With all the flooding going on in Brisbane, it's good to see a home already prepped for disaster. This wooden home on the Great Barrier Island north-east of Auckland, New Zealand is built on stilts and elevated for flood protection. The sun is used for passive heating, electricity and solar hot water heating, and with its stilt foundation, the home makes a light impact on the site. New Zealand-based Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects are responsible for the design of this modest and nature inspired home.
The home is built on a beautiful site surrounded with large Puriri trees, Blackwoods and other natives, all of which inspired the design for the timber framed home. A foundation of stilts raise the main living area of the home off the ground by one meter and in case of major flooding, the home would hopefully be above the high water mark and remain safe. The home lifts in order to reflect the rise of a hill off to the west of the home and the living area is completely open with large floor to ceiling windows of low e glass.
During the summer, the windows slide open to take advantage of the natural breezes and temperate climate. The winter sun likewise helps the home stay warm as it shines in through the large windows and a beautifully designed fireplace provides some heat when the temperatures drop. A solar hot water system on the roof provides plenty of hot water for the home and its many guests, and a photovoltaic system provides electricity.
As the owner of the home wrote in an email to the architecture firm, “It is an astonishingly decadent feeling lying in a bath of free water, heated by the sun, pumped by solar power. Free as anything! Hot water gets up to 68 degrees in the tank from the sun, and has to be cooled to come out the tap…. With 9 staying and all the laptops, music, washing etc we’ve only run the generator 3 times ever. All the irrigation systems do clever things. So it’s more than a PC nod to sustainability, as you know from all our fussing about timbers and paints.”
WHY THIS MATTERS:
Floods are a big threat in Brisbane, and this home uses a clever design solution – stilts – to keep it on dry ground.
Images ©Simon Devitt