Black Door house

Christchurch, New Zealand / MC Architecture Studio Ltd


The Black Door House stands as an object of art overlooking the ocean. 

Curves and geometric articulation are used to express the surrounding hills and coastline, whilst the organic layout provides different levels of exposure and shelter from the harsh sun and strong winds. Each space has been designed specifically to capture the different views from varying heights. This is to create ever changing perspectives and make the most of the building’s unique location.

This house strives to be anything but conventional; from its asymmetrical forms to its construction methods. Wall and roof elements are predominantly constructed from prefabricated Structurally Insulated Panels (SIP) for their inherent advantages over standard timber framed construction. The SIP’s thermal performance is greatly enhanced due to the reduction of thermal bridging. The house therefore achieves comfortable living temperatures with minimal energy input. The prefabrication process saves time on-site as it provides greater dimensional accuracy and simplifies the assembly process. 

The brief called for quality construction materials and an energy efficient design. The majority of the ground floor is polished concrete providing thermal mass which absorbs the heat of the sun in the winter and stores the cool temperature in the summer. Carefully considered orientation and the direction of openings allows for optimum natural ventilation. An airtight building envelope, good insulation and thermal mass were fundamental to providing a healthier and more comfortable home for the occupants.

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