry or breathing from entering the framing and insulation, preventing condensation forming at the dew point which is usually somewhere in the middle of the framing.

PV solar panels generate electricity for the air to water heat pump that feeds both domestic hot water and underfloor heating, making for an efficient energy source.

Interested in sustainable architecture and energy efficient homes in New Zealand? Contact us today.

Photographer: Graham Warman Photography

Energy efficient home in Queensberry Hills NZEco house with mountain viewExterior view of an energy efficient home in Queensberry Hills NZBackyard and outdoor area with concrete floorLarge glazed sliding doors opening out to the viewKitchen with counter and bar seatingBedroom with skylight for natural lightSpacious kitchen with modern appliances

Wanaka Courtyard House

Stunning Wanaka home with lots of natural light

Location: Wanaka

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A Modern, Energy Efficient Holiday Home

This courtyard house is a direct response to the site. The aim of the house was to achieve a home with stunning views, outdoor connection, shelter, and thermal comfort. This was achieved through careful planning and detailing, whilst still expressing form and materiality.

The old Wanaka adage of ‘where there’s a view, there’s wind,’ held true with this elevated site overlooking Lake Wanaka. This was one of the main drivers of the design. Large glazed areas to the North of the house frame the stunning views, giving a light, open feel to the home. Shelter in outdoor living is provided with an internal courtyard. This is as much for outdoor living, as it is for being able to have sliding doors open for fresh air – even with a Northerly wind blowing.

Materiality is expressed in this house to give a feel of traditional Kiwi bach architecture. The post and beam structure gives a classic rhythm along the northern faced with an array of verandah posts. Cedar cladding provides warmth to contrast the hard surfaces of the large expanse of glazing and polished concrete surfaces.

High Performance Building Systems

Another reality of this Wanaka site is the cold winter climate, paired with hot summers. To combat this, high thermal detailing was provided in four distinct areas, drawing on Passive House Principles:

  • Glazing: Due to the large area of glazing, high-quality joinery suites were opted for. Triple glazed, argon filled, low E glazing was installed within thermally broken frames.
  • Roofing: Metalcraft insulated panels were used in the roofing. This system removes thermal bridges to avoid heat loss through the ceiling.
  • Framing: Whilst still using conventional framing, this house utilises a practice known as ‘criss-cross’ framing to help reduce the thermal bridging inherent with timber framing.
  • Slab: A fully insulated raft foundation system was installed, with thermally broken detailing. Under-slab, and slab edge insulation greatly reduces heat loss through the house floor.
  • Ventilation: A decentralised ventilation system with heat recovery was installed to wet areas. This controlled moisture in these areas, while recovering the heat produced by showers.

This detailing results in a home that is comfortable year-round, and that costs less to heat. Overall, the project has been a successful response to the site and client requirements for a warm, comfortable, energy efficient home.

Interested in sustainable architecture and high performance homes in New Zealand? Read more about the benefits of an energy efficient home on our blog

Photographer: The Photographer’s Studio & Laboratory

Kitchen with island counter and bar stoolsPost and beam structurePost and beam structure for outdoor patioExterior corner view of Wanaka home with post and beam structureExterior view of modern Wanaka home with floor to ceiling windowsLarge living room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Lake WanakaLiving room and dining area with Wanaka viewsBathroom interior with mosaic sinkEntryway to insulated energy efficient homeSliding doors opening to internal courtyardInternal courtyard designed for shelter and outdoor livingLiving room with fireplace and insulation for heat

Client Testimonial

We’re often asked what we love about our home.

Put most simply, it feels good to be in every room. We love the flow, how spaces are defined and linked, and the natural light in our home.

The house was designed specifically for our site. We enjoy total privacy from the road and protection from the southern aspect. As soon as we walk in the front door the house opens up to allow unimpeded views from floor to ceiling of the lake and mountains to the north. Views of more than 180 degrees from edge to edge are delivered to every living area and to the master bedroom.

The small open courtyard around which our house is built is a much-loved feature. It is open to the sky and fully glazed with sliders, so it offers passage through to every side of the house as well as introducing light into every space. Because of the interior courtyard there isn’t a single corridor in our home. And it’s is a nice sheltered spot for a first coffee.

The den is hunkered down on the southern side of the house so you might expect it to be colder and darker. Instead it’s a room for all seasons. We have spectacular views to the north directly through the interior courtyard and the other living areas. The winter sun streams into the den via this courtyard.

We appreciate the flexibility to re-purpose the den, made possible by the courtyard. Whilst there is usually both a visual & physical connection through the fully glazed courtyard into the den, it can be closed down to give privacy to anyone wanting “time out” or a separate work space.

Adjacent to the kitchen and dining area, facing north to the lake, is an outdoor room we have called our Dropzone. It is nestled a few steps down against the house for wind protection, and to allow for uninterrupted views from the kitchen out to the lake. With the roof continued over and with a glass balustrade, we can enjoy our Dropzone even in mid-winter on a sunny day. Another part of our home we love!

We knew we were building a home with energy and thermal efficiency but we have tended to take it for granted until we’ve visited some other homes in winter! It’s one of the behind-the-scene things we appreciate about our house.

We love our elegantly simple home with clean lines. Our architect thought outside the square to deliver what lies within the exterior walls.” – Lake Wanaka Courtyard House clients

Queensberry Hills Retreat

Modern energy efficient home in Queensberry Hills at sunset

Location: Queensberry

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Energy Efficient Home in Queensberry Hills

Nestled in the foothills of the Pisa Range between Wanaka and Cromwell, the elevation of this site means it is often within or above the clouds. It’s an incredibly harsh environment with strong prevailing winds throughout most of the year, and plummeting temperatures in winter.

But it is this brutal, changeable nature of the site that appealed to the clients, a couple who reside permanently in central Sydney. For them, this house was conceptualised as an escape from the business of high-density living, architect Chris Norman says.

It’s a relatively isolated site, surrounded predominantly by tussock – far below, the landscape converges into farmland, paddocks sitting side-by-side like a patchwork quilt. From above, the flat-roofed form of the home blends seamlessly with the mountainous surrounds and paddocks below. Local schist chips sit atop a warm roof, allowing the form to sit lightly within its environment, almost becoming one with it from a higher viewing angle.

The footprint of the house is essentially made up of a collection of box-shaped forms that come together to create an L-shape to form shelter for an internal courtyard cut into the hillside at the rear of the site.

“The courtyard contains all the domestications of the house within one area so the rest of the house sits naturally within the tussocks and touches the landscape lightly,” Chris says. The courtyard will be developed as an outdoor living area with water features, timber decking and planting to create a sheltered haven.

Concrete Construction to Withstand the Harsh Environment

Due to the harsh climatic conditions, extensive joinery was worked into the design to allow for the surrounds to be seen both from the courtyard at the rear of the home, and from most rooms within it.

Concrete was chosen as the cladding primarily because of its durability and lack of maintenance requirements. “We used a natural, local aggregate concrete with a timber board formwork,” Chris says. “We chose a wet macrocarpa formwork so we could achieve that rough bandsawn timber imprint in the concrete.”  Narrow birds-mouth joints to the concrete panel corners and matched board widths allow a continuous texture that creates the illusion that house is shaped from a single volume of concrete.

The result is a beautifully textured exterior that changes with the elements; when wet its hue gets darker, in summer it is lighter – allowing the house to continuously blend in with the surrounds as they move through the seasons.

Inside, the local aesthetic is continued with polished concrete floors, tinted to a dark ebony hue, while an exposed concrete hearth adds to the earthen, natural theme. A cast iron fire imported from Australia offers another focal point against the dramatic backdrops framed on all sides by expansive glazing.

A Cheminees Philippe cast iron woodburning fire is left exposed revealing the sculptural quality of the fire while providing efficient radiant heat for the winter days when the house remains in the inversion layer of clouds and there is no solar gain to heat the house.

Airtight Construction and Continuous Insulation

The polished concrete topping slab sits upon 200mm of hardfill and is encapsulated with high-grade rigid insulation with the structural slab below. This allows for a fully insulated large volume of thermal mass to help retain energy captured by solar gain. The precast concrete walls however do not expose the mass to the interior, instead the walls are lined with 100mm of rigid insulation so that there is a continuous line of insulation from the topping slab up the walls and through the roof structure. Threaded rod and rondo battens tie the wall linings back to the concrete structure minimising thermal bridging down to the small diameter of the threaded rod.

The airtight construction requires a balanced pressure Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation system (MHRV) to provide preheated fresh air via a heat exchanger that captures the heat from the stale extract air. Separate on site grey and black water systems add to the sustainability credentials of this durable and energy efficient home.

Interested in energy efficient homes in New Zealand? Read more about the technical details of this high performing home on our blog.

Photographer: Jem Cresswell & Larkin Design

Isolated home in nature at twilightModern house in the mountains at duskL-shaped architectural designHome built on a hillside for shelter from the environmentEnergy efficient home built on concrete slabShower with large window opening out at the viewDining room with floor to ceiling windowsCorner floor to ceiling windows in dining room

Clutha River Farmhouse

Panoramic view of an energy efficient home in Wanaka New Zealand

Location: Wanaka

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A Rural Family Home

Set on a remote rural site in central Otago, this functioning farmhouse is rich in its interior while the exterior is composed of understated, natural & robust materials.

The rural Otago vernacular is evident in its gabled form, but this family home was designed with expansion in mind. Currently, three sections – the main living areas, bedrooms and garage and utility areas – are each gabled separately with flat rooflines connecting each part of the home.

“It was designed with the intention that it would grow over time. A separate guest wing and additional living areas are planned, which will connect seamlessly with the existing structure,” architect Chris Norman of Chaney & Norman Architects says.

The clients, a couple with a young baby, plan to extend their family and enjoy a social lifestyle so the open plan aspects suitable for large gatherings as well as a sheltered exterior courtyard with schist fireplace were central to the design, as was the need to be able to extend as necessary.

Surrounding the relatively flat site, the valley extends for miles in every direction. The property has 360 degree views of the Mount Aspiring National Park as well as the Cardrona Valley and Pisa Range. Capturing these views from the inside of the home was pertinent to the design, and was achieved with extensive floor to ceiling joinery and picture windows throughout.

Interior Design

The moderate budget was focused predominantly on the interior detailing, while the exterior achieved a natural utilitarian aesthetic utilizing horizontal stained cedar cladding, schist features and a timber pergola in the main areas, while the utility areas are clad in corrugated iron.

The interiors are understated but incorporate feature details creating a natural elegance throughout. The living area incorporates a large open fire below a stone chimney that is set directly against floor-to-ceiling joinery capturing extensive views towards Lake Hawea.

“We designed a neutral palette inside so the owners could build up slowly with art. We focused on creating airy light spaces without compromising the heating.” Extensive insulation was installed throughout to combat the freezing temperatures in winter and long, dry summers typical in central Otago.

Oiled composite oak flooring provides a natural feel throughout the living, dining and kitchen areas, with a 4.2-metre concrete benchtop in the kitchen a seamless feature that contrasts the timber flooring. White subway tiles act as a splashback with floating timber shelves on each side of the main cooking area creating a simple elegance.

Subway tiles also feature in the bathrooms and laundry with elegant Perrin and Rowe tapware a design object in each of these areas.

Interested in building a new family home? Contact us today for our ‘Guide to writing an Architectural Brief’

Photographer: Graham Warman Photography

Beautiful Wanaka home with eco house designHouse in Wanaka built with sustainable designLarge outdoor deck to maximise sunlightLiving room with high ceilings and fireplaceRustic dining room and open plan kitchenModern kitchen with pantryDining room opening out to sheltered exterior courtyardKitchen island and stove rangeFireplace in insulated living roomHigh ceilings in living room with fireplaceHis and hers sinks with large shower in modern bathroomOversized sliding doors leading into bedroomSeparate gabled sections within houseStone chimney set against floor to ceiling joinery

Clutha River Concrete House Stage 1

Concrete house in Wanaka

Location: Albert Town

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A Durable Family Home on a Budget

With a limited budget, the owners of this corner site within close proximity of the Clutha River set out to create a warm and energy efficient family home that captured the stunning rural views of the river terraces.

The proximity to the river provided great amenity but also a big challenge in how to build a durable and warm home that would be subject to frequent river fog in the long Autumn and Winters.

With durability in mind, insulated concrete precast panels were deemed an economic solution. The precast panels are a sandwich panel of high-grade rigid insulation set between a concrete skin or weathering layer to the exterior, and a structural concrete wall to the interior. While the concrete panels themselves are not cheap to produce, they offset costs as they do not need additional cladding or internal linings, saving on additional material and the need for additional tradespeople. The panels also provide a durable low maintenance solution that provides a good life cycle cost within the harsh summer and winter extremes of the Upper Clutha climate.

Concrete panels also provide thermal mass to moderate temperature fluctuations of cold mornings and hot days and provide an airtight construction sealing in the solar gains from the Northern orientation. A long glazed corridor with concrete back wall links the living and bedroom areas and acts as a form of trombe wall.

The concrete also provides a natural patina that provides a subtle textural finish both internally and externally. Inserts of timber are added to the exterior with cedar shiplap above the window and doors openings and the flying eaves are trimmed out with cedar fascias. While timber is limited to the exterior for maintenance reasons, more timber is introduced into to the interiors providing warmth and vitality.

An Efficient Layout with Clever, Small Spaces

To keep within budget, careful planning has allowed great functionality and flexibility within small spaces. A compact room off the main living space functions as a study, spare bedroom, media room or with the double doors open, as an extension of the main living space.  The use of volume and a good distribution of glazing make the smaller spaces feel bigger than they are and allow great flow to a number of external living areas allowing the family to move with or away from the sun and breeze.

Focus was on providing functional and quality space rather than size so that the owners could afford to build earlier than later. However the house was designed with expansion in mind so that as the family and savings grew, an addition could be added between the bedroom and living wings. This would provide valuable garaging and storage and a first floor master bedroom retreat, freeing up an existing bedroom so that teenagers would each have their own room.

Construction details take the expansion in mind and some of the windows and doors are designed so that they can be re-used when the stage 2 plans are put into action.

Interested in sustainable architecture and energy efficient homes in New Zealand? Contact us today.

Photographer: Graham Warman Photography

House built with concrete panelsHallway in concrete house with floor to ceiling glazingFloor to ceiling windows in living areaSmall fireplace for maximising spaceDining area opening out to backyardOpen plan kitchen and living room with dining areaGreen front door to concrete houseGlazed double doors opening out from concrete homeExterior view of concrete home in WanakaSheltered exterior deck with concrete floor

Albert Town Courtyard House

Well lit rustic home at night

Location: Albert Town

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Energy Efficient Family Home, Designed with Passive House Principles

This Wanaka home is a good case study of building a high performing, thermally efficient house on a budget – without skimping on good design. We rationalised the brief to reduce the area of the floor plan to improve energy efficiency without cutting down on the functional requirements of a family home. The reality of a Wanaka based family typically means a lot of seasonal gear to make the most of the outdoors – which translates to a lot of storage space.

Therein lay the challenge: create a well designed, efficient floor plan which provided as much useful space as possible, within smaller rooms than may be expected in a modern family home. This is especially evident in the use of carport and outdoor storage lockers. Reducing the floor plan is the obvious first step to cutting down on construction costs, energy costs, and therefore environmental impact.

Cutting down on quantity in some areas, meant investment into quality could be made where it counts. Thermal performance was key, with the use of Passive House principles to achieve airtight construction. SIPs Panels and thermally broken slabs do the majority of the work to ensure this home requires very little heating to maintain comfort. Concrete block walls are used as internal partitions within the thermal envelope only. This provides mass to regulate internal temperatures, without introducing thermal bridging to the cold outdoor air.

Warm and Inviting Interior Design

Not all the design thought was restricted to efficiency and budget however. Plenty of time was lent to the “design flair.” The home feels warm and inviting with ample natural timber ceilings and flooring running throughout the house. However, this flair wasn’t all extra cost. As noted by Homes to Love, the internal joinery provided elegant design, on a budget: “By using standard hardware and simple, robust materials like plywood and Formica HPL, custom-built vanities, wardrobes, TV room and living room shelving, a study desk, pantry and kitchen, were built – all for the same price as many spend on their kitchen alone.” A reminder that good design isn’t necessarily synonymous with high price tag.

The interior spaces are deceptive in their size – whilst they are compact in plan, they feel open and spacious with good natural light and outlook. This connectivity between indoor and outdoor is celebrated with the courtyard nature of the house, providing visual connection of all the rooms across the house. In addition to the courtyard, there are multiple outdoor spaces to suit varying seasons or times of the day.

You can read more about this SIPs home on the Chaney & Norman sustainable building blog and at Homes to Love.

Interested in sustainable architecture and energy efficient homes in New Zealand? Contact us today.

Photographer: The Photographer’s Studio & Laboratory

Backyard garden in courtyardCovered outdoor storage areaQuaint backyard garden and wooden deckWooden house with large backyard gardenWooden house and large wooden deckNaturally lit dining room and living areaWell lit living area with large windowsDining room with oversized glass sliding doorsLiving room with small fireplaceKitchen with lots of natural sunlightEntryway into energy efficient homeSitting area with natural timber walls and floorsBathroom with white tiles

Clutha River Concrete House Stage 2

Two story concrete house

Location: Albert Town

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A Functional Extension to a Loved Family Home

When we designed this house, almost a decade ago, it was always known that there would be a second stage in the form of a central pop-up second storey. But when the time came around to make it happen, the consideration of the actual form of the extension and how it adds to the original house, became a whole new design project in itself.

The Clutha River Concrete House original house was designed to be staged so that the family could build a small home straight away rather than having to wait until they could afford the larger home they had in mind. The house was made up of two wings forming a gentle gull wing structure. One wing comprised of an open kitchen/ dining/ living area, the other bedrooms and bathroom. A narrow glazed link between created a set back between the wings which provided for an outdoor living area to the north, but most importantly, space for an extension between the wings to the south.

The new design features a double car garage behind the house, which extends up to form a master bedroom suite on the upper level. From the north, this room sits balanced between the two wings below. The home now takes on a new aesthetic, whilst remaining sympathetic of the last. Upstairs, views to the north are grand. To the left are the hills of The Peninsula, with Mt Maude taking place at centre stage. Beyond and to the right lie the Hawea hills and ranges. This room sits as a periscope between its haunches – popping its head up above the reeds and the flaxes by the riverside.

The raw concrete materiality of the original house is expressed in the new extension. Although the extension doesn’t feature concrete panels like the original house, the concrete texture is mimicked with lightweight fibre cement panels. This continues the house’s grey textural finish, with accents of warm orange timber elements. Keeping the extension lightweight allowed for a cost effective build without adding in unnecessary earthquake bracing demands if we were to continue the concrete in the extension.

The benefits of staging a project should not be overlooked. Whilst staging does not suit all projects or sites, with others it can mean the difference between building the necessities now, or waiting another decade until you can afford your ‘end goal’ home. Allowing your home to grow with your family requires only a bit of thought in the early design stages to provide scope for extension later.

Interested in sustainable architecture and energy efficient homes in New Zealand? Contact us today.

Photographer: Chaney & Norman Architects

Two story concrete home on Clutha River in WanakaExterior of modern concrete houseMountains and surrounding terrain in Albert TownConcrete house built for sustainabilityEnergy efficient home on the riverDriveway leading into energy efficient homeNatural mountain landscape