With distant views of alpine peaks, the hillside site overlooks rolling farmland. The site faces north, directly into the blazing sun of the southern hemisphere. Strict agency requirements limited both the size and form of the home in relation to the slope. The climate is one of extremes with very hot summers and freezing cold winters.
The approach to building on this barren hillside was to merge with the slope, rather than to stick out from it. In response to the climactic extremes, a distinctive roof form protects the home from the sun with generous roof overhangs. Inspired by the form of the hillside, the roof is shaped like an upside down checkmark. A long, thin footprint allows for views of the mountains from every room. Entry is through the side of the house with circulation along the back wall. Upon entering the rooms, the strong horizontals of the roof and deck frame the view.
The massing consists of two volumes, public and private, that are linked by a staircase. The first volume contains the “great room” including the kitchen, living room and indoor/outdoor dining rooms. At the back of the great room, a wood wall conceals the study, bathrooms, refrigerator and ladder access to a sleeping loft. Sliding glass doors open to the pool and exterior lounge area. A retaining wall, constructed of a local stone called Gibbston Valley Schist, runs from the living room to the exterior patio and incorporates an outdoor fireplace and benches. The second volume is the private wing containing the master suite and children’s rooms.
New Zealand Residence, Wanaka, New Zealand, by Marmol Radziner, Photography by Emily Andrews and Marmol Radziner