With ANZ, Homes to Love is exploring the ways we live now, under the theme of ‘Eco-friendly’ – and how this trend allows us to live and build today
Thanks to the increasing affordability of green building practices and a change to the building code, most new homes in New Zealand incorporate features of an eco house. While double-glazing and good insulation are certainly steps in the right direction, many architects and homeowners are taking it further.
Situated on 50 acres of native bush in Waiheke Island, GoGo bach is an environmentally conscious house that started out as two second-hand transportable portacabins. After purchasing the portacabins in an impulse Trade Me buy, the owners brought in architects Lance and Nicola Herbst to transform them into a home. The end result is a well-designed bach that works with the existing environment rather than in opposition to it.
To look at the GoGo bach you wouldn’t know that the bulk of the house came from reuse. Elegant timber frames cover the exterior of the two portacabins, plywood lines the inside and a modern corrugated roof connects the two buildings, creating an additional living space. Local materials were also incorporated where possible such as stone sourced from a Waiheke quarry, which now makes up the back wall. The use of both reused and local materials helped to minimise the environmental footprint of the house.
The bach is fairly small in size (less than 100 square metres), and much of the living takes place on the surrounding land and outdoor deck. There are many advantages to building a smaller home; it is less disruptive to the environment, requires fewer resources and the resulting house costs less to run. Not only is the GoGo bach compact, it is also connected to the exterior environment through features such as an open air bathroom, screens in place of doors and an outdoor living area. There is a sense of fun and freedom in the design of the GoGo bach, which feels intrinsically linked to the way it connects with the surrounding land.
The GoGo bach has been designed to be almost entirely self-sufficient. The land came with a transformer box, but the owners chose to use solar power instead. While solar was initially expensive to install, it now comfortably powers the whole house. The site also includes a herb garden, beehive and facilities for collecting rainwater. This is a house built to a minimal carbon footprint, which has been designed to function in much the same way. It proves that eco considerations and cost-saving go hand-in-hand, as do self-sufficiency and beautiful design.