Construction of our new glampsite is well on the way, and it is currently on schedule to open in January 2023. We built our first glampsite in 2017 and soon after opening we were dreaming of a second site. To keep the sense of having the hilltops to yourselves, this will most likely be our last glampsite on this farm, so we wanted to push the boundaries of glamp design and create the ultimate guest experience. The new site will have four bedrooms, plenty of room to share the experience with your family and friends and create wonderful glamping memories together. It has a main bathroom, an ensuite, and a powder room. We decided to go with double glazed glass windows and doors so that you can still enjoy the outstanding panoramic views of rural New Zealand farmland in all weather conditions.
The design phase took just over a year as we worked through many challenges, such as:
Designing a tent to meet our strict NZ building code.
Engineering a way to hold heavy windows and doors without a ceiling or solid walls to fix to.
The challenges of the having a glass corridor between the two tents (see below for more on the engineering involved)
Designing an off grid power system that is powerful enough to provide the heat and power required, uses renewable energy sources and is financially achievable.
Heating the inside of the tent. It is a large area of 133m2, and 5m high in the apex.
Creating sound privacy for the tent bathrooms, and venting for the showers.
A big emphasis of the design is the connection to the outdoors. We want to create a space where people can enjoy being outside, take in the views, and spend quality time with their friends and family, away from modern day distractions. To experience the excitement of a holiday under canvas without compromising on comfort or luxury.
To bring our visions to life we worked with Designwell on the interiors. They completely nailed the brief and have been an absolute dream to work with. Take a look at their 3D renders below.
As mentioned above, a big emphasis of the design is the connection to the outdoors. Calla Landscapes have done an absolutely incredible job of envisioning the outdoor spaces and we have been blown away by their creative ideas. See their designs below.
Entrance, featuring 1800cm wide pivot door
Double sided fireplace
Kitchen and dining
Dining room surrounded by three bi-fold doors
The structure is bespoke in all aspects of its design and engineering. The first design phase was to determine the general layout of the structure. We decided on two adjacent tents connected by an adjoining portal frame structure. Being in an extremely high wind zone the standardised tents required full engineering redesign to meet New Zealand structural design standards and our aesthetic requirements. Before being put into manufacture, hours of coordination between manufacturers, structural engineers and the us as project managers was required. The detailing not only had to meet structural and aesthetic requirements, but also buildability, maintenance, and economic requirements. Every aspect of the structure had to be laboured over. Some of the changes that resulted were the tent heights were extended, steal pole sizes were increased, and ceiling lattice beams were added all to withstand the 1 in 500 year design wind loads, required by our building code.
The central portal frame structure connecting the two tents is made from engineered timber beams called glulam beams. The glulam portal structure supports the sides of each tent allowing the tent support poles to be removed giving an unobstructed five-meter clear span opening between tents. The interface where the tents and portal structure meet required detailed design to ensure weather tightness, materials compatibility, and ease of maintenance.
We also thought it was important that guests had views from every room of the tent so we included large bay windows and bifold doors. Glulam timber window support frames were designed to support the joinery. These frames cantilever from the concrete foundations acting independent of the tent structure.
The glamping site utilizes an off-grid power system using two primary renewable energy sources.
Firstly, energy is generated via 14 x 370Watt solar panels giving a total of 5.1 KW of solar and can produce 12 KW/hours/day in Winter and 20KW/hours/day in Summer. There is also a 48Volt battery bank that has a storage capacity of 36 KW. The solar panels produce all the electricity required to run lighting, dishwasher, oven, thermostats, electrical circuitry, etc.. When the solar panels are producing excess electricity this energy is transferred into a thermal battery system (i.e. domestic hot water cylinder and hot water buffer tank).
The second power source comes from a 20KW wood pellet burner. The burner’s soul responsibility is heat the domestic hot water, buffer tank (spa pool heating), and hot water underfloor heating system. The pellet burner is a carbon neutral energy source as it uses wood pellets that are by-product from the forestry industry. The carbon produced when burning the wood pellets has already been sequestered from the atmosphere when the tree grows. The boiler is also fully automated, an auger loads pellets into the burning chamber automatically as the energy demand increases of decreases.
With most off-grid systems there is also a back up. We have a 9KVa generator if we were to get too many consecutive cloudy days. The glamping site has a purpose build plant room to house the componentry required for the above mentioned system.
Eastern side. This will feature a cedar hot tub, a fire pit and seating. The perfect place to enjoy the sunrise.
Western side. This will feature a pizza oven, bbq, fire pit and seating.
We have successfully completed the earthworks, foundations, off grid power system, plant room, services (electrical and plumbing), fencing and have planted around 1100 plants. The eastern side landscaping is complete. The tent is up, portal structure is complete. Windows and doors are in. The fireplace is installed (stone cladding in progress). The kitchen is installed, internal walls are up and tiling is completed.
We're in the final stages now! A bit of painting, furniture fit out and a tiny bit more landscaping to go and we'll be finished!
You can see more of our building progress on our Facebook page.