Photography: Simon Devitt
Textural warmth meets high performance in this house for all seasons that exemplifies low-key, low-energy living. This Wānaka holiday home on a quiet street had big boots to fill as a replacement for a crib that the owners had enjoyed for 30 years. Three decades underpinned their understanding of time and place; they knew intimately the pathway of the sun and which aspects of the garden and the landscape to highlight or downplay.
Rammed-earth exterior walls became the placeholders for the U-shaped plan. Their beautiful tone and stratification make them an aesthetic hero, but they also shield the home and its entry court from the street, provide privacy from neighbours and give the dwelling substantial presence. Atop clerestory windows, the low-profile roof with its timber fascia has a contrasting sense of lightness. A gentle twist on the north-west corner lifts up in homage to the view of Roys Peak and exposed structural steel is fine, sharp counterpoint within the built palette.
The footprint comprises a living module which pushes forward of the bedroom zone towards the late-afternoon sun. The two are linked by a glazed passageway and embrace a north-facing courtyard to welcome the sun and buffer the wind.
Internal spatial qualities are as extrovert to embrace the distant landscape as introvert to craft a sense of homecoming. Timber-lined ceilings are lofty with natural appeal and the kitchen, a hub of the plan, connects to the deck and living for easy gatherings. In the evenings, gentle lighting flows up to the ceiling and down the rammed-earth walls to emphasise the organic materiality.
Thermal modelling, airtight construction and a hydronic-heated concrete floor keeps the temperature just right in this region of extremes. The old crib may be gone but this dwelling is future focussed for generational use.
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