Gaby Lingke shared with us a short documentary about architect Fritz Eisenhofer, who designed and built a futuristic earth-sheltered dome in Peka Peka, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Architect’s description and a plan of the dome after the break.
My aim was to create an energy efficient environment to live in and a structure, which does not impinge on the landscape. The land bordering Peka Peka Beach was considered by the Planning Tribunal of National Importance. It was therefore recommended that the urban development of this sensitive coastal environment be covered by a special zoning ordinance to provide for the preservation of its natural character by protecting the greater part of the vegetation cover over the fore dunes and ensuring that beach users would not be visually aware of the development.
The climate conditions would hardly justify earth shelter but adding all aspects, reduction of maintenance, energy saving, preference for the use of permanent building materials and most importantly environmental consideration made it a worth while undertaking. Sand on this coastal area is the primary ground condition.
It was important that the home had a feeling of space, a living style different from the norm, as well as creating a space in close relationship with the earth, plants and water, and obtaining near constant temperatures day and night summer and winter. This to be achieved without conventional energy output for heating and cooling. Here the earth shelter with the flywheel effect combined with solar energy gave the solution.
A hemispherical dome was the obvious answer. We have lived in this environment since 1991 and the dome has fulfilled its function more than expected