Wairarapa DIY House / all-sorts design studio
- Area :
Manufacturers : Brayco Stainless Steel, Juken, Nelson Pine Industries ltd, Ringlock, Sonnen
Lead Architect :
Text description provided by the architects. After living in the house for a year or two, we discovered just how unprepared it was to handle the extremes of New Zealand’s climate. Abundant single glazing and minimal insulation made both summer and winter unbearable (our region experiences temperatures from 40°C down to -10°C). The house faces west and is sun-challenged in winter due to a line of trees that overshadow the property until late morning. The interior was too bright in summer and too dark in winter. Outdoors was unpleasant as there was nowhere to shelter from the elements, in particular the wind.
To solve these issues in a sustainable manner on a limited budget, we needed to get practical: simple robust detailing; capable of being fabricated by a single person with basic skills and tools; continuous panel insulation clad externally behind a timber rain screen; readily available and economical materials, capable of being hefted by a single person; minimized construction waste; detailing should be flexible enough to allow efficient use of panel offcuts
An extension to the living room was added to help manage the thermal performance of the entire house. Called the “Engine Room” it uses high-level glazing to capture the morning sun, and stores generated heat in a mass thermal storage zone below. Using a passive system of ducts and air traps, it warms air from the house on sunny winter days, prevents heat from flowing out by night, and (via a high-level flap), draws excess heat from the house in summer.
The “Ready Room” is an outdoor room offering protection from the wind and rain. It is the starting point for a deck that wraps around the dwelling and into the garden, resulting in varied pockets of space around the house.
Sunlight to the living area is moderated by a deep porch overhang which limits afternoon brightness and heating loads on the windows. The porch ceiling, deck, window seats, and Ready Room roof combine to reflect diffuse and buffered light into the space. A new garage with an entry lobby, laundry, and workshop, and a large PV array in the garden complete our spatial interventions to the property.