Living room and master bedroom pavilions stretch out to the views in this lakeside family home

With design nods to early settler cottages and leading spaces trained on the views, this snug, modern home is all about embracing its mountain setting

​​​​​​​Utilising natural materials, such as cedar and schist,
​​​​​​​Utilising natural materials, such as cedar and schist, and with the architecture trained on the views while creating sheltered areas, this alpine home by Condon Scott Architects is at one with its habitat.

So the setting is world class – but how best to make the most of building in such a pristine environment? Orientation, material empathy, and connections to local history are just some ways this home reaches out to its surroundings.

Nestled on the shores of scenic Lake Hawea, a 20-minute drive from Wanaka, the new home by Barry Condon of Condon Scott Architects makes the very most of breathtaking views of the lake and Southern Alps. 

The generous-sized family home is warm and sheltered from the alpine weather, with an aesthetic that is definitively of the area.

“Right from the outset, planning restrictions limited the width and height of the building,” says Condon. 

“Plus, the often-strong winds that come in off the lake had to be taken into account when establishing the shape of the home.”

Addressing these factors, he designed the house in an H configuration. This arrangement allowed the bulk of the building itself to provide shelter from the wind, creating a series of terraces and courtyards that can be enjoyed variously – depending on weather patterns.

The home also responds to its environment in another way – as seen when viewed from above.

“At our first briefing, the owners asked for an interesting roofline visible on approach from the main driveway. This was a challenge as there was a 4.5 metre height restriction over the site.

“To address this, we developed a series of interpassing roof planes. Indoors these create a run of large volumes and smaller, more intimate spaces. Externally, the combination of volumes presents a dynamic roof form to the observer.”

The home’s understated material palette of cedar, local stone, and steel continues from the exterior to the interior, and forms an immediate connection with the landscape. This strong link to the land is furthered by a pair of heavy schist walls which flank the living spaces and contain seating, shelving and a fireplace.

The two rugged stone walls form a pair of organising axes that run through the house  – orienting key spaces towards the views. The feature walls are intended to echo early settler cottages once common to the area, thus adding a sense of history into the fabric of the building.

The architecture embraces the mountain setting in many ways. The living and bedroom spaces are positioned to take full advantage of the wide-spanning vistas, with garaging and utility spaces located to the rear. Together with the schist walls, dynamic cedar ceilings angle the eye towards different aspects of the view.

The home also minimises fuel bills and its impact on the environment by reducing the need for heating and cooling, with thermally broken windows and insulation levels well above code.

Passive solar gain is addressed with louvres and eaves that mitigate the sun’s rays during  the summer months, to prevent overheating.

And equally prepared for the colder winter months, the home’s polished concrete slab acts as a thermal sink, storing the sun’s heat during the day to release it back into the home at night.

Credit list

Plimmer Building Contractors
Cladding and roof
Calder Stewart Heritage Tray; Herman Pacific Weatherboards; schist
Main floor
Polished concrete
Luxaflex, from McKenzie & Willis
Dekton, colour Domoos
Burns & Ferrall
Wolf, from Kouzina Appliances
Liebherr, from Kouzina Appliances
Kitchen lighting
Inlite bespoke slimline black pendant, made in Belgium, from Radcliffes and Lake Wanaka Electrical
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) New Homes – Highly Commended
Interior design
Condon Scott Architects
Kitchen manufacturer
Mt Iron Joinery Wanaka
Kitchen cabinetry
2-pot lacquer paint finish – Resene Triple White Pointer
Painted glass, by Aspiring Glass
Hansgrohe, from Plumbing World
Steam oven
Miele; Fisher & Pykel DishDrawer
Kitchen floor
Pro Plank Prime Oak smooth, by Wanaka Wood Floors

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Simon Larkin

24 May, 2020

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