Sustainable Habitat Construction

Building a Better Way


The Sustainable Habitat Challenge - a network of people designing and building more sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods.


Affordable, delightful housing, micro architecture, prefabricated housing, and more...

Living with purpose, living well with less reliance on resources.

Please call or email me at any time [email protected] or 021 705 346




SHAC Challenge 2015 – Call for Entries

Submit your design for a Methven, New Zealand, community bus shelter for approx 10-20 snow skiers and boarders waiting for the mountain pick up.  The best designs using natural materials will win free entry to the March 2016 International Straw Building Conference to be held 3-9 March 2016, in Methven, New Zealand. for conference details.

Natural Building means using minimally processed and locally available materials for building, examples include, untreated timber, rammed earth, adobe, earthen plasters, straw, hempcrete, and others. Natural Building also means using solar energy efficiently and effectively.

More Info on our blog

SHAC 2014 Winner Announced!

Students win national design award for 10sqm building

The design brief was simple – create a breakout space that didn’t require consent and incorporated sustainability, and now four Otago Polytechnic Design students have won the national Sustainable Habitat Construction (SHAC) Pop-up Challenge for their design of an innovative and efficient ten square metre building.

Studio56 was conceived by third-year Design students, Dean Griffiths, Alice Perry, Nina Daniels and Charlotte McKirdy, and was developed to provide a unique learning and collaboration environment for both students and staff, within Otago Polytechnic’s Living Campus – a vibrant community garden and a sustainable model of urban agriculture.

SHAC 2013 Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Bella Bloomfield, a student at Otago Polytechnic, winner of the 2013 Surf Life Saving Challenge

WEEKEND [30 Nov-1 Dec]
Prefab | Modular | SIPS | Working Bee

Help us build a new home for Christchurch community organisations. Working bee this weekend [30 Nov and 1 Dec]. Sat 10-1, Sun 10-1, BBQ 1-3. 24 Walker St, CBD.Building using Structural Insulated Panels - workshop

Walker St Building Community - SHAC from Tim Bishop on Vimeo.

Specifications [Coming Soon]

Come help us make the Walker St Hub at 24 Walker st.
A new home for the following community organisations who want to help you realise your dream for your small business or social enterprise.

LABOUR WEEKEND SHAC Green Roof Technology Demonstration, Christchurch, New Zealand

Open Source: Specifications [coming soon!]


Happy, Simply, Wellington, New Zealand

 Open Source: Design and Construction Documents

When is a vehicle a building? BRANZ Build May/June 2011


Life in Vacant Spaces Trust Recycled Off-grid Office, Christchurch, New Zealand

more Photos>>> , The Press

Open Source: ConstructionDocuments


New Brighton Creative Quarter, Christchurch, New Zealand

more >>> FacebookPhotos , The Press, Facebook-Renew Brighton 

Scaffold Pavillion

 more >>> , Flicker


Workshop on Building Thermal Energy Modelling [attendees from private practice, University of Auckland, University of Otago, and Otago Polytechnic]


For more information contact Tim Bishop at 021 705 346 or [email protected]


The entries are in!  Young designers from around New Zealand have come up with ideas for subconsent structures. Here! >>>

What do you think of them? Leave a reply or comment, or like your favourite entries.  Here! >>>


SHAC Awards May 2012

Rebuild and Reuse - for the Whole House Reuse project Juliet Arnott –
Design - F3 Design
Community Development  -   Joshua Durrant, Jess Smale, Sophie Moore
Micro and Temporary Architecture – Gapfiller
Commercialisation -  Danny Squires and Martin Luff  ThinkRadical.Net

On the 2-3 May 2012, SHAC presented the 2nd annual workshop on micro-architecture at the Christchurch Polytechnic Student Centre.  Sixty attendees discussed temporary architecture, simple buildings, and the reuse of building material.

“People cherish their culture through recycling” – those are the words of Wang Shu, the 2012 winner of the Pritzker architecture prize.  The demolition of red stickered housing and CBD buildings does not have to mean the eradication of Christchurch’s history or culture – nearly all materials can be reused in new construction, incorporating local memories and fusing the past with the present.

What is permanent in this land of earthquakes? In San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 as a temporary building for the Panama-Pacific Exposition and still stands today as an icon of the city.  From the cardboard cathedral to the convention centre – how long will they serve us?

“Simple buildings are key for affordability” said Canadian architect Brian McKay Lyons, recently interviewed on Nine to Noon with Kim Hill.  Lyons, from Nova Scotia, says “simple buildings are what we farmers and fishermen build when we can’t afford to get things wrong”

Contribute to the 10m2 Challenge! A design challenge to learn about high quality, low cost, innovative buildings that comply with the Building Act. Designs/Photos/Drawings/Descriptions due 20 August 2012


SHAC built a small 10m2 office for Gap Filler in Christchurch over the 21-28th of January, 2012.  

The office is made from mostly recycled materials from demolished Christchurch buildings.  How can we live well with less reliance on resources?  Using recycled building materials is one good strategy.

Press Article.  Our blog.

Stop by at the site, and take a ride on our electric bicycle.


Gapfiller Trust SHAC solar powered office!


Open Source: Gapfiller SHAC Office presentation and construction documents 


The SHAC aim is efficient, affordable, adaptable, durable, simple, healthy, and delightful buildings and neighbourhoods with focus on regenerative communities. Lets work on this together and pass on our skills to young people.

SHAC helps us collaborative, involve and pass along skills to young people, and publish our designs and techniques. Together we are building our future. Join in!


SHAC Awards for 2011 have been announced!:


See the presentations from our recent Symposium on Micro-Architecture and Simple Building



Christchurch, sustainable new project - interested?

Started by Jane Pearce. Last reply by Renew Brighton Oct 9, 2012. 5 Replies

My partner and I are interested in building a sustainable home in Christchurch. We would like to at least meet, or team up (possibly even to form a community project) with people to share…Continue

Building concept for sustainable house on a ridge

Started by Mark Wren. Last reply by Richard Neill Sep 23, 2010. 3 Replies

The point of difference for this building design is to incorporate integrated energy and water-use systems to maximise the efficient use of resources and minimise the impact on community and grid…Continue

Funding advice for teams

Started by Tim Bishop. Last reply by Alex Jan 19, 2012. 1 Reply

Some tertiary teams have their building process funded by their polytechnic.  Private teams generally have a private client.  Community teams making displays and community halls are likely to need to…Continue

What's your general design advice for teams?

Started by Tim Bishop. Last reply by Tim Bishop May 26, 2010. 3 Replies

Post here your general design advice for teams.

Retrofit Transportable Office Block [Dunedin]

Started by Tim Bishop May 21, 2010. 0 Replies

The Otago Polytechnic is retrofitting a small office block for SHAC 2011.The renovated offices in B Block will be a delightful and long lasting work environment, with some nice visual and technical…Continue

Classroom New Build [Southland]

Started by Tim Bishop May 21, 2010. 0 Replies

In 2008 a series of Sustainable Living workshops took place, set up by Invercargill City Council, Environment Southland and Southland Education. Topics included No Weeds in the Vege Patch, Solar…Continue

School Transportable Classroom retrofit [Manukau Institute of Technology]

Started by Tim Bishop. Last reply by Werner Eisenhauer Aug 10, 2010. 4 Replies

Manukau Institute of Technologyis proposing to develop a high performance classroom retrofit.  How can transportable classrooms be retrofitted to create a classroom that stays cool in the summer, and…Continue

Your Visions for Sustainable Building

Started by Tim Bishop. Last reply by Alex Jan 19, 2012. 1 Reply

Post here a description of your vision for your more sustainable building and neighbourhood.Continue

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