The Michael Hill Clubhouse / Patterson Associates


Location: Wakatipu Basin,
Client: The Hills Trust
Architect: Patterson Associates Limited
Area: 1.200sqm
Year: 2007
Budget: Confidential
Project Manager: Douglas Consulting
Structural Engineer: Tyndall & Hanham
Mechanical Engineer: Professional Building Services
Electrical Engineer: Pedersen Read
Landscape Architect: Darby Partners
Quantity Surveyor: Ian Harrison and Associates
Contractor: RBJ Limited
Photography: Simon Devitt, Matthew Williams


The brief articulated the client’s desire for a place that reinforced the game of golf, operating primarily as a “private box”, but with the capacity to transform into a gateway headquarters for large competitive events.

New Zealanders’ identity is defined by landscape, and our cultural heritage is depicted in Maori mythology as a people borne of the land and the sky. This is the cultural view of the Science of geology and tectonic uplift.

Hunkered into the earth with less than a third of its volume penetrating above the ground plane, The Michael Hill Clubhouse seeks to integrate and intensify the experience of golf’s primary relationship with the landscape.


An integral truss system creates a skewed form, and supports a green roof planted in native tussock. Systems of energy, water, waste, and climate control are almost entirely contained on the site.

An even greater environmental contribution is the building’s strategy in sustaining the qualities of the alpine landscape. The Clubhouse seeks to integrate with the panoramic vista, rather than form a node on it.

A skewed trapezoid geometry operates as three-dimensional spatial building blocks to define the volumes within the building, and the building within the landscape. This pattern is repeated across all scales, weaving the building into a three-dimensional matrix.


Inside, a glass-reinforced panel ceiling, with integrated heating and acoustic design, hovers above white dimpled textured aluminium forms. The main bar and dining space is an intimate light-filled grandstand overlooking the 18th green.

Buried further back into the ground are service areas, workshops, and cart storage. A large private gym is flanked by a reflecting pond, where you can exercise before being massaged in one of the two bespoke colour therapy rooms making up the spa.


The design creates a model of its environment, both cultural and physical. In doing so the building seeks to become a pattern within the environment, amplifying and reinforcing the relationships between player, game, and land.

Cite: "The Michael Hill Clubhouse / Patterson Associates" 31 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Mookie Wilson

    I love this! The oversized roof plane is great: kind of disorienting at first and overscaled for its height. Never seen the invocation of the sublime on a golf course before! Links the site in an odd and fresh way with the mountain in the distance.

  • arch critic

    the photography is nice, the building, not so much.

  • mkk

    Love it, beautiful materiality, and some nice details like the strip lighting intregrated into the soffit….


  • pda


  • Daniel Concha

    i like the view best.

  • One

    Is this built?

  • Joshua

    They’re renders.

    • David Basulto [tricky]

      No, they are not. This is built.

  • hj

    a tribute to Mies’ Neue Nationalgalerie?

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  • eden bridals

    I’m glad we agree about this. I understand every afternoon and just stopping by to say kudos!!

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  • up_today_arch

    this kind of flying architecture is very to the point here, in this environment… in spite it made from concrete it looks weightless…

  • Paul Gerhard

    Architecturally (and in many other ways) New Zealand is a very exciting place.