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Great Barrier Island House

A sustainable house nestled in a beautiful private setting, surrounded by puriri trees, blackwoods and other natives.

The building form is elevated for flood protection, and acknowledges the hill to the west, lifting towards its elevation. The living zone opens completely to this setting and the timber exoskeleton references the surrounding trees,  The bedrooms all have protected outdoor space, being closely located to the trees for increased privacy. The house is located to protect the existing vegetation and to make the most of the sun and the native bird life on the island.

The building needed to be sustainabel. A grove of Tasmanian blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) had been established near the eventual site of the house in 1988 as a future timber crop. In July 2007 a major storm hit Auckland and Northland. Great Barrier Island was hard hit and thirteen blackwood trees were blown over. From this the owners sent the largest logs to the local sawmill to be carefully processed. Some of the resulting timber was sent to Auckland for kiln drying and subsequent laminating into the kitchen bench and fireplace surround cabinetry in the house. The largest planks were made into a large dining table by local woodworker and artist Peter Edmond. It is a centrepiece of the open plan interior lounge and kitchen areas. Other rougher pieces were made into an outdoor table.

The cedar was supplied by Herman Pacific based in Silverdale and met FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. The external open deck and internal floors were made from sustainably logged Vitex timber from the Solomon Islands. All the other timber that were used in the house were also sustainably produced as well. The exposed western cedar was finished with Dryden’s Wood Oil, a New Zealand made specialised exterior wood finish.

A major feature of the house is the exterior fixed windows and sliding doors, made from western cedar. This house’s design works in harmony with its surroundings, and with the help of the sun and the rain, creates a micro-ecosystem which works in a perfect synergy with no assistance from the outside world.

Awards:
Winner – Residential Architectural Excellence
NZ Wood Timber Design Awards 2009