Alpine house.

Located in the lake-side town of Wanaka, this alpine house nestles within the Southern Alps. It is part of a suburban subdivision on a gentle western slope that falls towards the lake. Mount Alta and the Minaret Peaks border the lake's western edge, forming the predominant view.

The suburban context was a significant driver of the sculptural processes used to develop the design, as was the brief for a holiday home for a family of five. Whilst accommodating similar functional requirements, the clients were willing to explore alternate options and form to the surrounding single-level houses, which sprawl over their sites with the 'group home' type construction of hipped or mono-pitched roof forms.

Brief context, a tight budget, and a desire to capture the spectacular views led to the development of a two-level house on a small footprint. Well-designed circulation allowed for an environmentally, financially and architecturally efficient typology without compromising spatiality. The floor levels of the house step down the sloping site. The stepping facilitates the central circulation, with each level branching from the landings of the stairs. The circulation culminates in an open terrace, acting as a separator between upper-level living areas and the main bedroom, opening onto breathtaking views.

The duplicity of architectural language frames the mountain and lake view and obscures the suburban surroundings. From the street, the house presents itself as a solid sculptural form. The manipulation of the long gabled roof form articulates the entry and circulation. Ribbon windows perforate the solid facade, giving way to a modernist post and beam construction with expansive joinery facing the view and sun. The roof envelopes the split levels and ramping of the exterior terraces, sculpturally highlighting the programme of the house.

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Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand


  • Daniel Marshall
  • Nick Sayes


  • Simon Devitt
  • Ernie Shackles