What began as a one-off undergraduate design project in 2009 now takes a step closer towards becoming a reality for dozens of Kiwi families looking to make a change. The partnership between First Light Studio and Genius Homes signals the evolution of the prefabricated home industry, and a step change that New Zealand is all too ready for.
Back in 2009 4 Victoria University students entered a competition run by the U.S. Department of Energy known as the Solar Decathlon. The brief was to design and build solar-powered houses, get the house to Washington DC and compete in 10 contests across a 10 day event.
Based on the classic Kiwi bach the First Light team designed a compact, one bedroom, 70 sqm home. The house was designed to be flexible and functional, able to be transformed to suite an ever-changing lifestyle.
Design complete, and prototype built the house was packed down into two containers and shipped to Washington DC (via a short stop in Wellington).
Once stateside the house was re-assembled in 6 and a half days on Washington DC's National Mall. The competition, thought grueling, was ultimately a success. The First Light team placed first in Engineering, joint first in Hot Water and Energy Balance, second in Architecture, third in Market Appeal and third in the overall Solar Decathlon challenge. Against 18 teams from across the world, this was quite an achievement.
The Meridian traveled back to New Zealand and settled to loving new owners in Waimarama in the Hawkes Bay. But the environmentally friendly dream for prefabricated homes was far from over.
First Light evolved into one of New Zealand's leading design studios. Delivering stunning homes that can flex with the rhythms of life the designs are environmentally focused while maintaining practicality and a view to adapting with the family that calls their designs home.
It wasn't until the arrival of leading prefabricated homes manufacturer, Genius Homes, that the First Light dream could really take flight.
Working with a partner with a South Island-based production facility, access to home building know-how and a shared vision of creating affordable, environmentally sustainable prefab homes the partnership has taken hold with the release of the first home available under the Genius First Light brand.
Flexible, affordable and eco-friendly prefabricated homes the Genius First Light partnership has delivered a designer prefab home suitable for the first home buyer, holiday home or those looking to downsize without compromising.
The styling pays homage to the rugged outdoors of the alpine ranges of the New Zealand South Island. Natural materials, and natural tones are all part of the choices available to anyone looking to make a statement of their lifestyle.
And the good news is this is just the beginning.