Preston Starter Home, Otara, Auckland


Competition winner of NZ Department of Building and Housing ‘Starter Home Design Competition’ – a demonstration project showing good quality, sustainable, cost efficient construction.

Project Summary


S3 Architects was the overall winner of the ‘Starter Home Design Competition’ run by the New Zealand Department of Building and Housing (DBH). The competition brief was to design an affordable home with a habitable floor area of 120m² a cost of no more than $1,400 per square metre, and the design was to be repeated in a variety of configurations over 160 homes

The winning house design was built as a demonstration project – and the cost to build one house ranges from $1,600 - $1,700 per square metre depending on various specifications and materials. 

The house was built by the Housing New Zealand Corporation in Preston Road, Otara, Auckland to demonstrate that innovative design can result in good quality, energy efficient, affordable housing. 

The scheme explores ways in which existing, low cost, familiar construction methods and materials can be reconfigured to produce a better spatial and environmental experience without increasing costs. Improvements in affordability were possible by exploring new innovative technologies. 

The competition brief asked for a house plan that can easily be adapted to work on a range of orientations, is expandable, and can have a garage or carport added to the building. This case study plan is for a west approach but works equally well when mirrored on a north – south axis. 

This home achieves an excellent rating using the Green Home Scheme. Without optional environmentally sustainable design (ESD) features this house achieves 5 star HERS rating of 95MJ/sqm pa Auckland. (172MJ/sqm pa Wellington and 296 MJ/sqm pa Christchurch).​