Architects: Parsonson Architects
- Area: 220 m²
- Year: 2020
Manufacturers: AutoDesk, James Hardie, Rosenfeld Kidson
- Design Team: Gerald Parsonson, Craig Burt, Amelia Hoult
- Structural Engineering: Spencer Holmes
- City: Wellington
- Country: New Zealand
Text description provided by the architects. The house is located in a large new suburban subdivision in Wellington, on a long and slender site located between the road and a planted valley reserve containing the beginnings of the Porirua Stream. The overall subdivision consists of mainly kitset and building company housing, finished in shades of cream, beige and grey, waiting until planting grows tall enough to soften it.
The Long House plan responds carefully to the local landscape, site and weather conditions. Prior to purchase and construction, time was spent on site with the owner discussing the different possibilities.
The valley to the west of the house is reserve land and has been substantially planted, which will continue to grow and provide a beautiful green outlook into the valley. The house takes a different approach to most of the bulkier 2 storied houses nearby, where it is more related to the forms of the land, being long, low and slender, with colours and materials selected to relate to the local natural environment. Long horizontal lines and fine layered verticals reinforce this.
The slender plan allows light into spaces from both sides and the long axis of the site is orientated slightly west of north, which sets the plan up for morning and afternoon indoor and outdoor living areas facing both east and west in the middle section of the house, allowing occupants to follow the sun throughout the day.
The prevailing wind is channelled down by the hills from the northwest making the sheltered east facing morning courtyard a comfortable and well used space, being close to the kitchen with views through the house to the west. On the more exposed west side the courtyard is sheltered by a wrap-around glazed screen and covered partly glazed roof, more used as an outside in the cooler winter months. Garage and service areas are located at the south end of the plan with bedrooms to the north.
This is a single storey 2 bedroom retirement home with study, with subtle changes in floor level responding to the site contours. The owners had previously lived in a 1070’s Gordon Moller designed home, which used a palette of natural timbers and red-brown colours, which have been brought into the new house.
The house built predominantly using materials with low carbon footprints, apart from the concrete slab and metal roofing. The structure is made of mostly timber, with minimal steel. Exterior cladding is Western Red Cedar, interior trims Eucalyptus Saligna and ceilings Okoume plywood. Walls are 140mm thick to allow R4 insulation, and the ceilings are double layered with R5 insulation. Windows have Low E glass and the concrete slab is insulated underneath and with perimeter insulation. It is designed to operate as a heat sink, collecting and storing heat during the day and releasing it in the evening.
The roof form is arranged to allow morning sun in and offer outside areas with flexibility to suit different weather conditions. Eaves are shaped and sized to mediate the north and west sunlight throughout the year. The long slender plan allows for generous natural cross ventilation and cooling. Heating is via an in-slab hydronic heat pump powered system.