Imperative 07 - Civilized Environment
Imperative 08 - Healthy Interior
Imperative 09 - Biophilic Environment

Owners' Intent  To create a living building that, like Nature, restores life, wastes nothing, generates happiness and re-energizes the spirit.

Goal Tanglewood provides occupants and visitors, spaces and experiences designed to nurture optimum health and happiness.

The TetraMapped process to achieve the goal

Earth Materials choice re: impact on health, happiness and aesthetics.

Air Attention to supplier/systems re: ventilation, thermal coordination and lighting.

Water Views, filtered water, rain water capture, art - all highlight water's life-giving qualities.

Fire Internal layout and external landscaping focuses on the design and build of a Living-Building that nourishes the soul and optimises health.

“Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?” 
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

"Living-Builldings" do not tolerate... they open hearts and minds to regenerative, sustainable and healthy futures.


Story Specifics

Tanglewood, like Nature will breathe freely in an environment that is fresh, cool in summer, warm in winter, and welcoming.  North-facing to neighbouring islands, large double glazed Low E, thermally broken aluminium windows ensure ample natural light, heat retention and reduced glare.  South-facing windows with Low E and Argon filled double glazing for better thermal insulation provide cross ventilation.

Lighting has been carefully designed to minimize energy usage, create a comfortable, natural ambience and to maximise eye comfort for work and reading areas. Strategies for Climate Disruption included attention to increased temperatures, including light-coloured roofing. However, a muted "lichen" colour not only reduced glare for neighbours, but blended the structure into the bay beyond.

The entrance with matching outdoor/indoor flooring will spill onto recycled native timber flooring. A stair wall will reflect a view of Rangitoto Island to be crafted by artist, Trish Clark, from recycled copper roofing from Tanglewood 1. The copper will also been beautifully designed to feature in furniture and sculptures indoors and out.  Terry Neale, artist and furniture maker is crafting a 3.6m bar from salvaged rimu timber with handrails made from guava trees from the original site.  Much of the ceiling will be lined with recycled native timber from Tanglewood1 with the deck lined with a small herb and vegetable garden.

The curving drive, complete with pedestrian pathways for neighbours, leads to Tanglewood's small front porch. Entering Tanglewood will be like a beach walk…with clean feet. Be it raining or sunshine, the view opens to the sea and to our neighbouring islands, Motuihe, Rangitoto, Mototapu and Waiheke.


Tanglewood’s biophilic development was a major focus in the early stages of design. After a year+ of negotiations to sub-divide the property and 4 architects later (an interesting journey in itself), the team of builders, solar consultants, etc. formed. 2 weeks before the planned Biophilia Workshop, an architectural designer extraordinaire (who Yoshimi happened to work with in 1990 at Greenpeace NZ), prepared the drawings and the event went ahead.

It’s important to the development of a biophilic framework and plan that a range of stakeholders are engaged in the Project and understand what biophilia means.  The invited included the Project Team of 12, plus immediate neighbours and our local Maori (indigenous people of Aotearoa) friends. Big picture, the workshop set a strong foundation for meaning and collaboration.

To be true to Project values and aspirations, it became imperative – often challenging – to ‘stick to agreed principles’.  The key lessons are around the owners responsibilities to remind often and model values. The biophilic framework and plan integrate Nature with structure. Tanglewood plays with space, light, natural shapes and patterns, indoors and out with intent to give evidence that Nature offers us every opportunity to work in harmony with her. We can enjoy and nourish each other.

More about our Biophilia Workshop =>

Next: ENERGY Petal