Coburn Residence / Harris Butt Architecture

© Simon Devitt

Architects: Harris Butt Architecture Ltd. – Grant Harris
Location: Jacks Point Golf Course, ,
Completion: 2009
Building Size: 712 sqm
Photographs: Simon Devitt

© Simon Devitt

The client’s brief was straightforward in terms of accommodation and revolved around the need to have a large open entertaining area associated with outdoor spaces (including a lap pool) with separate areas for the master suit and guests bedrooms. Although it this is a family home, long term the house could become a “boutique hotel” – the design needed to take this into account. The house had to relate to the spectacular landscape with easy access to surrounding patios and visual connection to the mountains and lake. The form was to be timeless and reflect the qualities of the regional architecture.

The large house is situated on a promontory overlooking Lake Wakatipu to the west, with the Remarkables to the east and Peninsula Hill to the north – hiding Coronet Peak. In the fore ground are rolling tussock covered hills and the manicured fairways of the Jacks Point Golf Course.

© Simon Devitt

The overall concept is based on “honest” architecture – crisp, clean lines, devoid of decoration, constructed from material extracted from the site and sourced from the region as far as possible.

The deep recesses to the windows and the exterior wall cladding accentuate the solid construction of the building giving a sense of permanence and connection with the historic buildings of the region as well as the landscape. The schist which was “quarried” from the site (to accommodate the basement garage and wine cellar) was actually reused as the exterior cladding material over the concrete block structural walls.

© Simon Devitt

The layout of the house is very simple in its concept. It is made up of three parts – the living wing (a rectangular form), the bedroom area (a square shape) with the connecting linear gallery. The garage is tucked underneath.

The house is approached down a long lane from the east with the Remarkables at your back and Lake Wakatipu at your front. The entry gallery is aligned on this axis linking these two dominant features.

To the north of the gallery is the living area – essentially two very large rooms – the living room and the kitchen/dining/family room.


These open onto an extensive patio area with lap pool/sauna/plunge pool. Approximately half way down the central gallery a tee junction occurs – this secondary access links to the master bedroom area (to the west), the guest bedroom wing (to the east) with a stair/lift down to the basement garage.

The master bedroom area looks out over Lake Wakatipu whilst the guest rooms focus on the Remarkables.

Cite: "Coburn Residence / Harris Butt Architecture" 07 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • Edward Stuart

    Breathtaking design. Every detail adds to the whole to make a terrific environment. This home is a piece of art!