Located on the shores of Lake Hawea, twenty minutes’ drive from Wanaka, this newly constructed house capitalises on breathtaking views of the lake and Southern Alps, while creating a family home that is warm and sheltered from the weather, with an aesthetic that is definitively of the area.

Project name: Lake Hawea House
Studio Name: Condon Scott Architects
Project size:
438 m2
Completion date: 2019
Building levels: 1
Location: Wanaka, New Zealand
Photography: Simon Larkin and Simon Devitt

©Simon Larkin and Simon Devitt

Planning restrictions limited the width and height of the building, and the often strong winds that come in off the lake had to be taken into account when establishing the shape of the house. Arranged in an ‘H’ configuration, the bulk of the building protects the house from the wind, creating a series of terraces and courtyards that can be occupied depending on weather patterns.

An understated palette of cedar, local stone, and steel continues from the exterior to the interior of the home, forming connections with the landscape. This is furthered by a pair of heavy schist walls, which flank the living spaces and contain seating, shelving and a fireplace. These walls are orientated to the view and form a pair of organising axis that run through the house. They echo early settler’s cottages that are common to the area, establishing a sense of history in the fabric of the new building.

©Simon Larkin and Simon Devitt

Cedar ceilings angle the eye towards different aspects of the view. The living and bedroom spaces are positioned to take full advantage of the wide-spanning vistas. Garaging and utility spaces are located to the rear.

The house is designed to reduce the need for heating and cooling, with thermally broken windows and insulation levels well above code. Passive solar gain has been taken into account with louvres and eaves that can be utilised in the summer months to prevent overheating. A heated polished concrete slab acts as a thermal sink in the winter.

©Simon Larkin and Simon Devitt

For architect Barry Condon, this was a satisfying project that has been well received by the community, public and homeowners. “At the initial briefing, the client indicated they were keen to have an interesting roofline visible on approach from the main driveway. This presented a challenge as there was a 4.5 metre height control restriction over the site. To solve this issue, we developed a series of interpassing roof planes. Internally these create a series of both larger volumes and smaller, more intimate spaces. Externally this combination of volumes presents a dynamic roof form to the observer.”

Condon Scott Architects is an award-winning, Wanaka-based practice that has completed over 600 residential and commercial projects in the Otago region over the past 30 years.

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