Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua, commonly known as the “Tūhoe building”, is the sustainable headquarters of the Māori Tūhoe tribe, located in Taneatua, New Zealand.
Architectural firm Jasmax designed the building; with JASMaD co-founder Ivan Mercep serving as the lead architect. Mercep had a history of designing Māori influenced structures, having previously designed the Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington.
Notably, Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua is the first building built to the criteria of the International Living Future Institute’s “Living Building Challenge”, a rigorous sustainability performance standard which evaluates across seven areas—site, water energy, health, materials, equity and beauty.
Impressively, the Tūhoe building is demonstrably triple net-zero, successfully balancing its production and consumption of water, waste and energy.
This balance is possible in-part due to the high-performance insulation solutions installed throughout the Tūhoe building, including Kingspan Kooltherm K12 Framing Board on the walls, and Kingspan Therma TR27 LPC/FM on the roof. These products offer high levels of thermal insulation, minimising the energy required for cooling and heating.
On top of being environmentally sustainable, the Tūhoe building is also visually stunning. Its frontage is particularly remarkable, incorporating contemporary Māori designs and a prominent lean-to roof. The lean-to roof is supported by a laminated timber arch, an intentional reference to the curved arches of the Tūhoe tribe’s flag.
Perhaps Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua’s greatest achievement is its simultaneous embrace of both modern innovation and the culture and ethos of the Tūhoe tribe. The Tūhoe building has managed to exceed contemporary environmental standards without any sacrifice of native identity.