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With respect to the land, environment considerate house by Scott Architects

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This house by Scott Architects has separate pavillions

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The opportunity to build a residence in an unspoilt natural setting is accompanied by an architectural responsibility to the land. This can include everything from keeping a low profile to the use of local, sustainable materials.

This house, by architect Barry Condon, sits on an outlying peninsula of a lake at the foot of a mountain range, 15km from the nearest town. A popular scenic destination, the point is home to only four other properties, all out of sight of each other. Planning regulations dictated the house maintain a low presence on the landscape and this helped drive the aesthetic, says Condon.

"The site is in front of a glacial escarpment and we designed the home to nestle into a natural hollow at the foot of this. In addition, the house – comprising three pavilions, linked by a rear corridor – changes orientation midway along to skirt a rocky outcrop.

"Essentially, the clean, articulated lines of the residence continue the folds of the hillside, and merge with them visually," says Condon. "In fact, the rear of one pavilion noses into the rock face. Similarly, the multifaceted roof planes echo the angles of the schist rock faces above, and help them blend into each other."

Designing the house in sections also avoided large expanses of wall area, which works to play down the apparent scale of the structure.

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Condon's choice of materials was equally appropriate to the pristine environment.

"The exterior is finished in schist, cedar weatherboards and plaster. Together with the grey steel roof, these present a neutral, natural palette that merges with the surroundings. In addition, these materials evoke the rugged aesthetic appropriate to the alpine setting."

The remote location factored in the material choices in another way, too, says the architect.

"The house is built in hollow poly foam blocks, filled with concrete on site and then plastered. This option made transportation of the building materials to the site much easier."

While the exterior is modern yet rugged, the use of silver beech for the ceilings and floors brings a more cosy interior aesthetic.

The ceilings are a feature of the home. Rustic beams following the rise and fall of the roofline are another reminder of mountains outside.

As well as blending with the environment, the house optimises views to the most dramatic feature at every opportunity. The central living pavilion and two flanking bedroom pavilions all have floor-to-ceiling windows trained on the spectacular 180º views.

The garage is tucked out of sight at the back of the property. From here, the main entry is into the circulation corridor between the central public area and the master bedroom pavilion. This means visitors do not experience the full impact of the outlook until they step right into the living space.

First published date: 19 June 2013

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Credit List

Architect, interior and kitchen designer Barry Condon ANZIA, Sarah Scott ANZIA, Sarah Scott Architects (Wanaka, New Zealand)
Builder Tony Quirk Builders
Cladding 28mm cedar weatherboards
Roofing Calder Stewart
Flooring Southland beech from Lindsay & Dixon
Wall coverings Sto plaster system, Brown Bros
Paints and varnishes Resene
Doors and windows APL by Designwindows
Skylights Velux
Window and door hardware Knobs 'n Knockers
Blinds Window Treatments
Fireplace Custom Jetmaster from The Fireplace
Kitchen cabinetry, benchtops, splashback McMaster Joinery
Kitchen sink Butlers Sinks
Taps SpazioCasa
Refrigeration Samsung
Oven, cooktop, ventilation Ilve
Microwave Panasonic
Dishwasher Bosch