Our readers know that New Zealand homes, infamous for being ‘leaky’ cold and damp, are basically overpriced, poorly constructed sheds.
Then again, most of our readers come from first world countries where homes are built to last for 80 years plus and are designed and constructed to be able to withstand adverse weather conditions.
It’s relatively easy to spot a pup. Isn’t it? But do New Zealanders know how crushingly awful and substandard their homes are?
The stimulus for this question is the New Zealand Herald is questioning whether New Zealand Architecture is a thing or not:
Do we have a distinctive style of New Zealand architecture yet? A house we can point to, recognise the style and say ‘oh, that’s so New Zealand’ and claim it for our own? Say smugly, ‘well, there’s nothing like that anywhere else in the world, is there’? source
For an answer to that see the paragraphs above. Here’s what some of the good people of Reddit New Zealand think.
oddstuff: (I’m in the trade) It’s all the same boring shit. Lots of glass, nowhere to hang a painting, tiny rooms and no storage. Oh – and no insulation either. And all built from shitty overpriced materials “designed for New Zealand conditions”. It’s rare to see good design or to see long lasting materials.
These guys do more interesting work (by NZ standards) but it’s still pretty boring and so very copied from overseas. Bland. Boring and not innovative in any way. For example: http://www.warrenandmahoney.com/en/portfolio/house-of-light-christchurch/
notalannister: Yes – houses that can be well-insulated should be the most important design criteria. I’m in Canada and it’s -15 but the whole house is centrally heated to 20 degrees and with massive insulation done so the heatings not going all the time.
oddstuff: Thanks for your comments. And I bet it’s not costing you a fortune to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
oddstuff: We live in a cold climate and we build houses to a standard about on par with 1950’s USA. We use technologies and methodology that is no longer used in the USA and we’re so far behind Europe it’s not even remotely funny. Our building code allows the construction of barely insulated homes. We think double glazing is the bees knees and we pay a premium for outdated, crap products.
We could be building homes suited to our climate, that cost as little as 1W per sq.m to heat or cool. Instead, we pay a fortune to run our heatpumps or sit under 15 blankets.
For the few trying to build better, the building code makes life quite difficult because, should you import a triple glazed window unit from Europe, that requires no flashings to install, then you have to prove to the idiots at your local council that the window and it’s installation will comply with part E2 of the building code – a code written for 1930’s to 60’s construction technology.
On top of that, design is mostly 1950’s/60’s moderne. Or, volume builder rehashed ’70s shit. A bedroom wardrobe is a little double door’d “room” with a shelf and a rail if you’re lucky. (Even in those houses you linked to) One even had a pivot front door. How lovely and ’70’s.
And, if it could not be worse, we have the reality that the building code requires a house’s structure to last for only 50 years, and it’s claddings (roof and wall claddings) to last only 15. For this, we pay in most cases 50% more for the equivalent building size than almost anyone else in the world.
Not everyone of course. There are a few architects and designers that don’t agree with this bull and are actually providing clients with good design and modern technology. And, often, the imported technology is cheaper than the local crud.
Fatesjester: The first light house by first light architecture. That destroys your bullshit comment about sustainability and it’s wholly New Zealand architecture.
Oddstuff: The First light house is not bad, but it also cost $4500/sq.m. And the internal layout sucked.
You may also be interested in
$380 a week gets you what? (March 2010)