Coming together under its gabled roof silhouette, Wanaka House is a timber-lined enveloping occasional home situated in the mountainous Wanaka region. Pac Studio combines refined details with a familiar cabin aesthetic to create a hospitable gathering-place.
Taking heed from the region’s popularity as a mountain destination, Wanaka House sits comfortably within the New Zealand cabin vernacular. Clad in darkened timber and lined internally in a lighter-stained variation, the structure sees three connected but geometrically differing forms come together. The two prominent gable roof silhouettes combine with a chisel roof to create three internal courtyards, offering both shelter and outdoor gathering spaces. Pac Studio’s refined approach to detailing elevates the traditional cabin, whose familiar materiality and form the home references.
Built by Dunlop Builders, together with engineering by Sullivan Hall and landscaping by Pac Studio, Wanaka House sits as a small but mighty 150 square-metre footprint. While modest in size, it can accommodate ten people overnight and is conceived as a place to celebrate being social. As a place designed for gathering and entertaining, the project was informed by the client’s culinary background, placing emphasis on the art of preparing and sharing food. The exterior courtyards become extensions of the internal zones, allowing a connection beyond the building envelope. The north-facing courtyard adjacent the dining and living area houses a carved angular concrete fire. The kitchen also connects to a functioning garden, enclosed by a steel structure that to train the grape leaves over. The third courtyard then connects to the bunk rooms and its east facing aspect avoids excessive solar gain while also creating an element of privacy.
Although deliberate, the irregularity of the roofline rhythm is intended to reflect the ad-hoc rooflines of the traditional settlements commonly known in such regions. Externally, the forms are clad in timber weatherboards with a contrasting muted green corrugated metal sheeted roof accentuating the formality of the home. Internally, the approach is cooler yet based on similar robust principles, with terrazzo, polished concrete, plywood and a variety of timbers. The transition from the indoors to the outdoor courtyards is marked by the tapering from a solid concrete flooring, to more random stone pavers sourced locally, until it intersects naturally with the surrounding natural grasses. Throughout, the combination of the familiar and expected elements are then intercepted with refined metal detailing and well-resolved tactile joinery elements to heighten the lived experience.
While modest in size, it can accommodate ten people overnight and is conceived as a place to celebrate being social. As a place designed for gathering and entertaining, the project was informed by the client’s culinary background, placing emphasis on the art of preparing and sharing food.
Wanaka House is an unassuming yet hospitable occasional home, designed to facilitate moments of connection – both between people and to the outdoors. Pac Studio displays an intuitive sense for when to embrace the familiar forms, materiality and rustic nature of the traditional cabin typology and when to inject elements of refinement, creating an occasional home that is just the right balance of comfortably humble and enticing luxurious.