Residential ArchitectureHousesTe Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape

Architects: Stevens Lawson Architects
Project: Te Kaitaka House
Location: Lake Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand
Photography: Mark Smith Photography

Te Kaitaka house is nestled amongst the tussock covered hills of Roy’s Peninsula on the shores of Lake Wanaka, in the South Island of New Zealand. It is situated on the edge of Te Wahipounamu / Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area and Mt Aspiring National Park. The area is renowned for it’s dramatic landscape with large valleys, carved out by ancient glaciers, dissecting high mountain ranges. It is also a Mecca for outdoor leisure activities including hiking, fishing and boating in summer and skiing in winter.

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 1

Our approach was to investigate an architectural language in conversation with the natural environment and local building traditions. Abstracted triangulated geometries and origami-like folds and cuts were employed to create a sculptural form that related strongly to the alpine landscape. This was articulated with reference to the forms and textures of the vernacular timber woolsheds of the area.

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 2

Local planning rules required a building platform that was no greater than 25 metres square. Our design process started with a square piece of paper. It was tilted to create a roof plane that mirrored the slope of the land, then trimmed to fit the undulating landform and to create courtyards to the east and west. The roof plane was sliced on the angle and folded up to form sky-lights, the edges were folded down to form walls enclosing the space within.

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 3

In Maori culture the cloak, Te Kaitaka, is a potent symbol of shelter and nurture. A skin of natural cedar cloaks the raw concrete structure, analogous to the tussock draped over the rocky landscape. The weathered camouflage exterior gives way to a cavelike interior, the concrete and stone mass providing a sense of protection from the power of the landscape and the extreme regional climate. This is an intriguing but satisfying reversal of the orthodox material schema of concrete exterior and timber interior.

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 5

The central living area comprises a series of diagonally interlocking spaces which culminate in a cavernous aperture which is carved through to the upper floor, creating a sense of connectedness and spatial fluidity. Shafts of winter sunlight penetrate deep into the space through raised angular skylights and deep framed windows, evoking an almost spiritual atmosphere.

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 6

The roof plane dips low, forming a sheltered Verandah space, framing views to the lake and mountains. The materiality of the building has a tactility and earthy sensuality expressed by the textured concrete walls, rough hewn schist floors, and band sawn oiled timber ceilings. A subtle scent of cedar permeates the space. The Te Kaitaka house is enriched by hand crafted detailing and has been assembled with the skill and precision of a furniture maker.

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 7

The Te Kaitaka house is a sanctuary for our clients, their family and friends. Although generous in its proportions and theatrical in its expression it is also an intimate and sociable home with a sense of informality and an atmosphere of serenity. As a sculptural object within the landscape enfolding a rich interior experience, this house evokes a profound sense of place.

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 8

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 9

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 9

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 11

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 12

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 13

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 14

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 15

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 16

Te Kaitaka House Has a Sculptural Shape Inspired by the Alpine Landscape 17

HDB Apartment in Singapore / IN-EXPAT Group

For this 1,012 sq ft HDB apartment, the challenge was to introduce industrial elements while retaining a polished look. Some of the elements incorporated were white brick walls, cement screed surfaces, a magnetic wall at the kitchen entrance for art and messages, and well-appointed lighting and furniture.

Santa Monica Family Home Connected to Gardens and Areas for Contemplation

This modern family practices togetherness, not hanging out in separate rooms. The architects’ assignment was to design an appealing centralized habitat for all members of the household to use and enjoy.

Blacksmith Workshop Turned into a Family Home in Badalona, Spain

We had the opportunity to work in a blacksmith workshop to turn it into a home. Despite the need to completely change the configuration of space and structure we have tried to preserve the spirit of the workshop, the cranes, the light the systems and the materials.

Family House Jarovce – a House for Grandparents and Nine Grandchildren

The family house is located on the northern edge of the village Jarovce, in a zone of family houses. The site is leveled, with an area of 661 m2. To ensure the optimal use of the property, the house is located in the northern part of the parcel.

Related Articles