This Small Passive House On Wheels Is Designed To Withstand Earthquakes

This small home on wheels is smart, modern, incorporates passive design principles and was even designed to withstand earthquakes! For those who love the idea of getting into an affordable home but are afraid that a Tiny House on wheels would be too small, this may be the ideal solution. 


From the outside, the home’s jet black exterior is modern and striking. Inside, the theme is continued with it’s open, light and clean design. This house has been constructed using structurally insulated panels, which is becoming more popular due to their inherent strength, high insulation value and the convenience of construction.  The use of SIP’s in this home is similar to a house we have previously featured on this site.


Interestingly, this home on wheels has even managed to incorporate many principles of passive house design. The construction is virtually air-tight, and utilises a super efficient heat-recovery ventilation system. Essentially, passive homes are designed to control aspects of the internal environment in order to make them incredibly energy efficient.


You wouldn’t know it by just looking at the home, but it’s actually sitting on a trailer which is hidden behind the removable  panels. At 13 x 3 meters (43 x 10 feet), this home is still highly transportable, although it does need to be lifted onto a truck in order to do so. The trailer it sits on allows it to be simply moved and relocated on the property, but were originally incorporated into the design to help the structure to become earthquake resilient, an important aspect to consider when you live in a town such as Christchurch, which has suffered from many earthquakes  and aftershocks since 2010.


Although owner / builder Paul Hennessey is responsible for the practical elements of this build, all credits for the interior design are given to his wife Pascale who has done an inspiring job of turning this cleverly designed house into a beautiful and comfortable home for the couple.


With one end of the home completely open plan, the other utilises a small hallway to lead to three other rooms. A small office (which could potentially be used as a child’s bedroom, a bathroom, and master bedroom. Each room is lovingly fitted out and echoes the theme of clean modernism which runs through the house.


Despite being significantly larger than your average house on wheels, this home has still borrowed a lot from Tiny House design, such as this queen-sized bed which is almost entirely storage space under the mattress. It goes to show that even when working in larger spaces, we can still incorporate many design principles from Tiny Homes in order to efficiently use space.


Even their dog Legend’s home has been cleverly incorporated into the design of this house and his kennel sits brilliantly under the stairs which lead up to the homes main entrance.

Pauls work on this home is truly exceptional and his skill as a builder has brought to life a true model of cost-effective, modern, energy efficient design. For those who would like to know more about his work, you can visit his facebook page here.

Posted on by Bryce Posted in Tiny House Tours

About Bryce

Bryce Langston is a New Zealand based actor, musician, filmmaker and environmentalist who has spent the past five years travelling the globe exploring the Tiny House movement as the creator and host of the popular online web series Living Big in a Tiny House

17 Responses to This Small Passive House On Wheels Is Designed To Withstand Earthquakes

  1. Mick

    Stunning result.
    I would love one to live in!
    Who do I contact to buy plans etc.?

  2. Nate

    Hi, I’m just curious about how the toilet in this house works. Is it a composting toilet or the auto toilet?

  3. Sam

    Hey Bryce, could you get me in touch with the owner or share the design, materials, and building process? I would love to build one just like this. Thanks!

    • Pascale

      Hi Sam,

      Happy to share info with you about how these houses are built and some floor plans. Just email us at

  4. Pae

    Hi Pascale and Bryce

    Who can we contact to have one built in Auckland? Really interested in discussing a few tweeks to make it more affordable also.

  5. Pam

    Will you please share more information about the panels you used. I didn’t fully understand what you were saying on the video.

  6. Karleen

    Hi, just like Bryan, I would love some detailed info on what was used and how it was put together. I have a floorplan in mind but the trailer and how everything bolts together with the walls and flooring is a mystery. Tricks and tips would be helpful.


  7. Bryan

    Wondering if I can get detailed info, plans etc on this small home?

  8. Cory

    What is the frame and roofing material please?

  9. Meme

    Hi Bryce, I love this home i am very interested in having one built like this but I need a 3 bedroom 2 bath or a 2 bedroom 2 bath. Do you know if the builder makes them custom in this size and can he ship or build it here in the United States?

    • Pascale

      Hi Meme,
      we’ve had a few people from the US contact us. Happy to share some info with you, as it’s probably cheaper to build in the States than ship from NZ. Email us at

  10. Gustavo

    Hi Bryce,
    Great documentary on the passive house! Just wondering if you have info on you have info regarding the challenges with the city council!

    • Bryce

      Hey Gustavo! So far Tiny Homes in New Zealand haven’t met many problems with council at all. The key is to remember that a Tiny House on wheels is a vehicle, and to build it to the NZTA regulations. In the case of larger homes such as this one, I believe they did actually go through a concert process with the council, especially as it’s connected to the mains facilities.

    • Pascale

      Hi Gustavo,

      It appears so far that building these (we call them Park Homes) have sometimes required consent and sometimes not. This one didn’t, all we needed was a certificate of acceptance to be hooked to the sewer. Another one we’re doing for Ashburton doesn’t require consent either, however, we’re doing two more in Chch who will require consent, although they are not having wheels, but instead our signature floating foundation. We expect it to pass with flying colours, given that every engineer we’ve spoken to about it has given us the all clear and even said at times we’ve over-engineered it so we’re confident once we’re through once, we’ll be through many times.

      Bryce, Love the write up and the production. You’re an inspiration!

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