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The view from the top of Queenstown Hill is truly breathtaking. However, its extremely steep gradient was certainly an issue for the architect Francis Whitaker.

“It’s an exceptionally difficult site – extremely steep,” says Francis Whitaker. “It’s the uppermost section of the highest subdivision in Queenstown, so it can never be built out. However, there was a problem – we had no flat land to build on.” Whitaker’s solution was to design a long narrow form, just one room wide, and partially submerge it into the hillside – following the contours of the land.

“We had no brief from our clients for the look of the house, but because of the spatial requirements and a large number of rooms, the house simply became a series of narrow layers emerging out of the ground,” the architect Whitaker says. “The building actually generated itself. It’s the only way it could exist.”

The topmost floor is effectively a one-bedroom, glass-fronted house, with huge indoor and outdoor living areas, and an even more expansive view. This upper level is visually much lighter than the floors below, which give it the effect of floating in the sky above Queenstown. The Atlantic48™ system visually frames the upper level through a robust aesthetic and precision detailing from; rebated Eurostacker™ doors with consistent equal height rails through to large Malta™ ‘D’ Pull handles.

“Overall, it’s a planar design, with enormous concrete floor plates, supported by stone-clad concrete walls and chimneys that break through the floors, creating an extremely forceful composition,” says Whitaker. “The top floor is a steel and glass pavilion – again punctuated by the schist columns – with a pop-up roof. The raised roof contributes to a high four-metre stud in this area and admits more light thanks to the Clerestory windows directly underneath it.”


Location - Queenstown
Architect / Designer - Mason & Wales
Industry Sector - Residential
Systems - Atlantic48™
Products - Eurostacker™ Doors, Clerestory Windows
Fabricator - Vistalite Invercargill - Lewis Windows

Vistalite™ Windows and Doors
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Since 1973 Vistalite™ have offered practical window and door solutions for the New Zealand landscape.

From the early 1970s, Vistalite™ could be described as the friendly brand of joinery. Its systems are modern in design and meet and exceed all New Zealand standards for windows and doors.

The key difference that Vistalite™ offers is its people. The friendly professionals are more than happy to explain all the intricacies of windows and doors using non-technical language so the customer can be assured that they are getting exactly what they are after. Vistalite™ takes pride in listening to its customers and produces quality products that are customized to meet their customer’s specific needs.

We're experts in windows and doors and a licensed fabricator of Altus Window Systems.

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