Building Half a Good House with Stellaria

After months of planning, NZ's first e4 home — designed to more than double in size with minimum cost — is being built in New Plymouth.

With New Zealand facing three major issues in housing — leaking homes, affordability and availability — Stellaria has been inspired by Wienerberger's global approach to meeting housing demands and has tailored its very own e4 house for the NZ market. After months of planning, the first e4 home in New Zealand is being built in New Plymouth.

The home is simple, fast and energy-efficient. Constructed in Porotherm Clay blocks, it is designed to more than double in size with minimum cost when the family grows or when adding an extension becomes more affordable. In the meantime, there is plenty of available storage area. The potential to expand within the superstructure provides an attractive 'future-proofed' home.

Stellaria has most recently been inspired by Chilean Architect, Alejandro Aravena who won the 2016 Pritzker Prize by releasing his designs as an open-source resource to help tackle the global affordable housing crisis. Alejandro has championed an approach he describes as 'incremental' in which governments fund construction of 'half a good house' with residents completing the other portion as resources allow.

It is Stellaria's belief that all New Zealanders should have access to high quality homes that are warm, dry, safe and 100% natural. On average, the e4 Blockhouse will save homeowners between $3-5k per year on energy and maintenance while providing the home with 100% pure indoor air quality, free from out-gassing and formaldehydes.

Homeowners will be able to build 'half a good house' first, enjoying a 106m² family home with a 2,750m stud height. The home will feature UPVC coloured joinery (R-value 1.6) manufactured in Austria, and solid lime plastered walls. When the homeowners decide to increase the floor plan, they will be able to achieve a total of 208m² of liveable space within the superstructure. As the superstructure with mid-span floor is already built — pre-wired and pre-plumbed — the cost of this extension is considerably lower than that of extending a traditional timber framed home (depending on the fit-out).

For the same price as a 140mm timber frame home with brick veneer cladding, the e4 Blockhouse is a far superior, high-performing home that will last forever. Add to that the near-zero running and maintenance costs, and this is an ideal building solution.