The Hangar

The Hangar add

Jason Higham of Higham Architecture has boldly gone where no designer has gone before in the outlying Christchurch suburb of West Melton.

Fondly nicknamed 'the hangar' by locals, and one of his latest completed designs, Jason laughs when queried how the design has gone down with the neighbours.

'Pretty well really. It has the blessing of the subdivision owners. As it went up it would've been an eye-opener, but the site is a bit larger and because of its orientation - it isn't actually imposing on anyone - if anything it angles away from the neighbours.'

Clever placement on the site also ensures the best sun and views and that the home is set well back from the street. The public face of the home is playfully punctuated by a few slender windows, leaving its minimalist forms and claddings to stand proud. Sleek black steel in wide tray format contrasts against white plaster, while the cedar weatherboards add warmth to the overall aesthetic.

Ready for a change, the home owners were looking to transition from a busy urban life to a more relaxed setting. And this home is planned to be their last.

'They wanted something quirky and unique and as you can see they gave me a fairly open brief,' Jason says. 'One requirement they did have was regarding some artwork they really loved. The Sophia Minson piece in the hallway is where we picked the colours for the front door and kitchen.'

The main form of the home pays homage to the iconic kiwi farm shed - simple strong angular lines and enduring low maintenance metal cladding.

'You would never guess it now, but there used to be farmland all around here - context is important and we thought maybe we could incorporate this aspect into the design,' Jason says.

However, as the owners and Jason have discovered, inspiration behind the design is a lively topic for discussion.

'There have been a lot of comments' says Jason, 'for example, the roofing rep said it reminded him of one of the Star Wars vehicles - a Sandcrawler - which I quite like because I’m a bit of a fan of Star Wars.'

While not quite fortified against attacks from other worlds - the home is future focused.
Thermal mass from polished concrete floors throughout the main part of the home takes advantage of solar gains. Hidden above the single level bedroom wing are photo-voltaic laminate panels, laid in wide tray roofing, which feed energy to the home.

Another benefit - with the future in mind - is a maximum 5-star Lifemark design standard certification. Lifemark awards points based on how adaptable, safe and usable a home is and this home has all requirements in place to suit the owners' needs as they change.

'I think that's particularly important', says Jason, 'that a home is not only beautiful, but that it is designed with safety, usability and adaptability in mind.'

For more information on Jason visit

Photography by Stephen Goodenough