Project's Summary

A Home by Lake Hawea: Balancing Views and Weather

Nestled on the shores of Lake Hawea, a mere twenty-minute drive from Wanaka, lies a family home that captures the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding Southern Alps while also providing a warm and comfortable shelter from the weather. Designed by Condon Scott Architects, this house is a stunning example of how a building can capitalise on its natural surroundings while remaining functional and practical.

The area's planning restrictions and unpredictable weather patterns posed a challenge for the architects, who had to balance the need for an aesthetically pleasing design with the practicalities of building a home that could withstand the elements. The resulting house is arranged in an 'H' configuration, with the bulk of the building protecting the house from the strong winds that come in off the lake. This innovative design creates a series of terraces and courtyards that can be enjoyed depending on the weather.

The house's exterior is an understated blend of cedar, local stone, and steel, which creates a seamless connection with the surrounding landscape. The interior of the home carries on this theme, with the same materials used to create a warm and inviting space. A pair of heavy schist walls that flank the living areas provide seating, shelving, and a fireplace, creating a cosy and functional space that is perfect for family living.

The schist walls also serve to orientate the house towards the breathtaking views of the lake and Southern Alps, forming a pair of organising axis that run through the home. This design feature echoes the early settler's cottages that are common to the area, adding a sense of history and tradition to the new building. The resulting home is a beautiful and functional space that perfectly balances the stunning natural surroundings with the needs of modern family living.

In conclusion, the Lake Hawea House project is an excellent example of how a building can be designed to take full advantage of its natural surroundings while remaining practical and functional. The 'H' configuration and use of heavy schist walls create a space that is both sheltered from the wind and oriented towards the stunning views of the lake and Southern Alps. The understated exterior and interior materials create a seamless connection with the surrounding landscape, while the use of historical design elements adds a sense of tradition and history to the new building. Overall, this is a truly stunning family home that perfectly balances form and function.

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