- Design Team: Dean Cowell, Nick Wortelboer
- City: Wanaka
- Country: New Zealand
Text description provided by the architects. The design brief for this Wanaka residence was to provide a home with a soul, that could expand and contract with the ebb and flow of family and guests. The house is made up of two strong pitched roof forms, connected by several flat-roofed forms floating beneath. The pitched roof elements run east to west in harmony with the site, maximizing views and solar gain. The timber screened entrance leads up a covered boardwalk to a glass pivoting front door. Upon entry, the ceiling raises dramatically to follow the roof line.
After the initial release into the large main space, visitors are greeted with an intimate wall of vertical timber paneling - a textural, three-dimensional entry that leads into a kitchen and dining space, filled with natural light and majestic views pouring in. The dining and living areas share a double-sided gas fire and have large sliding doors fringing both the north and south aspect to open to the views or protect from the prevailing winds. The glass link that leads to the guest wing is framed to the west by an outdoor rock pond.
To the east, large sliding doors open to an outdoor courtyard entertainment area with views through the house to the mountains in one direction, and water the other. The material palette was selected with colors and shades that work in harmony with the surrounding environment. Thermomass panels, Corten steel and smoked carbon stained timber on the exterior, through to a mixture of timbers, and warm, neutral tones inside. LVL portals and band sawed tongue and groove timber form the central spine of the main building drawing the eye upwards and onwards to the triple glazed gabled ends where more views of the surrounding hills are visible.
Time-honored principles of good site orientation and a warm thermal envelope, combined with the latest technology and designing in sympathy with the surrounding environment are the key sustainability drivers for this home. A combined inslab heating and hot water heat pump system are powered by 5kWh of discretely placed photovoltaic panels. Appropriate use and positioning of Thermomass concrete, and large glazed openings allow for natural heating and cooling as much as possible, allowing the house to run at a very low cost.