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Solar Decathlon 2011

New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington

Even before it was reassembled at West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., Victoria University of Wellington’s entry in the U.S. Department of Solar Decathlon 2011, First Light, had been sold at auction. However, the buyer’s plans changed, and the house was offered for sale again. First Light was sold to another private buyer, who settled it at a stunning location in the seaside village of Waimarama, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

First Light was inspired by the traditional New Zealand holiday home, the “Kiwi bach,” and it won third place overall in Solar Decathlon 2011. It placed first in the Engineering Contest and second in the Architecture Contest. It was also featured in Air New Zealand’s inflight magazine, Kia Ora, in March 2013.

Several members of the New Zealand Solar Decathlon 2011 student team went on to form an architecture firm named First Light Studio. The firm offers the First Light concept in affordable, prefab versions, which combine the traditional bach design with high-performance engineering.

Photo of First Light on hill. Enlarge image

First Light is now perched on a hill above Waimarama Beach and has a view of Hawkes Bay looking toward Bare Island. (Courtesy of First Light Studios)

Who: Victoria University of Wellington
What: First Light
Where:
Waimarama
Hawkes Bay
New Zealand
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Public tours: Not available