Presented with a challenging site, but one with spectacular potential for views and sunshine hours, Condon Scott Architects rose to the occasion in the design of this modern home.

Project Name: Kelvin Heights
Studio Name: Condon Scott Architects
Completion date: 2018
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Photography: Simon Larkin

Kelvin Heights by Condon Scott Architects - Sheet1
Kitchen+Living Room ©Simon Larkin

Located on Queenstown’s Kelvin Peninsula, a sun-soaked, north-facing suburb on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, the build required a feat of engineering due to the schist base of the site. Along with accessibility issues caused by the steep terrain, this meant that a good proportion of the build time was taken up in groundwork and up-to-slab level construction.

“This was no easy project,” says lead architect Barry Condon, “but I’m passionate about solving the unique challenges that are presented with each new site and client brief.” The resulting house was certainly worth the effort. The design is formed by two wedge-shaped structures, created to fit within the required height restrictions, with a low-profile connecting corridor. This arrangement creates a sheltered courtyard accessed from the glazed corridor, perfect for enjoying the sun when the wind is blowing off the lake.

Kelvin Heights by Condon Scott Architects - Sheet2
Outdoor Seating ©Simon Larkin

“The clients’ brief was 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,” says Barry. “Not only did we have the site itself to contend with, but also a 7.0m height control envelope which restricts roof form heights once over the edge of the escarpment.”

Private spaces are tucked away in the street-facing wedge, with views to the north-west from the guest bedrooms. The living spaces and master bedroom are contained in the lakefront structure, which is angled to the west for full enjoyment of the sun. After progressing through the house with glimpses of the view from different angles, the big view in the living space becomes even more spectacular. From here, the lake appears like an infinity swimming pool, unimpeded by the glazed balustrades on the deck outside.

Kelvin Heights by Condon Scott Architects - Sheet3
Bathroom ©Simon Larkin

This project was a winner in the Housing category of the NZIA’s Southern Architecture Awards in 2018. Judges called the design “discreet and restrained from the street” and were impressed that the “attention to planning, orientation and siting has resulted in a variety of internal and external spaces that provide numerous options for enjoyment, no matter what the weather conditions.”

In the architect’s words: “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.”

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