Off the coast of New Zealand, there are several very isolated islands that have no mains electricity. The very few residents eking out a living from farming or tourism here on the Great Barrier Island, live in the same way that people did decades ago – they have long collected rainwater, for example – but now they also use solar to power their simple houses.HomeDesignFind discovers the simple life on Great Barrier Island. Here, brand managers, strategic consultants and other knowledge workers live a simple, rugged life for at least part of the year. Sometimes the island can be entirely isolated by rough weather and supplies can run low. On occasions, people have been forced to use olive oil which is neither extra nor virgin. If the Gaggia develops a fault, it might be a few days before spare parts can be flown out.
So this very elemental beach bach designed by Herbst Architects is designed as a green home, by absolute necessity on this island, not to meet an eco trend. There is no choice. Solar panels supply electricity. Large rainwater tanks for storing rainwater are buried underneath the house.
It is fortunate that Auckland has architects who can meet the challenge of these conditions, building houses which can withstand the elements and provide at least the essentials of life.