Project: Pouaka Waikura House
Architects: Patterson Associates
Structural Engineering: Hadley Consultants
Landscape Architects: Suzanne Turley Landscapes
Contractor: John Gavin Construction
Design Director: Andrew Patterson
Project Director: Surya Fullerton
Team Members: Harriet Mildon-King, Paul Naude, Rachel Berry
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Area: 456 m2
Photographs: Simon Wilson
The 1.8-hectare site is a naturally formed terrace snuggled into the gentle north-sloping base of Queenstown Hill, overlooking the untamed Shotover River which disappears around the bend. The clients are staunch locals, having spent most of their life in a modest cottage on the same road. They have owned the site for twenty years; planting and tending to the now mature grapes on the terraces above the site. They sought a permanent home here, a home for a lifestyle of mature years in the country, making wine, and tinkering with old cars.
The concept was presented as a cluster of four robust rectilinear pavilions laid informally along the terrace. Off the form concrete boxes, walls, and parapets wrapped in rusting Corten steel, and blackened steel joinery. The project revealed itself as something akin to a wild-west shanty town. Each pavilion has a distinct, self-sufficient program. The central pavilion includes a bright open living space flanked by a generous kitchen, the clients’ bedroom suite, and their cozy snug.
A separate guest pavilion houses a study and two suites for the family to come and go. The third pavilion creates a drive-through carport, with a small wine production area and wine cellar on one side, and with a wood store and plant room on the other. The fourth: a three-bay garage and workshop.
The external spaces connecting the pavilions are as important as the buildings, sailing Larch timber-lined soffits create covered outdoor living areas, where our clients spend their days with the view from their outdoor tables. The material palette is restrained both inside and out: Corten steel, in the form of natural concrete, blackened steel joinery, and band-sawn Larch timber allow the house to blend into the surrounding landscape. Each material is left to express its own honest and living finish.
The kitchen is dark, with mild steel cabinetry and dark Belgian bluestone bench tops, setting off the view to the river through a shuttered window. The master bedroom is simplified and pared back with a wall of Oregon timber cabinetry concealing wardrobes, a desk, and generous storage.
The home’s materials are meticulously detailed, with flush panels, level thresholds, and concealed drains and services. Junctions in materials are kept to a minimum. The Corten panels are orchestrated in a rhythmic pattern to minimize the waste of the steel sheets. The playful shuttered windows are automated with sensors to create sun shading and ease northern glare whilst allowing natural ventilation. The Pouaka Waikura House is robust but relaxed and is designed to endure and age gracefully.