Private and lapping up the views, this contemporary, stepped home features a series of water experiences leading down to lake edge

Designed by Gary Todd Architecture

From the architect:

The story of this house begins some years ago when our owner chose this site as their place to holiday by the lake in the original cottage.

When it came to building a new and permanent home, the lake, its water features, the steep narrow site, poor land bearing, restrictive planning rules, and close neighbours, informed and defined the ensuing design.

The owner brief sought a contemporary residence that was both elegant and sophisticated and provided a luxurious sanctuary away from their business.

Spaces were to range from intimate to entertaining, be secure and private, and maximise connections to lake shore activities and the panoramic mountain views while controlling sunlight and wind.

Layered approach

The design response is a home with layered living zones, facilitated by extensive cut-and-fill methodology and a multi-level contemporary stepped building form in scale with adjacent houses and the lake reserve.

Embedded into the landscape, its terraced format cascades down the site, with each level embracing lake and mountain views and maximising solar gain.

The materials and colour palette are deliberately pared back – concrete, composite aluminium cladding, and large-format porcelain tiles – all extending seamlessly from the exterior to the interior and vice-versa, with honed exterior textures polished on the interiors.

All about the water

Architectural water features – including an entry reflection pond, cantilevered concrete swimming pool, infinity waterfall, catching pond, and spa pool – are all linked in a journey of sensory experiences that enhance well-being as you progress down through the layers of the house to the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu.

Enduring design

In essence, this home has delivered the optimum environmental, social, economic, and sustainable brownfield site reuse for a contemporary luxury home, with indoor to outdoor living spaces that give our homeowner a private and secure lifestyle in context with the lakeside setting.

The home’s design, materiality and style are contrary to the Queenstown vernacular in that it is unashamedly contemporary, of international quality, and will endure well into the future.

Good for the environment

Green Star and Living Building Challenge strategies inform the design and specification of this project.

It is envisioned that this home will have a reduced impact on the environment because of its longer lifecycle approach to construction and materiality.

Other factors and considerations include:

  • Thermal comfort from passive solar design with superior insulation, designed and achieved by high-performance energy modelling.
  • Thermally broken aluminium triple glazing, roof overhangs and louvred roofs control solar heat gain and loss for reduced cooling and heating demands.
  • Water restrictors on fittings minimise use and reduce the stormwater drainage loading.
  • Solar water heating and energy-efficient appliances and systems reduce post-build costs.
  • Low-energy LED dimmable and colour-changing lighting, designed strategically for mood-changing ambience.
  • Low VOC paint and air conditioning systems maintain healthy indoor air quality.
  • Unique contextual architectural water features and endemic plantings are introduced to enhance biodiversity outcomes and foster greater biophilic connections with nature.

This an individual home that has overcome challenges to celebrate lakeside living in New Zealand.

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Gary Todd Architecture
Interior designer
Mayfair Pools
Sealco TPO membrane
Window/door joinery
Bedroom flooring
Feltex Carpet, from Carpet Court
Escea gas fire
Control system
Automation system from Strawberry Sound
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Runner Up
BJ Hill
Kitchen manufacturer
Howley Joinery
Southern Landmarx
Alucobond, from South Island Architectural Composites
Louvre System
Johnson & Cousins Opening Roof
Main flooring
Porcelain tile, from Live House
Bathroom tiles
Porcelain Tile, from Live House
General heating
Ducted AC System, from Davies Heat'n'Cool
Feature lighting
LED colour changing lights, from ECC
Lounge furniture/dining table/dining chairs

Designed by: Gary Todd Architecture

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Marina Matthews, John Williams, Grant Johnson

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