Client Brief

This holiday home is located on a small sloping site in Queenstown adjacent a Council Reserve Forest North, with outstanding landscape views to Lake Wakatipu and The Remakables mountain range South, Frankton Airport South East, with neighbouring residences close East and West and driveway South.

Our brief was to create a contemporary residence with a different feel to our client’s urban city lifestyle to provide for both relaxation and entertaining. The home was to have multiple levels to accommodate use by family or guests with a strong connection to the natural surroundings providing maximum views from as many rooms as possible. The client desired a large open plan living space for 12 people that extended to different outdoor areas for different occasions. The client preferred various zones for services, guest, family and living with crisply detailed modern spacious interiors including natural materials and colour shades of black and white suitable for an elegant fit out that did not detract from the views.

Creative Solution & Design Features

The house has four levels with the terraced built form emerging from the rock strata to cascade down the site. The central core of lift and stair features glass used extensively to create a light well and natural ventilation within the interiors horizontally and vertically. Space planning is arranged with axial view shafts to create a permeable building to provide privacy whilst maximising views and overcoming the challenge of a south-facing site that has restricted northern sunlight. The open plan living area on level 3 is enhanced by stacking sliding doors North and South that link to outdoor decks and provide a transparency of space for entertaining that enhances the connection of spaces and views.

Materials reference each other in design and their surroundings with shuttered timber concrete walls reflecting the texture of timber wall linings, floors, decks and forest trees. Large format tiled floors and walls reference mountains and exposed rock featured in the garage and in the base of gardens and pools. Extensive rock excavated for the terraced levels was reused for gardens around the house and on reserve land achieved by resource consent approval.

The principles of Biophilic Architecture were used to allow the client to engage closer with nature indoors and outdoors as a sensory experience of smell, sight, sound and touch from the Foyer throughout the interiors to the roof top. A waterfall was created in the rockery garden to fall from the forest brook to outdoor pond, then visually extend as an internal waterfall down the stairwell to foyer ponds. Roof gardens and Entry vertical garden walls add a scented connection to nature.

  • Level 1: Entry Court, Foyer, Lift, Stair, Garage, Service Rooms and Guest rooms connected to the driveway
  • Level 2: Family Bedrooms, Bathrooms,Office, Media Room with connection to Decks and Outdoor Sauna, and Spa
  • Level 3: Wine room, Powder room, Indoor and Outdoor Kitchens, Dining areas and Lounges for relaxation and entertaining
  • Level 4: Teppanyaki Bar and Yoga deck for relaxation and entertaining with a panoramic view


Trends International Design Award New Zealand Architect New Home of the Year 2018

Judges Comment: “A striking architectural design that makes the most of its stunning site but this is much more than just a modern, crisp looking home. Architect Gary Todd has used the principles of Biophilia to underpin the design - allowing the house and its owners to be fully connected to all aspects of the natural surroundings. The result is a house that is full of sensual surprises”



Home Trends Magazine (vol. 34/5)

Project details

  • Completion:


  • Location:


Contact Us

Gary Todd Architecture


18 Estuary Crescent
Fairfield, Dunedin

Head Office: 03 488 4594

Central Otago

62 Lagoon Avenue
Albert Town, Wanaka

Gary Todd: 027 279 9306


53b Edward Avenue
Edgeware, Christchurch

Courtney Todd: 027 388 6504

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