Simplicity and Drama – Wanaka Wedge House by Actual Architecture Co
Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand
Responding to its dramatic and embracing landscape, Wanaka Wedge House is a bold insertion, sweeping upward from the earth and opening to carefully placed apertures above. With restraint and considered rigour, Actual Architecture Co curates a home inspired by both simplicity and drama, deeply connected to place.
Sitting remotely on its own ridge, Wanaka Wedge House feels both sculptural and responsive. In taking cues from the surrounding sloping alps, the dramatic form sweeps upward, creating opportunities for unique internal spaces, while also carving itself as an inimitable shelter in its location. Situated in Central Otago, in New Zealand’s South Island, the form is the inspiration for its namesake and seemingly grows upward out of the earth, opening to the expansive and enviable landscape it is immersed within. As the home to international musicians, the inherent sense of movement in melodies is captured in this form, ensuring the home is the ultimate expression of its owners. Actual Architecture Co combines a heightened approach to detailing together with a measured restraint, ensuring an uninterrupted linear language does not compete with the engulfing surroundings.
Each opening has been carefully conducted to frame a view outward, and its scale has been considered based on the size of the room and its use, resulting in a series of asymmetrical and unique glazed elements.
Built by Colebrook and Co, Wanaka Wedge House is befitting of its place. It is both grand and expressive, while also capturing the spirit of its context through form. Clad in dark grey corrugated metal panels, there is a deliberate sharpness and robustness that meets the challenging climatic conditions it is situated in. In its location, the structure is prone to high sweeping winds and stark changes in weather throughout the year and ensuring a weighted strength and anchoring to the earth was, therefore, imperative. The steep angle of the form purposefully comes to a point as it intersects with the landscape, which is then built up to encourage a blurring of lines between the natural and the built.
As a place of restorative respite, and as a front seat to watch the landscape from while being protected from its elements, the interior is a place of calm. In the use of curved timber elements that wrap up from the flooring to the walls and ceiling and the use of neutral tonality, the home is both contemporary and complementary to the surrounding nature. As a place to entertain, the planning is decidedly open, with flexible and moveable features that allow for compartmentalisation for guests. Each opening has been carefully conducted to frame a view outward, and its scale has been considered based on the size of the room and its use, resulting in a series of asymmetrical and unique glazed elements.
The steep angle of the form purposefully comes to a point as it intersects with the landscape, which is then built up to encourage a blurring of lines between the natural and the built.
Wanaka Wedge House beautifully engages with its incredible landscape and through its confidence and boldness of form, Actual Architecture Co has inserted a welcomed response that adds to the landscape in so many emboldened ways.