Hero photograph
Blueskin Bay exhibition of climate safe house designs
Photo by Tobias Danielmeier

Climate safe housing

Lesley Brook —

Design students are contributing climate safe house designs for consideration by the community.

New Zealand has significant areas of low-lying coastal land which include housing - like South Dunedin. These areas are at risk of inundation if sea levels rise as forecast. The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust is initiating community discussion about the need for climate safe housing. They asked our architectural design students for concept plans for houses that would meet the following criteria:

• healthy to live in;

• affordable;

• transportable, so you can move with it if you had to;

• modular, so it can grow with your family, and;

• energy efficient.

Scott Willis, Chairman of the Trust, says: "I’ve been excited by some stimulating preliminary house designs completed by a group of Otago Polytechnic students under the guidance of lecturers Tobias Danielmeier, Colleen Fay and Chris Fersterer." The students' eight designs were publicly displayed in the Blueskin Bay Gallery in February. About 45 people attended the exhibition opening.  The Trust reported that "Over the two weeks of the exhibition in place, the Gallery was busy, and we received a good number of responses on the designs, as well as interest in the tiny/small house concept that is just as applicable in zones that are not at flood risk."

An online survey allowed members of the public to contribute to the discussion about climate safe housing, by showing what people's concerns and priorities are.