Superhome of the Year Awards 2024 | River Drive House, Kerikeri

River Drive House, Kerikeri

Duncan Firth | SOLAREI ARCHITECTURE

Judges Comments:
“An inspiring design that has clearly evolved in direct response to its site and location. With its simple yet majestic lines, the home combines ancestral wisdom in response to the sun, environmental integration, natural airflow, and material selection. As a result, this home is a holistic piece of art with lovely proportions of interior spaces and excellent connection to the outdoors on both sides.”

River Drive House, located in Kerikeri, Far North of New Zealand is an architecture driven design response to climate and environment. The design and construction of the house is based on environmental design principles, such as optimal Northern sunlight orientation, natural airflow and relationship to site. The design maximises North views over rural landscape, and opens to a Southern olive orchard for natural cooling during summer.

Architecture is used as a long-term sustainable solution for the integration of natural warmth, coolth, and meaningful relationship to the rural environment. The design intentionally shifts the focus away from technology-based solutions for heating and cooling (active systems), with a focus on passive design strategies, only using technology as a tool to enhance architectural performance and experiences of the house and site.

The floor plan layout prioritises living and bedrooms facing due North, and services areas to South. This achieves fully optimised passive solar gain in key areas, natural warmth, and an energy efficient floor plan layout.

North Facing insulated thermally broken, ground and polished exposed concrete slab is designed for optimised passive solar gain and natural heating.  Strategically located central thermal mass walls further optimise passive solar gain, by trapping and storing abundant radiant sunlight energy in thermal mass.

Passive internal Mid-Winter (June) temperature ranges, range from 18 degrees (night time) to 22-24 degrees (day time) during Mid-Winter, through the use of effective passive solar gain techniques and insulation strategies. R .34 Insulated glass windows, R4.3 SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) walls and, R 5.2 roof insulation, maximise the benefits of high-performance building materials, keeping the house naturally warm during winter, and naturally cool over summer.

Summer passive cooling techniques are equally as important as winter passive heating techniques. Specifically calculated large roof overhangs protect and shade the house over summer keeping the house naturally cool. The cross-sectional design of the house utilises stack effect and cross ventilation techniques for natural ventilation, keeping the house passively cool during summer and well ventilated throughout the year.

Clad in Corten steel the exterior of the house is robust and long lasting, requiring minimal maintenance over the life cycle of the house. The house has 20,000L of rainwater storage for drinking, and uses an eco-cycle fusion waste system for sewage treatment.

River Drive House is a result of dedicated clients with a clear intention of producing a North facing house which would naturally heat and cool, while getting the most of site and views.

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