Superhome of the Year Awards 2024 | St Martins, Christchurch

Super St Martins

Architecture | Susanne Schade, Architecta Ltd

Judges Comments;
“A great high-performance building envelope complimented by recessed windows. The double height living area creates a wonderful sense of volume while maintaining a homely sense of warmth through colour and material selections. A striking and inviting exterior is created with the contrasting cladding selections and arrangement of forms.”

Built in 2020, this three-bedroom, two-bathroom house is located in the quiet part of a cul-de-sac with beautiful views of the Port Hills. Entering the home through the wide, brilliant red door, visitors are welcomed with views into the garden guarded by an artistic stone sculpture. Moving further into the living and dining area with its high skillion roof, the eye is drawn to the panoramic sight of the Port Hills. The upper level is designed as a mezzanine and offers a second sitting area with access to the balcony. 

The wall and roof cladding has been chosen for their low maintenance and durability values. The construction is based on the Passive House Design principles with an Intello airtight layer by Pro Clima providing an envelope for the entire house starting at floor level, following up the walls and along the roof. This airtight layer guarantees that heat loss is minimal with the decentralized heat recovery ventilation system by Lunos providing a healthy and warm indoor environment - replacing stale moist air with fresh air from outside. These Lunos wall units also transfer heat from the outgoing stale air to the incoming fresh air, installed in each room. By reducing the heat loss, the energy consumption is reduced and increases the home’s efficiency.

Susanne Schade Q & A

Were the clients aware of The Superhome Movement prior to meeting with you?

My clients were visiting my Superhome in Hoon Hay during the Superhome Tour in 2018. They loved the design so much that they asked me to design a similar home for their site in St. Martins. The Albert Terrace design ended up being quite different to that of Hoon Hay as it needed adjustment to their lifestyle and to the site specific requirements. But the Hoon Hay design was a great starting point and led to a very unique, and beautiful new home for my clients.

Was there much flexibility throughout the whole design/build process?

Cost considerations are always in the forefront of minds, mine, and the clients. I did a lot of research, for example, wall claddings, which fitted my clients wishes of longevity, durability, low maintenance and appearance. We discussed the different options and decided on the two which were eventually been used on the project.After the concept design stage we asked the builder to provide a cost estimation, to make sure that we were on the right track regarding the budget before we continued with the project and prepared the building consent documentation.

What were the clients’ response on completion of the house?

This is probably a better question for the client, but they have said that they are very happy with the power consumption and the overall performance of the home. They said that, even in winter when they had minus degrees overnight and no heating going overnight, the house was still warm in the morning.

The home was on the 2022 Tours, how did you find the Tour?

I have had homes on several Superhome Tours and the questions asked by the public have become more and more sophisticated over the years. My experience is that the general knowledge about healthier and better homes has dramatically increased since the first Superhome Tour. In the early days, a lot of people claimed that you should not open windows and doors in an energy efficient home because that would work detrimental to the Heat Recovery and ventilation system. Nowadays these false claims are hardly heard anymore, which shows that the overall understanding of the performance of energy efficient homes has improved a lot, thanks to the efforts of all Superhome movement participants.

The home was part of the 2022 SUPERHOME TOURS

VIDEO | Susanne Schade | SUPERHOME TOUR September 2022