RPS and Evoke had taken on the challenge of designing and building an outdoor playhouse for Tiri, a young girl suffering from a rare blood disorder that makes her allergic to sunlight.
With the help of our building partners, Carters, Lee Roofing, Alitech and Edgeworx Scaffolding, we were able to bring this project to life, giving Tiri a space to enjoy outside fun in safety.
Our Building Partners
Tiri has been recently diagnosed with an extremely rare and potentially life-threatening blood disorder called Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP), of which only about 5,000 people have worldwide. This means that Tiri is allergic to visible light (blue light) including sunlight, light coming through windows and artificial light.
The condition causes Tiri to become extremely photosensitive to light, damaging her liver, skin and potentially other organs. Tiri must be fully clothed at all times, including socks and gloves, and light exposure must be kept at a minimum, which requires Tiri to stay indoors and away from windows most of the time.
Doctor’s have described the pain of her skin burning to be “as intense as if pouring boiling water over yourself”, with no known cure or effective pain relief currently available. This burning can last for hours or even weeks, with water being the most effective substance to numb the pain.
For some time, Tiri has wanted her own playhouse where she can play outdoors with her friends. This is where the team at RPS stepped in to design and build a purpose-built playhouse to keep Tiri safe while allowing her to enjoy the outdoors.
Tiri’s Palace Requirements
The design requirements for “Tiri’s Palace” were as follows:
- The palace needed to be two-storied.
- Windows needed to be tinted with a special film to filter the harmful aspects of sunlight.
- A code-compliant staircase – Tiri’s lack of mobility meant that a typical ladder to the top floor wasn’t a safe option; therefore a proper staircase was needed.
- A block-out shade covering the route from the house to the playhouse.
- Speciality lightbulbs to provide interior light that won’t burn Tiri’s skin.
- A fireman’s pole, slide and swings were some of the fun features required as part of Tiri’s Wish List.
Bringing Tiri’s Palace to Life
Carl Hemmingson, Evoke Architectural Designer, was tasked with creating the first draft of the playhouse using the list of design requirements, as discussed with Tiri’s parents. After listening to these requirements and drawing some inspiration from Pinterest, Carl created an initial floor plan and render.
As the goal was to get Tiri’s playhouse built before Christmas, it was necessary to avoid being slowed down with building consents. That meant a conversation with Council was required, advising Carl on the best way to proceed with minimal restrictions – which included lowering the height of the playhouse.
Once Council modifications were made, the new design was sent back to Tiri’s mum for feedback. Fewer windows were required, which led to further amendments and the final design was produced – a safe and functional playhouse for Tiri to enjoy.
With Tiri’s help, we have almost finished her dream home and once it is finished she can play outside as much as she likes! RPS would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners that have played their part in turning Tiri’s dream into a reality: Carters, Lee Roofing, Alitech, Edgeworx Scaffolding, Wairere Nursing, Kanga Man, Kiwiplay and River City Decorators.
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