Our team has been involved with building lots of new homes in New Zealand, and not one has been the same as another. Humans have very specific, unique tastes, and what better way to showcase them than by building a house? Those given the opportunity to build themselves a home are able to express their lifestyle choices, philosophies, preferences, style, history … it’s endless! Every building is like a painting that stays imprinted against the backdrop of the sky and landscape, and every design is loaded with clues about its owner and designer – sometimes they can be a little unusual.

Here are 3 types of unusual architecture that are gaining popularity in New Zealand and across the world.

Natural Mud House

There are four different types of natural mud-building techniques – Cob, Adobe, Rammed Earth and Wattle and Daub. Cob is the oldest and simplest technique but isn’t used much in the Western world – why, you ask? Well the mixture is a combination of soil, clay, cow dung, hay, cow urine and lime. The builder makes small balls with the mixture and makes a house of any shape or form. Doesn’t sound like fun?

Adobe is a more popular technique that is often modified to exclude dung, urine, etc. In this case, the builder makes blocks of mud and dries them in the sun to make bricks. These are then used to make walls, and are plastered with the same mud mix.

The rammed earth technique is when two planks are tied to the two sides of the wall and then mud is filled in. Once filled, it is pushed into the top by walking on it or by using a beam to ram it down.

The wattle and daub method is basically where a structure is made with bamboo and mud is daubed on.

Mud houses have great sound insulation, are fire and vermin resistant, have great breathability, and have a low environmental impact. Now you may be picturing a house that looks like it’s been moulded by kids, but in fact, mud brick houses can look very modern – you can’t even tell it’s made from mud!

Nostalgic Wooden Bach

The traditional wooden bach by the beach is timeless. Baches are best when they work with the natural landscape surrounding them, so it’s wise to spend some time observing before building. Built with timber using classic building methods, a bach must also be extremely weather resistant as it will be facing a lot of win, rain and the corrosive effects of the sea.

Baches are a very Kiwi thing. A bach or a holiday home became popular after World War ll, as better roads made remote places more accessible and people began building beautiful places up and down the country. Originally, a bach was something you built yourself, on land you didn’t own with borrowed or stolen materials. Now, a bach is a symbol of luxury.

Contemporary Concrete Residence

Concrete has been used in construction for over 5000 years. It is the most used man-made material in the world, with twice as much concrete being used around the world than the total of all other building materials, including wood, steel, plastic and aluminium. Concrete is fire resistant, energy efficient, strong and able to withstand earthquakes and floods. It also requires lower maintenance, and is faster to build with. It’s versatile too, and can be used for a brand new build or small house extensions.


Talk to us about putting together a team of custom home builders and let us help you build your dream home. And be sure to download our e-book, 12 Ways to Avoid Expensive Mistakes When Building a New Home.

© 2017 Smartway Builders