A rugged backdrop of kanuka forms a striking contrast with this contemporary home, located at the base of Wanaka’s Mount Iron.

Project Name: Hidden Hills Retreat
Studio Name:
Condon Scott Architects
Wanaka, New Zealand
Photography: Simon Larkin

Hidden Hills Retreat By Condon Scott Architects - Sheet1
Living+Dining Room & Kitchen ©Simon Larkin

Comprising two pronounced wedge forms, the home steps down a sloped site, with an open-plan living, kitchen and dining room located in the main wing, where generous floor-to-ceiling glazing allows for uncompromised views of the mountains and lake beyond.

The living spaces open seamlessly through stacking sliders and bi-folding doors onto a wrapped deck and terrace that nestles around the building’s form. Designed for entertaining, this transforms the home in the summer months, allowing for effortless movement between the interiors and outdoor living spaces.

Hidden Hills Retreat By Condon Scott Architects - Sheet2
Bathroom ©Simon Larkin

The rear wing contains the bedrooms, bathrooms and a media room. This wing is angled to take in further alpine vistas while also creating a sheltered outdoor space between the two wings. The glazed linkway can be opened to create a functional outdoor living area integrated with the adjacent terrace, or closed to form an internal courtyard.

The strong forms of the rooflines guide the eye past the buildings towards the mountains and lake, while the black veranda creates a stepped punctuation against the roof, hinting at the changing levels within.

Hidden Hills Retreat By Condon Scott Architects - Sheet3
Outdoor Space ©Simon Larkin

“Horizontal natural timber cladding was chosen to draw the observer’s eye along the wedge-shaped roof form towards the view and align with the horizontal veranda plane,” says Barry Condon. “The idea was to create the illusion of the strong geometric form of the roof appearing to float over the site and to emphasise the step change in level.”

Interiors are contemporary, with a modern palette of metals, grey soft furnishings and pristine tile floors and surfaces. One of the homeowners is a chef, so the kitchen features a large hob, double ovens, full pantry and instant hot water. Actively involved in the community, the homeowners enjoy entertaining and hosting dinners, a fact that is evident in the flexible nature of the design. 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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