Whare Paetara (wall house)
Designed by Bob Burnett Architecture as a forever home for clients Shirley and Paul Watson. They chose the path less travelled and dared to be different. This single-story, 3-bedroom Superhome is a striking contrast amongst the neighbouring typical homes in the Canterbury town of Prebbleton. Measuring a modest 130m², the project is a testament to what can be achieved when favouring performance and quality over size. Such priorities align well with the Superhome ethos, allowing the clients to enjoy long-term comfort health and wellbeing with no power bill.
This home recently received an ADNZ Resene Kaitiakitanga Award. Kaitiakitanga is the ethics and practice of protection and conservation of the natural environment and the resources within it, on which people depend.
Bob Burnett, says it’s a small home with a big idea. This is evident in the home’s large stone spine wall - a design feature that serves the function as much as it does aesthetical flair. It acts as the backbone of the building to split the roof height and accommodates all the dwelling’s services such as the mechanical heat recovery ventilation system and plentiful storage. It also separates the private and public spaces, with bedrooms and bathrooms on one side and the entrance, living/dining/kitchen and a multipurpose room on the other side, that feature voluminous high ceilings. The wall and split roof design allows for high-level windows to be positioned through the centre of the home to provide natural cross ventilation and bring morning sunlight deep inside. Eliminating the need for gutters, the roof manages rainwater with the Canterbury prickles detail, allowing rainwater to be collected in a channel at the wall base and stored in a large tank hidden under the driveway, allowing optimal space for landscaping.
Japanese architect Shizuka Yasui created a thoughtful floor plan layout which includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms with a flow that minimises waste/common space. Super energy-efficient design allows the home to easily stay at a comfortable temperature all year round, aided by the mechanical heat recovery ventilation system, triple-glazed ECOWINDOWS and Pro Clima airtightness wrap to help align the home’s thermal performance with Passive house standards. Even the kitchen’s rangehood utilises a recirculating charcoal filter to ensure the home’s thermal envelope is not compromised.
The use of natural stone schist and cedar cladding materials help ground the home to its surroundings, further anchored by the engineered timber portal legs. Thoughtfully designed to minimise overheating, the house faces north-west towards the nearby water reserve, proudly displaying its array of solar panels and appearing visually prominent in the Prebbleton community.
From the owners, Shirley and I feel privileged to live in such a beautiful home. On several occasions Shirley has said to me “have I told you how much I love our new home today”. Our home is so light and warm and functional. We feel more attached to nature because the natural solar gain which comes through our large triple-glazed windows contributes so much to heating our home. We are much more conscious of where the sun rises and sets throughout the year and how deep the sun gets into the house.
I am a registered nurse with an interest in Child and family health. So, I am very aware of the health consequences of poor housing, which unfortunately is most of New Zealand’s housing stock, even most new houses. It makes no sense to continue to build code-minimum houses that are cold and expensive to heat. If all houses were built like ours, families would be living in warm dry houses that are cheap to run. There is lots of evidence this would improve children’s health and reduce demand on the health sector. It would also help to reduce the demands on electricity and water infrastructure.
This is our forever home. We have told our boys they will be taking us out of here in a box. Our home was designed and built to Universal Design Standards. This means it has been designed to optimise ergonomics and to be usable and safe for people of all ages and stages. There are no steps, the doors and bathrooms are designed for wheelchair access etc.
We are privileged to be able to afford the extra costs of building to the Super Home standard, and we have taken a lifetime cost approach. So, we are conscious that the cost of living in the house for the next 30 years will be very cheap especially as the cost of power, fuel, and water continues to rise. We are confident our upfront investment in good design, triple-glazed windows, solar power, passive house technology, and rainwater collection will pay off over time.As grandparents we are very conscious of wanting to leave the world in a better place for our grandchildren and building an energy-efficient super home was one way of doing that.
The brief: A 10-star SuperHome, with a 5-star quakestar rating, and a 5-star Life Mark and Passive House standard if the budget allows. A long-term home for the next 30 years, have low running costs, be sustainable, and perform well in earthquakes. Solar power, passive house design, and greywater/rainwater system, were all on the wish list.
Video interview. https://youtu.be/WubBaA_ZWtk?si=e9ygqu4aIPyi7rfV
Magazine article. https://www.abodemagazine.co.nz/home/2023/10/19/feeling-super
Christchurch City Council, Newsline Article https://newsline.ccc.govt.nz/.../see-inside-christchurchs...
more details here https://www.bbarc.com/projects
Bob Burnett Architecture has a longstanding reputation for award winning, energy-efficient, space efficient designs that are super sustainable. Exquiste organic architecture that exhibits the fusion ideas from the two directors, Bob Burnett and Japanese Architect, Shizuka Yasui. An overarching theme ‘Japandi’ - is the intersection of Japanese and Scandinavian design aesthetics, both of which utilize minimalist design principles and organic architecture. Research shows the Japandi aesthetics and techniques enhance people's health and well-being by integrating warm and natural elements in biophilic design. Simple elgence cleverly connecting with nature, through timeless design that also minimises impact on the environment.
Bob Burnett Architecture has championed energy-efficient, environmentally sound architecture for two decades. Bob designed New Zealand’s first 7 & 10 Homestar rated homes. His ethos is to create both beautiful and high- performance buildings for better livability, health, and comfort. He wants to normalise building better by helping people understand the link between New Zealand’s suboptimal building code standards, that are 20 years behind other OECD countries and alarming health and wellbeing statistics. In late 2015 Bob founded the Superhome Movement and earlier co-founded the Quakestar rating system after the Christchurch earthquakes. Recently Bob received the Sustainable Business Network Sustainability Superstar award.