Award-winning, simplicity of form: Chaney & Norman Architects

Architects Beth Chaney-Walker and Chris Norman formed a creative partnership in 2018, bringing together a mutual passion for sustainable, high performing homes.

Their NZIA registered practice of architects and architectural graduates works collaboratively, drawing on their collective experience for their designs.
One such outstanding design from Chaney & Norman Architects is the Ben Ōhau House, sited on 16 hectares in the foothills of the Ben Ōhau Mountain range near Twizel.

Set within an open landscape of big skies and big mountains, the house balances a sensitive interaction with its environment while grounding itself firmly within
the landscape.

“Simplicity of form was the desired aesthetic to create a relaxed informality with easy going functionality for a holiday lifestyle,” explains Beth Chaney-Walker.

“However, intricacy was required for the thermal performance and structural resilience to respond to the extreme climatic conditions of the Mackenzie Basin where the wind is known to get to intense speeds, heavy snowfall is common, and the summer heat is unrelenting,” she adds.

The Build Durability, resilience and thermal performance were at the forefront of this robust construction. With wind speeds often exceeding 200km/hour, a collaborative approach with the structural engineers (Engco Ltd) and the product suppliers was necessary to achieve specifically engineered design, detailing, and documentation for the structure, roofing, cladding and glazing.

SIPs panels provide structural rigidity to the extreme winds, and their high thermal performance provides a comfortable interior environment year-round.
The panels on the walls are coupled with an airtight membrane on the ceiling to create an airtight construction.

This avoids any moisture-laden air penetrating into the structure which would otherwise cause issues in this environment of temperature extremes. The result is a robust and comfortable home, despite being subject to batterings from the often harsh external environment and conditions.

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