Creating with a conscience

Creating with a conscience add

Sustainability is a concept that has captured the world's attention and imagination and passionate debate is significant amongst its devoted global following. Adam Taylor Architecture (ATA) proudly lends its voice and vocation to the cause, but never exploits the popularity of the sustainability phenomenon.

"Our personal and professional moral compass points directly to sustainability. Our interpretation of the word is that everything we do is done with a conscience and with a purpose. It is a word that gets thrown around a lot so we don't often use it," co-owner Jamee Taylor says.

Moreover, the intersection of science, strategy and impeccable standards at Adam Taylor Architecture, which has given rise to an ambitious generation of sustainable living, is testament to the firm's genuine commitment to doing justice to this important movement.

Two current projects speak volumes. Each have their critical foundations in place - specifically the orientation and thermal envelopes. "If you don't get those right, you can't fix them retrospectively," Jamee explains.

"Both homes, through different methods, have hugely improved thermal envelopes - over what's standard - and have had significant thought given to orientation for winter warmth and summer shade.

"Placement of glazing is also crucial. The key thing to remember is that not all sustainability methodologies, products and materials are expensive. Some just require thought, science and precise application."

In Sumner, Christchurch, a stunning home embracing key sustainability principles was brought to life from ATA's Mt Maunganui location using innovation that enabled the project partners to overcome the distance between them and the client.

"Through the use of drones and other technologies, the Sumner home was designed from our studio. The whole structure utilises the latest construction methodology including XLam floor panels which is cross-laminated timber, commonly seen in Europe. The floor went down in three hours.

"Technology like this makes construction super quick and there is zero waste. Smart fit joinery; 140mm framing - which is thicker than standard so allows for more insulation; maximum insulation in walls and ceiling; and a complete thermally-broken envelope - unique to New Zealand - make this home a poster child for performance housing."

Built on a geo-technically complex sloping site requiring a bespoke engineered steel sub-floor, the home's positioning creates the impression that it is floating on the hill. It marries the best of both worlds - shelter and scenery. "It is designed to soak up the insane sea views yet is tucked into the hill to shelter from the prevailing weather."

The aesthetic harnesses the best of New Zealand's materials - local larch weatherboard is balanced with over-batten plywood giving a pared back, simple form and aesthetic. Lightness and softness is created through the introduction of texture, tone and spatial volumes.

Further north, in Tauranga, sustainable design is realised through a beautiful home hugged by the Oropi hills. Orientated perfectly North, the property is protected from the weather and enjoys unparalleled views of Mount Maunganui. "Clients with a conscience made the design of this high performance home a dream for us.

"This is stage one of a three stage master plan for the site. Stages two and three will take place over the next 5-10 years with the addition of outdoor living, garaging and a separate living space."

From the bottom, a completely thermally broken 'power-float' concrete slab is used for maximum solar gain and efficiency. Double-insulated concrete form (ICF) thermally broken walls; LED lights; rainwater harvesting; and Low E Max double glazing are all included. "But wait, there's more! It's also good to go for solar as soon as the clients are ready."

To keep an eye on the progress of these properties and to explore ATA's extensive portfolio, visit