Located on Waiheke Island to the east of Auckland, New Zealand is the Island Retreat -- a compound of low-impact freestanding structures. The family vacation retreat is built with concrete and other durable materials to withstand the sometimes inhospitable climate. Designed by Fearon Hay Architects with interiors by Penny Hay, Island Retreat is powered with a stand-alone photovoltaic system, harvest rainwater and manages its wastewater on site.
Island Retreat is a family vacation home made up of three buildings situated around a central courtyard. Situated above Matiatia Bay on Waiheke Island, the home includes four bedrooms, a large shared kitchen and living area, a separate media room and garage and finally a pool. The climate on Waiheke Island can be quite pleasant, but it can also be harsh because of the northerlies and southwesterlies off the Hauraki Gulf. To take advantage of the site and still maintain a sense of protection, Fearon Hay Architects designed a compound of durable concrete buildings that could withstand the harsh weather.
The buildings were formed from thick concrete walls with large floor to ceiling glass planes and optimized based on the prevailing winds and solar access. The concrete blocks the weather and serves as thermal mass, while the glass facades provide light and a connection to the outdoors. Drape-like roof planes further protect the interiors from weather and sun and also collect rainwater for use on the property. A large freestanding pole-mounted solar photovoltaic system generates energy for the compound and an onsite waste water management system reduces impact on the site.
Images ©Patrick Reynolds