Project: Ruby Ridge House
Architects: Condon Scott Architects
Location: Wanaka, New Zealand
Project size: 290 m2
Completion date 2020
Photographer: Simon Devitt
Text and Photos: Courtesy of Condon Scott Architects
With a bold mask to the suburban street, this house leaves all the pleasure for the people who reside within its walls. Located on an elevated site in a relatively new subdivision overlooking Lake Wanaka, the house is a place to privately and comfortably indulge in the extensive mountain and lake views the alpine town is known for.
Designed by Barry Condon of Condon Scott Architects, Ruby Ridge House is situated on a challenging, wedge-shaped site that borders two suburban streets. With a simple, mono-pitched roof and curve-edged, cedar-clad walls, the dynamic design directs the observer’s view towards the alpine panorama ahead, allowing the homeowners to enjoy their space without the sense of being overlooked.
“The Ruby Ridge site is bordered by suburban streets on two sides so we wanted create a design that would make the occupants of the house feel secure and not over looked from the street” says Barry Condon. “We also wanted to create some outdoor shelter as the site can experience strong seasonal on shore winds. To counter this, we have designed a series of internal courtyards so the occupants can retreat back into these spaces on windy days, effectively using the house as a windbreak whilst still maintaining a visual connection to the view.”
Two types of cedar cladding, with a dark and a warm stain, accentuate the lines of the windows and roof. Boardform concrete contrasts with the timber, and both materials spill into the interiors, providing a visual consistency inside and out.
The living space is configured around courtyards that are sheltered, private, and flow seamlessly from the interiors, with the body of the house providing both a windbreak and a visual barrier. Linked through stacking aluminum sliders, these courtyards are an extension of the living space and can be enjoyed year-round, with a boardform concrete outdoor fireplace for cooler nights. The front deck also flows easily from the living area, with the French oak floorboards appearing to merge with the Kwila decking.
Living spaces and bedrooms are located in the sun-soaked northern wing of the house, where the view is at its best. In the southern wing, the architect has located the garaging, guest bunkrooms and ancillary spaces.
“It was a challenging site to work with, but we knew the view would be paramount to the design,” says Barry Condon. “From the moment of entry into the foyer at the rear of the house, the space compresses and you are drawn through into the living room, with your eye focussed on the mountains and lake beyond.”