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Shotover House


Queenstown, New Zealand


(Received as Director of Thom Craig Architect)

NZIA Regional Award

Queenstown is dominated by the brooding mountains that encircle it, and houses here tend to reflect and respond to this rocky, angular landscape. And in ways this house is no different. Indeed, its undulating triangular form, made even more distinct by a seamless skin of thin cedar boards, seems to be mimicking the mountains even better than most. Even though this project did take cues from the surrounding landscape, the inspiration came from a much lower-lying element – the river.

The Shotover River twists alongside the house, and the way the form of the river changed as the tributaries knitted through sandbars and streams is fascinating. The idea of the braiding of the river became interesting in planning the house. By cranking the plan, by braiding it, it broke p the house and refracted the land.

The resulting plan entwines around its site, forking off in two directions at the entry, doubling back on itself to form a central courtyard, and bending itself to maximise the light, while also providing moments of shelter and relief from the wind. Not only is there a horizontal similarity with the braided arms of the river, but this weaving and fracturing has been drawn into the vertical elements to create differing ceiling heights with aslant corners of roof.

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