The first prototypes of the Everyday Home have been recently completed by HLC in the suburb of Northcote. Designed as an easy to build, affordable, safe, dry and warm home, the homes reflects New Zealander’s ways of living.
The Everyday Home is perhaps best described as a modern-day ‘state house’ – a response to a pressing need new housing in Auckland. The first of these new homes have been built among Housing New Zealand’s tired housing stock in Northcote, and symbolise the planned regeneration of the entire suburb. A limited number of homes have been built to test the design and construction, a one-to-one scale model for design research.
They are a place to meet and a place to greet,
a place to rest and a place to eat,
a place for my toys and place to fix my bike,
a place to hang my family photo and a place to grow my tomatoes,
a place to rest and a place to sleep,
a place to have friends and a place to share,
a place that is friendly,
a place to tell stories a place to dream,
a place that is safe and a place called home.
Everyday Homes come in two, three and four bedroom variants (with a five-bedroom version in development). All are based on principles of “simplify, standardise and modularise” – essential qualities for efficiency and economy of building. The homes are also informed by a long list of experiential qualities, which express the simple day-to-day actions of residents, as informed by on-the-ground interviews and conversations with Northcote residents.
The homes are planned so that a single-level abuts the sunniest boundary, which allows sun and light into living areas and bedrooms. The entirety of each site is considered potential living space, so the design works from front boundary to back, with wide doors on both sides to extend the living space outside. The two-storied homes are highly rationalised and strongly rectangular for ease of construction. There are built-in overhangs, where the upper volume extends past the lower, providing shelter and shade. At the front door a small entrance area, a porch and lobby, forms a transitional threshold from wet to dry.
Inside, the lobby allows the lower floor to be closed off from the stairs for efficient heating. Upstairs, the bedrooms are positioned to the north side and the hallway provides an additional buffer zone from the cooler side of the house. In some of the designs, there is also a dedicated study nook, a homework space not in a bedroom or in a busy living area. The kitchen is a dedicated space, neatly tucked away downstairs in the back corner. Windows and doors are standard sizes, for supply chain efficiency, and the cladding dimensions are consistent to enable panelisation and pre-fabrication – the strip windows are designed as modules that can be dropped into place – and throughout ceiling heights are 2.55 metres to make the spaces feel larger.
The houses are intended to be built en masse with the design refined further over time. They contribute to street character through diversity – there are different roof types, including an ‘interrupter’ with a higher roof pitch, that create variation in forms, avoiding the monotony often found in volume housing neighbourhoods. There is also depth to the façades, provided by roof overhangs and wing walls, shelter from which also encourages use of the front porch, bringing people out to the street.