De­sign note­book

HOME Magazine NZ - - Design Notebook - Q&A with Mitchell Coll of Coll Ar­chi­tec­ture

As a cham­pion of sus­tain­able de­sign, what as­pect of the home are you most proud of and why? I be­lieve build­ing small trumps all other sus­tain­able fea­tures. I don’t be­lieve adding any­thing ex­tra to a build­ing can be called sus­tain­able, even if it’s a sus­tain­ably sourced prod­uct. The most sus­tain­able thing we can do is not build at all. We then need to work our way up from do­ing noth­ing to a point where we feel com­fort­able to live. This house has ev­ery­thing we need in terms of space; it’s also easy to heat, clean, and main­tain. I will con­cede that we could have re­duced ma­te­ri­als fur­ther to have less im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, but com­fort and aes­thet­ics play an im­por­tant part in ex­tend­ing the life of a build­ing. Does the foot­print on the small pocket of land mean you had to re­solve more tech­ni­cal is­sues than you would nor­mally? Not re­ally, though the land came with its own tech­ni­cal chal­lenges. The ground was very soft and peaty and it will set­tle over time. It’s also an area that had a lot of back­fill­ing done over the 160 or so years of hu­man use. Those things, and our own re­quire­ment of be­ing able to move the build­ing, meant we needed a cus­tom-foun­da­tion so­lu­tion that would solve a num­ber of is­sues at once. The small land area re­ally just meant we needed to take plenty of time in over­all de­vel­op­ment plan­ning and space ef­fi­ciency of the build, but this is some­thing I think is im­por­tant to do on all projects. Why did you opt for a pe­tite house over util­is­ing the land for a larger dwelling? Whether it was us liv­ing here, or some­one else, we wanted to build a qual­ity de­vel­op­ment that would last a long time and be com­fort­able for all oc­cu­pants. Build­ing smaller al­lows us to do this in a more fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able way. To build a big house or a lower-den­sity de­vel­op­ment would force us to cut cor­ners with qual­ity, re­duc­ing the life span of the build­ing and risk wast­ing re­sources. How well does the rental sit­u­a­tion work in such close con­fines? We spent a lot of time con­sid­er­ing how the site would be laid out to give full pri­vacy be­tween all oc­cu­pants. We’ve laid the site out so you re­ally don’t feel you are liv­ing in an at­tached unit. We also used qual­ity prod­ucts and good de­tail­ing for the acous­tics on the in­ter-ten­ancy wall to en­sure no noise is trans­mit­ted be­tween units.

1. Din­ing 2. Kitchen 3. Liv­ing 4. Bed­room 5. Bath­room 6. Shower 7. WC

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