When everything falls apart, you put it back together

When everything falls apart, you put it back together

Since the First Light team’s last blog for us, the house in Wellington’s Frank Kitts Park has been in the process of gradually being disassembled and packed up in preparation for its long journey to the US. But with rain making things a little dirty and numerous house parts to carefully label and organise, disassembling hasn’t been without its challenges. 

During the assembly period for the house it rained for the majority of the time and the work site became a muddy bog. Lucky for us the rain cleared for most of the time the house was open to the public. But when it came time to take the house apart, the rain returned and once again mud covered students and builders roamed Frank Kitts Park. At present the team continues to finish packing the house away, making sure the mud is cleaned off as we go. The last thing we want is for the house to be held up in customs over a little dirt. 

The deconstruction began with the last thing to be finished – the landscape. The planter boxes and planting were removed first, after which point the decking and scaffolding were deconstructed. In spite of the disassembly process being in full swing, the team responsible for testing the technologies in the house has been very committed to its task and has continued testing while the house is being taken apart around it. While the first module was being lifted out by crane, the technologies team was busy at the other end of the house, testing Leap’s hot water drying cupboard. 

While testing continued the team began to take apart the interiors and painstakingly wrap all of the contents to make sure nothing gets broken on the long and possibly very bumpy journey across the Pacific. One of the major challenges the team faced was creating a detailed labelling system which would mean the house could be efficiently put back together again. While making a house that could be taken apart had been at the centre of all of the design decisions, less thought had gone into just how everything would be packaged and put back together again. Luckily the team put quite a bit of thought into this before things started coming apart and made sure everything that went into the house, including screws, was accounted for and labelled accordingly. All going well this means that when it’s time to put the house back together, it will only be a matter of following the labels rather than trying to put together a difficult jigsaw puzzle. 

Even though this is not a large house at 75m2, there is a whole lot that goes into it—enough to fill three 40ft high cube containers, two 40ft flat racks and one 20ft flat rack. As well as standard packaging materials—bubble wrap, cardboard and a whole lot of masking tape—we are also using some slightly less conventional materials. Take the materials provided by Palmerston North company Obo for example, who offered the team packaging assistance some time ago. Obo isn’t strictly a packaging material company. Far from it. They specialise in keeping hockey goalies safe by providing special padded gear. The same material that keeps goalies shins from bruising will be what we use to help keep the Meridian First Light house safe while in the shipping containers.

The last container will be closed up and leave Wellington shortly, making its way to Tauranga where it will be fumigated before the long boat journey. Fingers crossed we remembered everything!

Visit First Light's official website HERE.

Before the disassembly

Pulling it all apart

Obo packagaing

More from First Light

Visitors swarm through First Light house as team gears up for US journey

Speed is of the essence as First Light house makes its Wellington debut

Construction ‘n’ Technology

Walls, floors, roofs and insulation: Solar bach build kicks off

We want woolly walls

A journey of miniature proportions

Take a 3D tour through First Light’s solar bach

Getting excited about solar design

Practice makes perfect

New Zealand natives in Washington DC

An actively passive house

What’s in a name? 

A team explosion (of size)

Showcasing Kiwi lifestyle to the world

How do you ship a house from Wellington to Washington?

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).