• 2023

  • Architectural
    Architectual Design

Commissioned By:

Kristina Pickford Design

Designed In:

New Zealand

Waimataruru is a unique new home on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. It’s a new permanent home, designed for environmentally minded clients, passionate about ecology and the natural environment. The home allows them to engage with native forest regeneration, delicate ecologies and a characterful coastal environment and community.

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Image: Sam Hartnett
Image: Sam Hartnett
Image: Sam Hartnett
Image: Sam Hartnett
Image: Sam Hartnett
Image: Sam Hartnett
Image: Sam Hartnett
Image: Sam Hartnett
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  • The brief was for a dynamic, permanent home on an extraordinary 10ha coastal site that reflected the clients’ commitment to actively protecting and restoring its ecological values. The home needed to find a way to sit comfortably in the landscape but also engage with it meaningfully. Consideration needed to be made for the preservation of vegetation and its visual impact on the landscape. Other key considerations included: a natural material palette, predominantly timber; a high-performance envelope; a level of self-sufficiency and preparation for the future. The clients were actively involved in sourcing appropriate materials and contributed to their installation.

  • Sitting on a clearing made by a previous owner, protecting 30 years of surrounding growth, the building follows the site topography, keeping below the ridge to maintain the heroic landform. Indoor and outdoor spaces are arranged around a series of unique landscape moments which occur on each of its six stepped levels. The house incorporates an intentional duality – front and back; ocean and bush; light and dark. This approach allows intimate connection with trees and foliage which are close at hand, and wider vistas to the ocean beyond. A high-performance envelope, articulated to manage light and ventilation, demands little energy.

  • The home is a simple form, settled into a commanding landscape. Primary living and sleeping spaces cascade across the land from west to east, each space is oriented to landscape moments aligning with time of use and function. This brings the landscape into the home as a defining component of its day-to-day use - a celebration of place. The house is low impact, low energy and sustainably self-sufficient. The primary building materials are strong, stable and enduring. With this level of building autonomy, it allows the clients to focus on land stewardship and the healthy ecology of the surrounding environment.

  • Apart from the fundamentals of building orientation and function, the design deliberately addresses its overall life cycle from the outset. Almost all building services, including space heating and domestic hot water, are powered by photovoltaics and batteries – very occasionally topped up by a sustainable energy provider. Rainwater is collected in underground tanks; wastewater is treated by a worm farm septic system which is discharged over native plantings. Primary materials were selected to be low-impact, durable, locally sourced and machined/manufactured. Embodied Carbon – a conscious decision was to use timber where possible and minimise concrete usage to essential foundations. The building is almost entirely sustainable New Zealand grown timber that locks away carbon within the structure, cladding, framing, flooring, decking and cabinetry. Operational Carbon – this house is self-sufficient and low in carbon production. The passive design approach does most of the work, keeping the building warm, cool and dry. The high-performance envelope requires only tiny inputs to keep the interior at a comfortable temperature. If heating and cooling is needed, it is provided by the solar-powered heat pump units or foraged firewood for the fire. Considered openings ensure ventilation in any weather conditions.