The Owhanake Bay House is a peaceful respite on Waiheke Island across the strait from Aukland, New Zealand. Designed by Strachan Group Architects for a semi-retired couple, the home gently bends with the landscape and takes in views of the Hauraki Gulf below. Sun soaked and boasting unparalleled views, the vacation home also minimizes its impact on the landscape through the use of outdoor living, solar energy, rainwater collection, passive design and native landscaping.
The owners were looking for a peaceful vacation home that offered ease of movement and single level accessibility despite the site’s natural slope. Strachan Group Architects created a home that bends to meet the landscape and makes the most out of outdoor living. Taking inspiration from the traditional New Zealand villa veranda, the idea was to build a home where one could spend a lot of time outdoors in the sub-tropical climate. The result was a design with three pavilions connected with covered patios. Although the home is oriented to the north and south to meet the landscape, fins and slices fixed to the north work to soak up the sun. Partially screened-in patios provide protection from the elements.
Insulated concrete is used as thermal mass, and a 5-panel solar hot water collector with electric back-up provides hydronic heating and domestic hot water. Durable and natural materials were chosen throughout to minimize maintenance and survive the harsh marine environment. FSC certified, plantation-harvested and laminated wood products were used throughout. Rainwater is harvested from the roofs and collected in tanks, while wastewater from the house is discharged through landscaped areas where it is absorbed by the plants. Native landscaping and a vegetable garden act as sting site vegetation and the house act as a bridge between the existing site vegetation and the house.
Strachan Group Architects and the Owhanake Bay House have received both the NZIA Local Award for Residential Architecture 2011 and the NZIA Local Award for Sustainable Architecture 2011.
Images ©Patrick Reynolds