Westmorland Home - Vila.nz | ArchiPro

Westmorland Home

This Vila design is focusing on multiple possible uses depending on the family's lifestyle, growth of family and allow multiple changes to requirements. 

The initial thought is around the use of the fantastic section, exposure to the sun, great level access to the property, expensive views and the fact that this view can never be built out (reserve). This ensures all bedrooms and living area have exposure to the north sun. Children bedrooms are equally important as the master bedroom, this is why ensuring perfect orientation was the key.

A most important factor in Vila design was performance and durability. With extensive building science knowledge from overseas, we were not satisfied with code-minimum standards and certainly not with conventional timber construction, that hasn’t been changed for “100+ years”   

The construction system we selected is high performance, factory manufactured, structural insulated panel, SIP. This specific SIP is exactly the system proved to be the most successfully applied SIP in North America, Europe, and Japan and tested and Codemark certified for compliance with NZ building code. 

An important aspect of house performance is also in terms of internal moisture control. Well insulated houses that are not air-tight cause significant issues to the durability of the structure. Vapour entering the wall not only causes potential rot on structural timber but is also absorbed by standard glass-wool insulation, which becomes heavier and sags, creating non-insulated gaps inside the wall. 

The walls and roof are completely thermally broken, and super-insulated with R-value of:

Walls= R4.3

Roof= R7.2

But most importantly very air-tight to withstands occasional strong winds.   

Foundation is concrete slab with insulation under the slab and thermally broken concrete edge. Installed is also hydronic in-slab heating with water heated using European type air-to-water heat pump, heating domestic water and same time also in-slab water. Radiant heat from underfloor heating doesn’t function by moving air. Unlike standard heat-pumps it heats the space in a similar way as sun, radiating the heat from ground up, with 'warm feet and cool head', this is proven to be the most pleasant way of heating, and due to extreme level of insulation, proven to also be the most economical way of heating, heating all rooms throughout the house, evenly. 

Solar gain through the windows is absorbed by exposed polished concrete and basically passively heating also domestic hot water. And by running the water in the slab it distributes heated water to less exposed parts of the slab and equalizing the heat through the house. 

The roof is designed with large overhang on the north side, which completely protects from the hot summer sun, but enables weaker winter sun to still light all corners of the rooms. By opening a narrow window in the office on the ground floor and a high window in the dining room in the upper floor, natural convection creates passive ventilation, which has been found sufficient even on most summer days.   

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Westmorland Home

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