Steep building sites raise numerous issues for architects, but these are usually more than offset by great views.
This Queenstown project is a case in point. Designer Sue Hillery says the site has a particularly steep 40° slope, which added to the challenge of planning a large holiday house with a swimming pool and outdoor living areas.
"While maximising the view was an obvious priority, there was also a need to ensure there was plenty of natural light, including direct sun. The house faces southeast, which is not ideal for sunlight."
Hillery says the solution was to design a long, two-storey volume with a cantilevered concrete lap pool on the lower level. The site was levelled at the rear to create an outdoor terrace on the northwest side of the house, in addition to the decks facing the view.
"The terrace and retaining walls are lined with large lava stone tiles that enhance the sense that the house is carved out of the hill," the designer says. "With the cast in situ concrete pool resembling a moat around the bottom, the house is like a bastion a solid, permanent structure on the mountainside."
The terrace, off the main living room, incorporates a built-in gas fire and reflection pool, and is an alternative sheltered outdoor living area. Additional protection from weather extremes in winter and summer is provided by large overhangs on the exposed elevation.