Thanks to the very positive collaboration of architect, builder and client, a stunningly beautiful home now graces the shores of Lake Wakatipu, high up on Kelvin Heights, Queenstown. All involved in the process were so delighted with the final outcome with the project winning the housing category of the NZIA’s 2018 Southern Architecture Awards.
“This was no easy project,” says Barry Condon, of Condon Scott Architects, Wanaka. “But I’m passionate about solving the unique challenges that are presented with each new site and client brief.”
The site for this house definitely posed those challenges on which Barry and his team thrive. It is a steeply sloping site overlooking Lake Wakatipu, but adding to the complications was the fact that the footing for the house is a rocky outcrop, which diagonally cuts the site in two. “The clients’ brief was for us to create a family home that would capitalise on the views to the lake and mountains, and which would also have an outdoor area protected from the wind. Not only did we have the site itself to contend with, but also a 7m height control envelope, which restricts roof form heights once over the edge of the escarpment.”
Condon Scott is known for tailor-made solutions using strong design-based architecture. Barry’s solution was a series of stepped levels contained within two wedge-shaped forms, designed to fit under the height control envelope. The southern wedge (containing the guest bedrooms) presents to the street; its stepped metal cladding hinting at the level changes within. The northern wedge is orientated west to the lake view and contains the day-to-day living areas and the master bedroom suite. The two wedges are linked by a low roofed element creating a courtyard to capitalise on morning sun and provide a sheltered retreat on windy days. “With such a challenging site, we had to be innovative. We believe that the solution is elegant and responds harmoniously to the complexities of the site.”
It wasn’t only the architect who had to grapple with the constraints posed by the site. The responsibility for translating the design from paper into concrete form lay with Trevor Ward Builders of Queenstown. This construction company specialises in building architectural homes and has consistently won prestigious awards at the Registered Master Builders House of the Year.
“Because of the slope of the site we had to start at the lower edge and work our way back up to the street,” Trevor Ward explains.
“The building is literally drilled into the site with starter bars driven into the schist stone for the footings of the foundation walls of the house. The ground-works and up-to-slab level construction took almost half of the build time with the steep terrain making it difficult to access and operate machinery, particularly at the lower levels of the site.”
Trevor and his team are known for the fastidious quality of their workmanship as well as their attention to detail and the Kelvin Heights house is a particular source of pride to them all. “The whole project was undoubtedly a total team effort which was very satisfying to be part of.”
- Condon Scott Architects
Ph: 03-443 7919
- Trevor Ward Builders
Ph: 027-430 1658