"In Central Otago, it’s all about the big picture – the wider landscape that impacts on every aspect of a house design. Since the arrival of the first settlers, the rugged mountain and picturesque lake scenery have helped to determine the architectural vernacular of gabled roof lines and schist stone walls.
This Wanaka house puts a contemporary spin on this tradition. The house comprises a cluster of linked pavilions, with gabled alpine roofs. The roof of the central living pavilion is raised higher than the rest of the house. With clerestory windows along one side and fully glazed gabled ends, the roof appears to float about the house, but at the same time, it is visually anchored by the solid schist stone walls, chimneys, and stone floor.

The materials and construction detailing reflect a philosophy adopted by the firm delivering a sophisticated, contemporary architecture that is both warm and tactile.

Natural materials feature strongly, and include the bagged schist walls, oak-lined ceilings and a granite mantelpiece. Schist also forms the key landscaping material, reinforcing the easy indoor-outdoor connection. Houses in Central Otago have an opportunity to connect with the wider landscape beyond. Large pivoting glass doors in the main living area were the best way to provide an uninterrupted outlook.

The Living Pavilion – and a separate guest wing – open out to loggia-style outdoor living areas that provide plenty of shelter from the heat of the sun and breezes in summer. These loggias face west and overlook the pool and lake.

The glazed ends of the gables allow sunlight into the main living area first thing in the morning and late in the evening.

The contemporary lines of a high-gloss, black-lacquered Arclinea Italian kitchen reflect the light and mountain views that can be seen right through the spine of the house.

ESD initiatives ensure the sunroom, like the rest of the house, is warm in winter. All the windows and doors are double glazed, argon filled, and incorporate e-glass for good insulation.

Other key ESD features include solar water heating. Panels on the roof provide hot water for the house and the pool. The panels alone can keep the pool at a temperature of up to 32°C for six months of the year.

The water heating and insulation systems were developed in conjunction with AirComm Consultants to make the house as energy efficient as possible."

— Colleen Hawkes, Trends Magazine

Mason & Wales Architects
View locations (3)
Get in touch
Visit Website

About the

  • Projects published
  • Recent Responsiveness


    Usually responds within
    24 hours on weekdays

Mason & Wales Architects is an award-winning Registered New Zealand Institute of Architects practice based in the South Island of New Zealand.

Mason & Wales is the first Architectural practice in the country, founded in 1862 by William Mason, the first Architect to live and work in New Zealand and the first Mayor of Dunedin.

During its history the firm has been responsible for the design of a large number of notable buildings throughout New Zealand, and has established valued relationships with clients, consultants and contractors alike.

Mason & Wales work with clients from all over the world on a range of projects of all sizes and types, including Master Planning, Institutional, Hospitality, Commercial, Multi-Residential, Houses and Interiors.

The team works collectively from their Dunedin office, and from Queenstown and Wanaka, with a commitment to making a positive contribution to the built environment. Mason & Wales designs and delivers architecture which strives to be enduring and sustainable to enrich the lives of our clients and the community.

Mason & Wales have built a reputation on the enduring principles of quality, value and professionalism, which is evident in their portfolio of completed work.