Design: Brief

The design stage is now closed. This is the process that participants followed to become part of Whole House Reuse:

Design brief

By embarking on the design and making process of Whole House Reuse, you are signing yourself up as a storyteller of this home’s history and future, a proponent for the cause of reuse. When you receive the materials to make your work, you become one of the guardians of the home. We hope you’ll join us in revealing the beauty and function inherent within the material of this cherished home.

It is a monumental task to undertake the transformation of an entire house. We know the reuse of these materials is not an easy thing. They are not predictable like the fresh, straight, un-punctured timber at the hardware store, they are not all obviously functional like a new light bulb straight from the box. To justify the hard work and creativity demanded of participants in this project, we are required to occupy the mindset that there is not actually an endless stream of new resources to be consumed, to imagine every last piece of this house being crucial in some way – and for this project it is.



1.     Key Dates
3.     Design: 
3a. Design considerations
3b. Responsibilities of participants
3c. Selection process
3d. Communication / Storage site visits
3e. Local resource access list
3f.  Materials
3g. Special materials
i.     Introduced materials
ii.     Notable materials for dedicated works
iii.     Borer
4.     Submissions:
4a. Design submission form
4b. Rounds 1 & 2
4c. Creative workshops
5.     Reuse: Making of Works:
5a. Materials preparation
6.     Outcome of Works:
6a. Community recipient
6b. Exhibition
6c. After the exhibition
6d. Auction



Purpose of Whole House Reuse

Waste generated through demolition is by no means a new issue in New Zealand, but the scale of waste occurring in Christchurch is hard to ignore. Whole House Reuse seeks to expose the scale, value, legacy and potential use of the materials that comprise just one home that would otherwise have been disposed of entirely.

For the participants this project offers the opportunity to pay homage to the many lost homes, a reason to explore and innovate with the wealth of resources that are currently being treated as waste, and play a part in the move to channel these materials away from landfill. The resulting works will gain exposure through the exhibitions, an auction and other sources of media interest.



1. Key Dates

For the Design stage:

Design stage launch/registration opens                                        30 January 2014
Design Round 1 designs due                                                         4 April 2014
Result notification from Design Round 1                                       16 April 2014
Round 1 materials dispersal                                                           18 April – 5 May 2014
Design Round 2 designs due                                                          23 June 2014
Result notification for Design Round 2                                          7 July 2014
Round 2 materials dispersal                                                           8 – 25 July 2014
Round 1 finished works due                                                           16 July 2014
Round 2 finished works due                                                           13 October 2014

For the Reuse stage:

Workshops – design Leftovers series                                           From July 2014 onwards
Workshops – works Off-cuts series                                              From September 2014 onwards
Exhibition                                                                                       March 2015 onwards (provisional)
Auction                                                                                          April 2015 (provisional)


2. Registration

In order to enter the Design stage of Whole House Reuse, you must register with the project. Registration happens on the Whole House Reuse website. At the time of registration you will receive a registration number that should be included on all correspondence and design submissions to allow for easy identification.

The cost for registration is as follows:

  1. Registration: $20 and includes a digital copy of the catalogue of resources.
  2. Registration with printed book and digital catalogue:  $48 ($53 with nationwide shipping) and includes the ‘Whole House Reuse: Deconstruction’ printed book and a digital copy of the catalogue of resources.

Designs may be submitted as individuals or as groups. Initial registration requires only one participant’s details to be included, but if a team is formed after registration please advise by email of additional team members.

Participants may enter more than one design and use the same registration number.

Once you have registered, project updates will be sent via email to advise on any news or developments with the Design stage.



3. Design

3a. Design considerations

The only requirement that is placed on works is that they must in some way have a purpose or use.

The following list are not requirements for works to comply with, but rather they give an indication of the points that will be weighed up when a work is assessed, they are things to think about when developing ideas. If a work is not accepted in the first submission round, notes will be sent on areas that the work could consider to bring into greater alignment with the brief. Please note we don’t expect any one work could fulfil all of these considerations, and some considerations even negate each other, so you can define your parameters regarding:

i.   percentage of new material or other reclaimed material added to the work (please see materials section for guidelines on adding other materials)

ii.     innovation

iii.    reverence and truth to material(s) / elevating and highlighting the inherent beauty of materials

iv.    longevity, durability and a sense of stewardship regarding the future of the work

v.     feasibility of design concept and ability of the participant to actually make it, or have it made

vi.    intended use or recipient of object e.g. a community recipient (see section 6. Outcome of works)

vii.   cost of making and relative saleability in auction at the end

viii.  social or environmental role of the work

ix.    reproducibility / marketable nature of product

x.     uniqueness

xi.    utility

xii.   respect to the house as a home

xiii.  logistics regarding safe transport, durability and management of the cost of this for materials and the finished work.


3b. Responsibilities of participants

i.      It is essential within your design that you include detailed information about the costs inherent in making (i.e. labour and other costs) and transporting the materials and finished work. It is also essential that you demonstrate you’re willing to initially cover these costs prior to potentially recouping them through the auction if relevant, please see section 6 below for details.

ii.     You are responsible for the security and safety of the materials and finished work whilst they are in your possession and during shipping.

iii.    Successful designs are taken as a commitment on the part of the participant.


3c. Selection process

The submissions will be considered by an interdisciplinary panel with experience in art, design, architecture, construction & demolition, sustainability and waste minimisation. Designs will be selected in relation to the above considerations and the designs chosen as most successful will receive the materials specified within the design.


3d. Communication / Storage site visits

If you have questions about certain materials you can either:

i.      come to a Storage site visit (in Christchurch) where you will be able to view the materials that you want to know about. Dates of these visits will be advised by email.

ii.    email with your questions to


3e. Local resource access list

In order to trial your designs you may find you want to source equivalent materials in your local region. Links to useful online resources regarding access these materials will be emailed to all participants.

All works will be made from selected materials from the catalogue of resources, except for the introduced criteria below. All measurements in the catalogue should be assumed to be approximate.

It is appropriate to apply for a small amount of extra material in case of breakage. You will need to justify the amount requested as to the likelihood of this issue occurring. Materials are uncleaned, not de-nailed, etc.


3g. Special materials

i.      Introduced materials

Some works may require introduced materials other than those found in the catalogue of resources such as for fixing/bonding/joining. In such cases, we expect that another reclaimed material be utilised wherever possible, and new materials only when deemed necessary. If the work is of a particularly innovative nature, we will consider a higher threshold of introduced material. The guideline we are suggesting for maximum amounts of introduced materials is as follows:

Introduced reclaimed materials: maximum 15% of volume of work

Introduced new materials: maximum 5% of volume of work.


ii.    Notable materials for dedicated works

We have asked the homeowners to identify an item that is significant to them, this includes:

-      The ladder for Luke Buxton, he will reuse himself, Catalogue reference #130

-      Something made from any of these parts of the ‘baby’s’ room for Charlotte Buxton, Catalogue ref. #211 #134 #147 #027 #210 #108 #112  #551 #552 #553 #554

-     Something made from/with the house key for Caspian Buxton, age 8, Catalogue ref. #222

-     Something made from the leadlight door for Ruth and David Russell, Catalogue ref. #032

-     Something made from any other aspect of the home for Joel Buxton, age 6, Catalogue ref. any #


iii.    Borer

#600 Borered timber will need to be dealt with separately to avoid contamination, (or borer could treated) and we will need to show the outcomes of the reuse of this material indirectly e.g. through film or photography. Some of this material has already gone into reuse as edging for raised beds.



4. Submissions

4a. Design submission form

This form will be sent by email to all participants after registration. There will be an updated submission form for Round 2.


4b. Rounds 1 & 2

There will be two rounds of submissions for designs. After Round 1 of submissions, works selected by the panel will be announced. Feedback will be given to participants whose works missed selection, to allow them to reformulate designs for Round 2. If you have not submitted a design in Round 1, you are welcome to submit into the Round 2.

When Round 2 begins a revised materials list will be sent out to all applicants.


4c. Creative workshops

Following Round 2 selection, there will be a series of creative workshops with the aim of giving people a chance to explore possibilities for the un-allocated materials (the leftovers). More details regarding these exciting collaborative opportunities will be emailed out in due course.



5. Reuse: Making of Works

Other than the facilitated creative workshops above, the workspace where the work is made is the participant’s responsibility. Please communicate any difficulties finding access to space or making resources as we may be able to point you at something.

It is expected that utmost care will be taken with materials, but we do understand the nature of these materials to be fragile and unpredictable. We understand that adjustments to designs will in many instances happen through the making process. In the case that you require more material to replace broken or unsuitable pieces, please contact us and we will endeavour to find replacements if available. If not, it is the responsibility of the entrant to reformulate the design to work with the materials.

The works should be made in the timeframe allocated, and returned by the due date along with all off-cuts created from the making process. You are required to keep all off-cuts and unused material to be returned with the work.

If you anticipate that the making period for your work will be longer than the allocated time, please specify and justify this in your application.


5a. Materials preparation

Participants are responsible for any preparation required for their selected materials, including de-nailing of timber, cleaning and so on. There are also materials that could contain hazardous material. Any paint should be tested, or assumed to contain lead. Any extraneous materials must be returned to the project.



6. Outcome of Works

6a. Community recipient

Works may be designed for a specific community use (e.g. for a community group or centre, school or similar). Participants have the opportunity to make this connection with a community need in as specific a manner as they wish. A participant may engage with a defined community need in Christchurch and design something in response to this e.g. a hen house for a community garden.  Please communicate with us about this if you would like to know more about possible options for collaboration in this way.


6b. Exhibition

All works except for the borered wood will be shown together in an exhibition in Christchurch. This exhibition may also be shown elsewhere. For this period all works must stay within the exhibition until the exhibition is drawn to a close.

6c. After the exhibition


There are several choices for participants regarding the outcomes of the works after the exhibition period. The works may either:

i.    be sold in a charitable auction in Christchurch, after which the maker can recoup the making and transport costs (see auction section below)

ii.    be given to the community recipient in which case the making and transport costs will be paid by auction profits

iii.    be given to the homeowners listed in ‘3g. ii. Notable materials for dedicated works’, in which case the making and transport costs will be paid by auction profits

iv.     be returned to the participant if so desired by the participant, but no costs will be reimbursed.


6d. Auction

A charitable auction will be held in Christchurch and online during the exhibition period. For those choosing to include their work in the auction, this will act to:

i.      cover the costs of making and transport costs for those participants (if their work sells)

ii.     partially cover some Whole House Reuse project costs

iii.    raise funds for future initiatives that enable further waste minimisation.


Thank you for getting this far. We hope that the care and attention that will be shown to this one home will lead to a greater realisation of the value of the resources we have around us.