Bach to Nature

Two doctors wanted their typical New Zealand home to function as simply as it looks.
houses we love bach to nature

Bach to Nature

Two doctors wanted their typical New Zealand home to function as simply as it looks.

Project 
Great Barrier House
Architectural Designer 

When Kim Bannister and Frances McClure decided to build their own “bach” (a Kiwi phrase that refers to a beach house of modest means), they wanted to live as off the grid as possible. For a location, they had settled on a ten-acre parcel of bush on Great Barrier Island, where they had vacationed on and off since 1972. Remoteness is both the challenge and defining feature of the house: There is no electricity, water, or sewage main on the island. Their home is essentially a high-functioning cabin.

Architect Paul Clarke of Auckland-based Crosson, Clarke, Carnachan Architects oriented the structure to the sun’s path. He constructed it with natural and recycled materials and plugged in several energy-efficient components, such as a rainwater-filtration system and two roof-mounted solar panels stored in a heavily insulated cylinder to trap heat.

Which isn’t to say the residents don’t enjoy some creature comforts: A Jetmaster fireplace is fed with trees that have fallen down on the property, and much of their time is spent on outdoor terraces with up-close views of native birdlife and a lush landscape lined with puriri trees. Such rigorous green systems have allowed McClure and Bannister luxuries they didn’t know were possible: “It is an astonishingly decadent feeling lying in a bath of water pumped by electrons charged with sunlight,” says Bannister. “It’s free bliss!”

Originally published

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