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Darlington Road, Wellington, New Zealand by First Light Studio & FLiP Homes

Project name:
Architecture firm:
FLiP Homes
Wellington, New Zealand
David Hensel
Principal architect:
Design team:
Eli Nuttall & Brittany Irvine
First Light Studio
Interior design:
Built area:
80 m²
Site area:
685 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
AWA Environmental
Structural engineer:
CGW Consulting Engineers
Environmental & MEP:
Tools used:
Light timber frame with airtightness membrane
Thermally Modified Timber (JSC TMT Taxon), Coloursteel Sandstone Grey
Residential › House, Infill Housing

First Light Studio: In the beachside suburb of Miramar, Wellington, lies Darlington, the first completed FLiP 'Wide', an illustration of inter-generational living brought to life in a modest backyard. 

With life quickly becoming marked by distance and busy schedules, the desire for intergenerational living is stronger than ever. Along with a growing appreciation for the benefits of healthy and sustainable housing, this lead the owners of a sunny Miramar property to construct a small, healthy backyard dwelling in the form of a FLiP home. The vision of this project encompassed not only the physical structure but also an embodiment of comfort, wellness and the preservation of privacy and independence.

The new house is situated at the rear of the 673m2 section, behind an existing garage and carport, providing a threshold and creating privacy between the new and the existing dwellings. Featuring a symmetrical gabled roof line, the home is a contemporary take on a traditional New Zealand villa, with light grey corrugate and timber cladding adding to the beachy feel of the neighborhood.

The design concept for Darlington began with a desire to maximise all-day sun by orientating the living spaces to the north and wrapping the house with a large deck to create a sunny, sheltered outdoor extension of the living space. A gently sloping ramp leads from the existing carport to the new deck, providing an accessible entrance and future-proofing the home for years to come. Inside, afternoon sun is maximised by the addition of a sloping high level window above the kitchen, also providing sightlines to the hilly bushland in the distance.

Timber joinery throughout the interior creates a warm and natural atmosphere, bringing the outdoors in. A small passage separates the open-plan living space from the bathroom and two bedrooms. Cavity sliders into each room create an easily accessible, future-proofed home. Extra-thick walls and thermally-broken, recessed windows to retain heat as effectively as possible, creating a highly energy-efficient home.

An airtightness membrane and mechanical ventilation system ensures moisture and stale air within the house is removed to provide an extra-healthy and comfortable living environment. This project stands as a testament to the power backyard dwellings have on a multitude of scales: from providing one family with the ability to foster strong connections across generations; to the need for increased urban density in inner city suburbs by revitalising under-utilised existing sections.

By Liliana Alvarez

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