Rebuild solutions for TC3 landowners have taken on a whole new lease of life this week with the unveiling of The Cantabrian, an architecturally designed concept home. The Cantabrian has been designed specifically for construction on challenging land to deliver greater structural integrity to the house in the event of seismic activity.
A modern take on the quintessential New Zealand bungalow, The Cantabrian concept home is the inspiration of Southern Response and Nelson-based architect Richard Sellars.
Born out of a commitment by Southern Response to provide people with a solution for TC3 rebuilds that is not only structurally robust, but also appealing and attainable for the average person. The Cantabrian concept home is the result of a design competition run in association with the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 2013.
The brief was based around a build solution for a typical TC3 property and had to meet challenges such as structural integrity, land conditions and principles of modern living. Forty-seven entries were received from registered architects from around the country.
“We were initially inspired by the Queenslander, which is a style of house built for the Queensland conditions. We wanted to develop something that was appropriate for the prevailing conditions here in Canterbury”, says Peter Rose, CEO of Southern Response.
“What began as a technical response to building on vulnerable land developed into a very real solution for safer, smarter and more secure houses for Cantabrians.”
Pip Cheshire, President of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, says the NZIA was keen to support this project because of its potential social worth to the Christchurch community and communities elsewhere in New Zealand.
“This competition was an ideal vehicle for bringing the knowledge and ideas of New Zealand architects to Christchurch. Architects, through their years of training, are well versed in the art of manipulating available site conditions and materials to maximize the benefits to occupants. As the wonderful entries in this competition showed, architects are keenly interested in designing better buildings, not bigger. Richard’s winning design, in particular, is a very smart, flexible and adaptable piece of work.”
Southern Response was so impressed by Richard Sellars’ design, that they translated it into a concept home that all Cantabrians could gain inspiration from. Constructed of lighter weight materials with specifically engineered foundations, the architectural influence has brought a clever and creative use of space and a contemporary design not always found in houses of this price bracket.
“The competition provided me with the opportunity to design a warm, comfortable, light-filled home for the people of my home town. I have employed three key principles in this design; Light, simplicity and spatial comfort. These are qualities that I would want to live with”, says Sellars.
“I was inspired to enter because I believe that every house, no matter how small the budget or footprint, should be well-designed and placed carefully on the land.”
Construction of The Cantabrian began in late 2013 on the St Albans site. The site is representative of a typical TC3 site, both in terms of its shape and geotechnical performance. Housing New Zealand (HNZ), which owns the Cranford Street site, agreed to lease the land to Southern Response to help kick-start The Cantabrian project.
Canterbury Earthquake Redevelopment general manager Paul Commons says HNZ fully supported The Cantabrian concept, adding another strand in delivering new and improved housing solutions to the Christchurch region.
“We are really pleased to be part of this exciting and innovative project’’ Mr Commons said.
The Cantabrian concept home design has pre-approved building consent (known as multi-proof) which delivers greater efficiency in the entire build process and a shorter construction period overall. As a multi-proof design, The Cantabrian concept can be built anywhere in New Zealand, requiring only site-specific foundation and services details to be consented by the local authority.
Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) Chief Architect Duncan Joiner says the concept home is the sort of innovative approach to housing the Ministry is encouraging across the country, and also showcases the contribution architects can make to mass housing.
“Architects can play a key role in designing comfortable, safe and attainable homes,” Dr Joiner says. “The Cantabrian is a model for the next generation of housing, not just for Canterbury, but nationwide.”
“The Cantabrian concept home is a starting point, not an end in itself”, says Rose. “Other versions of The Cantabrian will undoubtedly evolve within the structural framework of this new style of home. It is an exciting beginning for future Cantabrian homes,” he added.