Hidden Hills Development

Located in the 'Hidden Hills' development of Wanaka, this home sits on a two-acre lot and boasts stunning views of the hills overlooking Lake Wanaka. The architectural design prioritises sustainability and privacy while following the site's natural contours.

The house's owner, a winemaker, initially wanted the house buried into the site but instead decided to follow Passivhaus design principles to achieve high sustainability and environmental performance. Architectural Designer Andrew Simpson explains that the site presented challenges as it slopes towards the south. This, coupled with the requirement of privacy, resulted in design features of a series of intricately composed spaces that flow from and double back on each other, creating an arrangement of niches, frames, and habitable areas.

The house is essentially a courtyard home with planning that has evolved from traditional Japanese ideals of the 'house as a garden.' Using rammed earth, various timbers, and zinc-coated aluminium materials provides durability and low maintenance and evokes a sense of the house being bedded into the landscape. The interior palette prioritises sustainability and comfort, with recycled timbers and stained strand board used in the kitchen elements and other areas.

The materials have been carefully selected for their sustainability contributions, with thermal mass provided by the rammed earth and the low-maintenance nature of the timbers. The home's thermal performance is also enhanced by German-manufactured triple glazing and heat pump technology, in line with Passivhaus guidelines.

The rammed earth is a standout feature of the design, providing a quiet, contemplative space that binds the home to the landscape. Overall, the resulting design maximises views, achieves a high level of sustainability, and creates an inviting and comfortable home for the owner.