A house with a circular living room and energy efficiency technology rooted in centuries-old ideas

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The house was built in 2004 according to the principles of passive energy.

Darren Clayworth/North Shore Real Estate Photography

The house was built in 2004 according to the principles of passive energy.

This Bethells Beach home, on the market for the first time, boasts sea, estuary and bush views – and a unique design inspired by Roman architecture.

The owner of the property at 9 Kokako Grove in Auckland’s Waitakere City suburb designed it himself, consulting an engineer to ensure it was up to scratch, before the house was built of three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 2003.

Now Philip Solaris, whose company X-craft designs unmanned robotic air and sea craft, as well as submarines, sell the house he and his wife raised their three children (now teenagers) to be closer to his work on the east coast.

Owner Philip Solaris says he designed the circular room to be structurally sound;  it is fully supported by a horizontal connecting beam.

Darren Clayworth/Real Estate Photography

Owner Philip Solaris says he designed the circular room to be structurally sound; it is fully supported by a horizontal connecting beam.

The house is designed around a central circular room, which Solaris says draws inspiration from Roman and Greek architecture.

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He says that at that time passive principles were necessarily used in construction – maximizing insulation through elements such as orientation to the sun, walls with thermal mass, passive air vents and overhangs. designed to optimize solar gain in summer and winter.

The circular piece in the middle is “fully supported by the connecting beam that surrounds it,” he says.

“The whole roof is pushing on that ledge.”

The house overlooks Bethells Beach and also has bush views.

Darren Clayworth/Real Estate Photography

The house overlooks Bethells Beach and also has bush views.

Solaris says it has other features, including a slab that is a “floating thermal mass,” resting only on a thin layer of polystyrene.

The house has 18 solar panels that feed into the grid.

During the summer we run at a very, very low cost to the house. Unless the sun falls from the sky, everything is fine,” says Solaris.

The cupboards and the bench of the island adopt the (semi-)circular theme.

Darren Clayworth/North Shore Real Estate Photography

The cupboards and the bench of the island adopt the (semi-)circular theme.

He says the fireplace insert is “beautiful, but you wouldn’t use it more than a dozen times a year – it’s too hot”.

Solaris says he’s had a lot of interest in the house over the years from builders and architects.

He was sad to sell the house, but had rented it for two years to be near his work and intended to rebuild on land in Rodney.

The house at 9 Kokako Grove in Bethells Beach has been owned by the same family since it was built in 2004.

Darren Clayworth/North Shore Real Estate Photography

The house at 9 Kokako Grove in Bethells Beach has been owned by the same family since it was built in 2004.

“My children grew up in Bethells. My wife and I got married there on the lawn.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking for us, but on the other hand, I’m dedicated to what I do and I have to be there for someone else to benefit.”

The property advert describes a “quality solid masonry house with superb high colombage, circular living space, woodwork and wooden floors”.

The house has two bathrooms and three bedrooms.

Darren Clayworth/Real Estate Photography

The house has two bathrooms and three bedrooms.

“The property offers considerable opportunity for further development, providing a potential minor housing site on another private part of the property with north-facing views over the stunning Te Henga Wetlands.”

The 1.36 hectare property has established organic vegetable gardens and an orchard which includes olive, plum, pear, apple, feijoa, fig and mandarin trees.

Other features include a cedar hot tub, internal double garage, bedroom and stainless steel water collection system and tank.

The built-in fireplace is not often used because the house is passively heated.

Darren Clayworth

The built-in fireplace is not often used because the house is passively heated.

Solaris said he and his wife were selling it privately because they wanted to sell it to someone who would love it like they did.

“We will take into account how much they are connected to it, how much they like it, rather than selling it for an investment. This way we stay true to what we do – it’s not just about the money.

The house is for sale before the deadline of February 9, if it is not sold before.

Flat land and a bush setting will appeal to many.

Darren Clayworth/Real Estate Photography

Flat land and a bush setting will appeal to many.

More than one gardener has left his mark on this nearly 150-year-old property.

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