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Thorne Group


Designing multiple spaces for NZ conditions

As sub divisional land becomes scarcer, section sizes decrease to allow for more homes - a function of medium density and reducing ‘Urban Sprawl’. The reduction in section size has a huge bearing on how we design. But a small section doesn’t mean that there needs to be compromise when it comes down to design and how we live. If we adhere to the same architectural fundamentals as with any new home design, whether it be a 150sqm or a 300sqm floor area, the design response will still be ‘custom made’ for that site.

How we live generally is the same regardless on house size, therefore with compact designs, such as two bedroom homes, the spaces need to be designed carefully and provide multiple use spaces. A good example of a multiple use space is a covered outdoor area. Sometimes referred to as outdoor rooms or Alfresco areas, they are so ubiquitous with the New Zealand lifestyle that they are now being treated the same way as any other room in the house in terms of architecture and landscape design. These spaces are treated as extensions to the home, with some going as far as incorporating outdoor kitchens into the brief (or at least making a designated place for the classic Kiwi barbeque).

These outdoor areas can incorporate a number of clever design options, such as opening louvre roofs and sliding screens to enhance the space further to make an extremely versatile and seamless extension of the home. Creating outdoor spaces is incredibly important to the overall design of the home. It enables people to have multiple options depending on environmental conditions at the precise time you feel like spending time outdoors. Wind direction, wind strength, cloud cover and the temperature are all factors that you will take in within a fraction of a second, and they will determine the most comfortable position.

Modern home design should give you these options, that’s why it always good to have more than one outdoor ‘zone’ as well as an extension to the roof to allow additional shading if required. People have the misconception to have multiple outdoor ‘zones’ you need to have a large home. Clearly, with larger homes, it is much easier to create these various options. However, even with small homes, l always try to incorporate more than one outdoor area if possible, as well as a covered outdoor area. This really does allow for so much more flexibility in the way you live.

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