Mahana house Kitchen Stairs 1

Mahana House


Francesco Sarti / PTL Structural & Fire

2. Residential design award for multi-unit residential buildings (up to 3 levels)

Mahana House Glovers Rd is a duplex community housing development built for the Otautahi Community Housing Trust to help families experiencing acute housing needs. Its six low carbon New Zealand Green Building Council Homestar 7 homes are designed to be environmentally and financially sustainable and to maximise the space available while giving families room to grow and play. Meaning “Warmth”, Mahana is an innovative home concept designed by Naylor Love in collaboration with renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, design studio Isthmus and PTL structural engineers.

The Trust sought a resource and time-efficient response to pressing community housing demand which made a timber-based solution the obvious choice. Mahana House Glovers Rd delivers the best in cost-effective, modern design and innovations to further the Trust’s work to raise the standard for tenant-focused community housing design and application in Christchurch.

Designed for low-maintenance and long-life, Mahana homes incorporate robust, cost-effective, 
modern materials. Gib was replaced with resilient, high-pressure laminate on pre-constructed light timber framed wall panels.

Cross laminated timber midfloors were used and left exposed creating a durable wearing surface while providing the coziness only possible through the use of timber. The CLT midfloors lead to efficient construction, with rapid assembly, high precision building elements requiring fewer trades and less build time without compromising on quality. The use of CLT was also extended to the stairs in the units which created a cost-effective feature in the homes.

Wide sawn timber beams were used to support a prefabricated sandwich panel roof. These exposed timber beams (typically covered up in residential construction) further added to the warmth of the first floor bedrooms offsetting what could have otherwise felt like a cold space due to the industrial look of the roofing panel.

The prefabricated timber intertenancy walls provided effective separation of the units. By stopping the CLT floors between the units noise levels between units were minimized, ensuring comfort for the occupants.

The primary purpose when designing Mahana was to provide an appropriate space for people to live well. The Mahana home design is consistent with Maori values-led sustainable architecture. There is a focus on connectedness, integration, and fluid and open spaces. Mahana also fits well with the Tapu / Noa planning matrix in terms of cultural appropriateness.

As a final advantage, the design features sustainable construction and simple geometry matched with superior performance. Mahana homes are great for the planet with their low carbon footprint. Extensive use of timber sequesters carbon and high R-values result in low-operational carbon.

Utilising robust, low-maintenance predominantly timber-based materials and building to exceed current building and thermal efficiency standards means Mahana homes will be cheaper to maintain, with an enduringly low carbon footprint.