High-performance homes

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Context Architects_The Block_House 3 backdeck
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Houser 4 before and after
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The Block_Context Architects

Subdivision renovation

Site: Meadowbank, Auckland

Completion: 2016

Services provided:

  • Masterplanning
  • Subdivision design
  • Architectural design
  • Resource consent
  • Liaison with consultant teams
  • Building consent documentation
  • Council liaison

The challenge…and how we solved it:

Did we mention we love a challenge? And boy we got one on this project! Five dilapidated town houses circa 1980, all different, all leaky and all suffering from a major lack of love that comes from being a long-term rental. Did we mention the deadline? A borderline impossible nine months from whoa to go.

First-up, how to restore value to the homes in a suburb with high-land values, but where leakies are just as unpopular as they are anywhere else. Stripping out problem areas and materials, and paring homes back to simpler shapes with modern, clean construction was a start. Introducing a contemporary Scandinavian aesthetic helped, and adding interest through contrasting timber colours and directions to accentuate key features like entrances. We created depth by recessing statement windows. This also made the homes feel substantial and solid, especially compared to their previous and flimsier incarnation.

But the most enduring value we added came from transforming them into high-performance homes that are extremely energy efficient and sustainable. They have achieved high Homestar ratings of either 6 or 7 (a quality assurance mark certifying a homes’ health, efficiency and sustainability), and are warm and dry, and easy to heat in winter and cool in summer. Being strategic about sustainability from the start as a way to add value to the subdivision and create a point of difference meant we were able to build high performance into the very fabric of the home.

Overall, we’ve transformed five drab and sad problem houses into high-performance homes that achieved between $1.32M and $1.61M at auction and are good-looking, highly-sustainable and energy efficient examples of what can be achieved when smart design meets sustainability.