Wyuna House - +MAP Architects | ArchiPro

Wyuna House

The client’s passion for architecture and a unique brief formed the basis of this incredible home that sits in the landscape of Glenorchy.

Picturesque views surround the home with Lake Wakatipu on one side, and the Humboldt Mountain range on the other. To another side sits established Mānuka trees.

“You approach the house from the eastern side of the trees, and the view reveals itself once you get to the building platform,” says +MAP Architect’s Sam Fastier.

This sense of journey continues throughout the property.

“The client had a long career in Singapore and he really wanted the house to feel like a meandering journey with a series of pavilions that project out into the view.”

The other part of the design brief was to take inspiration from Richard Neutra’s Palm Spring villas, paired with Central Otago’s rustic materiality.

To reflect the area’s vernacular, a real emphasis was placed on using low maintenance materials that complement the surrounding natural colours and textures.

“We decided early on to have the strategy of only using materials that would change, patina gracefully and allow the house to feel like it was established as part of that wider landscape with the passing of time.”

Exterior cedar cladding and schist stone answer to this, and are continued through to the home’s internal spaces.

“We didn’t want the interior materials to detract from the view,” says Sam. “So it’s a restrained palette of white walls and natural materiality detailed in a rustic style that makes it feel like it’s part of the Central Otago aesthetic.”

Slate pavements and oversized timbers have been used on key architectural elements to help the home establish itself as part of the local character, and provide a sense of timelessness and endurance in a severe and unforgiving environment – the house offering a retreat from the elements.

“On entry to the house, it’s a vestibule of calm internalised focus that really offers a sense of relief from the surrounding vastness of the landscape in an extreme climate. When you arrive, you’re shut off from the view, allowing you to start the architectural journey through the house.”

Articulated by three pavilions, the two outer pavilions are private from the rest of the home, while the main living areas are centred in the floorplan.

The main bedroom is an oasis with its own fireplace and a sauna that overlooks Mount Alfred and Glenorchy. Unlike other areas of the home that look out over each other, here there is total privacy.

“The idea between these three pavilions being separated, is that they create these sheltered outdoor spaces which nestle in between the projecting forms,” says Sam. “Transparent galleries meander between the pavilions and allow the circulation to take its time and enjoy a stronger connection to the wider context.”

The glazed sections of the structure connect the pavilions and offer refuge along the way.

Another architectural highlight of the project – the aspect of the build that is Sam’s favourite, but that also proved to be the most challenging – is the ceiling of the open-plan kitchen, living and dining space. Here, oversized solid hardwood rafters appear to float.

“They were just an extraordinary feat of engineering and logistics to install because of their sheer size, and you really only get one chance with them because they are such a large, difficult material to work with precisely. But they turned out to be a powerful architectural feature in that space and because of that we didn’t need to introduce too many other materials – they do all of the work.”

These beams are able to be experienced from both the interior and exterior thanks to the windows that have been placed on either side of each.

“We’ve detailed them in a way to give them as much presence as possible and to really express the construction and structure of the house,” says Sam.

By running the beams as a continuous architectural element from inside to out, the durability of the material in its environment is highlighted. And with the considered use of materials in this home, the structure will only continue to establish itself further within the environment – allowing the covered hillsides and mountains beyond to continue being the focal point.

Words: Cassie Birrer

Photography by Marina Mathews 

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The exterior materiality borrows from the tones and textures of the surrounding environment.
Glazed sections of the structure connect the pavilions and offer refuge along the way.
To one side of the home is a picturesque view of Lake Wakatipu.
Wyuna House takes inspiration from Richard Neutra’s Palm Spring villas, paired with Central Otago’s rustic materiality.
The beams are a continuous architectural element from inside to out.
The fireplace is clad in schist stone, following in from the exterior.
The main living area is centred in the floorplan.
A drinks area in the open-plan living space is perfect for entertaining, and can be hidden away when not in use.
Part of the master suite, a sauna overlooks Mount Alfred and Glenorchy.
The main bedroom is an oasis with its own fireplace.
A restrained palette of white walls and natural materiality detailed in a rustic style makes the home feel like it’s part of the Central Otago aesthetic.