Set in the foothills of The Remarkables mountain range (Queenstown, New Zealand) this private residence engages an uncompromising and breathtakingly beautiful landscape with an equally uncompromising architecture. Resolutely grounded in its site, the structure is anchored at four points but arches to bridge a natural watercourse bisecting the site.
To the east, the mountains present an imposing backdrop. To the west, the site descends to the lake edge, offering long views of sheer cliffs meeting the water line. Here, the climate and weather is highly variable - a consequence of the great openness of the lake meeting the enclosure of the mountain range. The wind comes from all directions. At times the sun hides behind the mountain ridge. And then it reflects intensely off the lake. In winter we're snow-bound. In summer there's a glorious pasture of native ground cover and wetland flora.
This landscape is all-encompassing. In this context, the architecture shapes a series of interior and exterior spaces responding to particular and contrasting experiences, views, and climatic conditions. The building form strongly establishes and delineates the various opportunities for enclosure and inhabitation both internally and around its built perimeter. The building and the fall of the land are both carefully shaped to integrate the house with the site. Interior spaces are created through a lifting up of the natural ground plane, revealing sites for various experiences of the landscape - sitting in the spa looking at the snow covered mountains, hovering above the watercourse viewing the lake, embedding oneself within the ground.
The material palette is derived of the surrounding geology--stone, glass, metal all are born from the earth and speak of a timescale greater than the human experience. The solidity and permanence of walls are married with the transparency and movement of vast glazed openings.