Whale Bay House – Optima DCHGlobal

Bay of Islands, New Zealand
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Whale Bay House is located on a ridge overlooking Whale Bay in Kerikeri, New Zealand, and sits on an approximately 50-acre site.  The site falls in three directions and is within a sheep and cattle station, allowing for complete privacy and unobstructed views. 

Design

Whale Bay House is designed with a simple, flexible, sustainable building system that is adaptable to a broad range of climates and terrains. This architectural solution sits lightly on the land, with cantilevered floors that minimize site disruption, and connects to nature through dissolving the division of interior and exterior space.

Whale Bay House’s modular prefabricated architectural system is based on a three-dimensional structural grid, consisting of a simple set of standardized components much like an “erector set”, assembled into components in the shop and sequentially transported to the job site for erection. The floor and roof plates are constructed to span the module, and glazing, fascia, vertical screens, case work, wall panels, plumbing, electrical wiring, ductwork, insulation, stairs, and handrail are all designed in accordance to the 3D grid and incorporated into the structure. This allows for automated fabrication with precise and efficient construction.

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Whale Bay House is designed with a simple, flexible, sustainable building system that is adaptable to a broad range of climates and terrains. This architectural solution sits lightly on the land, with cantilevered floors that minimize site disruption, and connects to nature through dissolving the division of interior and exterior space.

Whale Bay House’s modular prefabricated architectural system is based on a three-dimensional structural grid, consisting of a simple set of standardized components much like an “erector set”, assembled into components in the shop and sequentially transported to the job site for erection. The floor and roof plates are constructed to span the module, and glazing, fascia, vertical screens, case work, wall panels, plumbing, electrical wiring, ductwork, insulation, stairs, and handrail are all designed in accordance to the 3D grid and incorporated into the structure. This allows for automated fabrication with precise and efficient construction.

The entire exposed structure is comprised of Duracorr steel and the entire envelope is Low-E, UV protected high performance laminated glass with a heat reflective coating.  The glass acts as a canvas for nature’s reflections of both colour and texture, and Duracorr is especially appropriate in this salt water environment, which occasionally experiences tropical cyclones.  

Whale Bay House is approximately 5,000 square feet, with four bedrooms, on a 50-acre site. The home has an additional 2,100 square feet of floating decks that blend seamlessly into the bluff and the natural environment when viewed from the coast. 

CONSTRUCTION 

The home was designed to comply with stringent standards of the Far North District Council to receive Resource Consent and Assessment of Environmental Effects approval, as well as the Mataka Station design review committee. An archaeological consultant ensured that no significant archaeological sites existed within the building envelope. The investigation was conducted in cooperation with the local Maori chief, who upon review of the site and drawings, supported the development plans for the house.  The entire structure was fabricated in Phoenix, Arizona, and shipped to New Zealand in 11 containers where it was assembled by a local contractor.

Residences

Completed: 2016

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