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Country Home on the Big Island, Puna, Hawaii

Program for this big island home is a small house for an individual retiree with occasional visitors. 2 bedrooms, 2 baths with studio ohana unit below main level.

Owner Requirements Include:

  • Open plan
  • Sustainable “green” design
  • Master suite on main level
  • Guest room in loft
  • Electric power, solar off grid
  • Solar water heater
  • Water catchment, filtration system
  • Outdoor water spigots in home garden utilizing unfiltered catchment water and one in lower garden reusing gray water
  • Ability to ventilate and allow a breeze through the house, no heat/AC needed
  • Low maintenance materials for aging occupants

Design Approach

In order to fit the character of local vernacular architecture and reduce maintenance costs corrugated galvanized steel was chosen for both roofing and exterior cladding on the main levels. To anchor the building in the landscape of lava fields, a grade level base of local basalt lifts up the main habitation floor up to catch available winds for cooling. This solid first level also allows a measure of protection from possible flooding flows. A single pitch roof is less expensive to build and provides greatest southern exposure for photovoltaic solar panels and solar thermal panels to accommodate the house’s energy needs. A screened lanai on the front of the home allows for beautiful views up the mountain side. A screened lanai facing the back yard allows for sleeping in the fresh air while keeping mosquitos and other varmints away. We placed the kitchen between the main interior living space and the main exterior living space, because the kitchen is the heart of the home.

Home Design Option

Exterior Perspective Rendering of Street Facade

big island home A-WtoE-Oct16-1348

Puna, Big Island Home Interior Perspective Option A

Puna, Big Island Home Interior Perspective Option A

Exterior Perspective Rendering of Street Facade

Puna, Big Island Home A-NtoSW-Oct16-1348

Exterior Perspective Rendering of Rear Facade

Puna, Big Island Home A-StoN-Oct16-1348

Main Floor Plan

Plan-1 from 20141217-Merrill-SchematicDesign