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Tiny House Wins Architectural Award!



In 2019, Build Tiny built a stunning Architecturally designed Tiny House on wheels designed by First Light Studio, that has since gone on to win the 'Small Project Architecture Category' in the Wellington Architecture awards


Judges comments were as follows:


"Inhabiting this house is like living in one interconnected, interlocking piece of joinery. The design is simplified down to just two materials, creating a clean, organised space that is a refreshingly well-designed alternative to the rustic aesthetic of the typical tiny home. Everything is thoroughly considered for its function, transportability, and ergonomic performance. Meticulous planning was required, from resolving the weight of materials and their distribution on the trailer, to manoeuvring on-site and within the tiny home. The design is pure, uncluttered, generous, and well-articulated; the house is a great example of resolving design down to the millimetre when it counts."

Here's what the Architects wrote about the home:


"Unlike the low-cost, DIY rationale that often underpins tiny house construction, our client’s motivation was to have a beautiful piece of architecture: we had the luck and rare opportunity to design a bona fide transportable tiny home. The brief called for a “refined tramping lodge on wheels”, within NZTA regulations regarding width, height and weight – the latter an unusual challenge for architects. An idyllic section in Ohariu Valley was earmarked for occupation, although given its transportability the design needed to consider alternative future locations too.


First Light aimed to create a sculptural object that could be as much at home in motion as when stationary. The exterior is wrapped in sleek ebony corrugate, with matching aluminium joinery, lights and utilities. With strict weight limits, volume had to be apportioned strategically where it would be most valuable with the ridge of the asymmetric gable sitting above the head of the mezzanine bedroom. The long roof plane holds six PV panels which in turn designated the north-south axis of the home. Full-height French doors on one face and sliding windows on the other ensure light and views can be enjoyed from either direction, no matter the site.


Inside, the restricted palette continues with creamy poplar plywood and silvery fittings. More a large and very detailed piece of furniture than a traditional house build, the fitout focuses on the things that are important and necessary. Everyday activities, as well as pastimes such as cooking, baking, reading in the sun, spending time with friends are enjoyed with a healthy connection to the surrounding landscape. All furniture doubles as storage, keeping the space clean and clutter-free. A chef’s kitchen takes pride of place in the centre of the plan; the tilt-up tabletop at its end can be used for even more prep space, as well as allowing a connection between the interior and exterior living spaces. The modular deck has been assembled on site, which doubles the size and enjoyment potential of the building – especially on sunny afternoons when the day bed can be rolled outside.

Although a lot of design decisions were necessitated by logistics, this light, calm and spacious-feeling home is a delight to be in, belying its strict volumetric limitations and minute, 17m2 footprint. With comfortable, ergonomic and entirely fit-for-purpose spaces, the client has not compromised on quality in the pursuit of space conservation.


Sustainable Aspects


The tiny home is net zero, entirely powered by solar energy and an LPG gas cylinder. LED lights and low-water usage fittings have been specified to minimise the home’s impact on any environment in which it will find itself. A composting WC practically eliminates this waste stream.


Low-maintenance, durable, locally abundant – and for the most part recyclable – materials have been utilised. A thermally broken frame stuffed with insulation, complete with thermally broken aluminium joinery allowing passive ventilation means the house can be warmed or cooled within minutes.


Living small, simply, resource-responsibly and entirely without excess has been wholeheartedly embraced by this forward-thinking client."