If you're looking for laid-back country living with all the modern comforts, you'll love this passive solar home perched atop the slopes in New Zealand. Designed by Stratchan Group Architects, the Foothills House boasts spectacular views of the Whangamarino Wetlands as well as several impressive sustainable features, including rainwater collection and on-site effluent disposal systems. To minimize site excavation, this large country house built for a family of five was constructed along three levels to follow the natural topography.
The Foothills House was constructed using durable, mostly unfinished materials such as coated steel, zinc, stone and concrete masonry for a raw and natural look that blends in with the surrounding Waikato landscape. Natural stack bonded concrete blocks form the base of the building and highly glazed walls that hold up the angled roof maintain both strong insulation and spectacular views out to the countryside. The low slung steel structured lightweight roof is angled to absorb the thermal mass of the winter sun for passive solar heating and is positioned to allow cold south winds to flow overtop the building envelope.
The house is divided into two elongated shed-like pavilions linked by an internal garden courtyard, with the upper portion consisting of the private bedrooms and the lower portion comprised of the living areas. An onsite rainwater collection and treatment system will provide potable drinking water and irrigate the house’s gardens in both its outdoor and interior courtyards.