Vantastic Kombi was handy after the quake

Posted 08 Oct 2011 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in Media
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A pimped out Volkswagen Kombi entered in the Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ) awards is more than just a pretty van.

When his local school was turned into an emergency Civil Defence headquarters for the Christchurch earthquake, designer Greg Young sent his van to help out.

"I took my van down and left it there because it's got power and water and cooking facilities," said Young, an architectural designer since 1993. "On the first night when it was really cold [it was used by] a couple of elderly people who were suffering from shock."

His brief for the ADNZ awards was to create a modern design with efficient use of storage, an off-grid capability, able to sleep the family, and easy to maintain.

"As a designer you like to be able to design anything, for me it pushes the limit. You've got five square metres in which we needed to have sleeping for four, a lounge for when it's raining, cooking facilities, storage and entertainment systems. Everything you need your house to do, we needed that van to do."

And Young's fit-out does just that.

The living room has seating for four people with additional space in the window seat for a small child or the family pet, with entertainment provided by a mounted iPad.

With the pop-top up, there is space for two adult-sized stretcher beds and a child-sized stretcher over the front seats, and the rear window seat slides forward to form a double bed.

Storage has been provided wherever possible, with a full pantry and wardrobe.

The design has moved from hippy to modern. "It made sense, if you look at that era of architecture [1970s], it is quite modernist in style, they use a lot of white and crisp and clean. So the fit-out that I did is more appropriate to what I think the vehicle should have been."

Young uses his van for travelling with his family and as a mobile office. "I don't like having a bach in one place. I want my kids to grow up and actually see the country. It's a mobile bach.

"It's also my work vehicle. I am out on site quite a lot and I do work all around the South Island so I can just take the van on site, take notes and, if need be, sleep there and whip up a cup of coffee."

The award winners will be announced on October 28.


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