The First Light House - Waimarama - First Light Studio Ltd | ArchiPro

The First Light House - Waimarama

The Meridian First Light House, proudly taken to America to win a podium finish in a global competition, started life as a project within Victoria University in Wellington. With a keen focus on research and design, the team set out to take on the world, and show that a New Zealand beach house can perform way better than our country’s existing building stock. We succeeded.

From Wellington
It all started with four architectural students and an undergraduate design project in 2009.
In 2010 this undergraduate project became a fully-fledged competition project, when our design proposal gained entry into the prestigious US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. The design was then to be built and would travel to the United States to compete against nineteen other houses from around the world.

Ours was the first ever entry from the Southern Hemisphere to win a place in this international shortlist. Ours is the first country in the world to see the sun every day. First Light was born.
A buzzing office grew out of Victoria University’s School of Architecture and Design, to accommodate the growing project and the growing team. This team involved students from architecture, building science, landscape architecture, industrial design, tourism management and marketing courses.

To Washington DC
In the USA, First Light gained First Prize in Engineering and First Equal in Hot Water and Energy Balance. We also placed highly in other contests: Second Place in Architecture, Third Place in Market Appeal and, most importantly, Third Place overall in the Solar Decathlon.

The house has since scooped additional awards in New Zealand – including the 2013 New Zealand Architecture Award for International Architecture and commendations in Sustainability, Clever Wood Solutions and Residential Architectural Excellence in 2011’s New Zealand Timber Design Awards.

To Waimarama
After its OE, the house returned to New Zealand to settle into a stunning site above the sea in Waimarama, Hawkes Bay – a well-earned break for a most well-traveled house!

Photography by Paul McCreedie

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