The privilege of living in Central Otago’s dramatic landscape often means making design compromises. Subdivisions in the region tend to have strict covenants – usually requiring gabled roof lines and the use of stone, all of it solidly anchored to the ground by a thick concrete slab.
Louise and Justin Wright of Arrowtown’s Assembly Architects were given a welcome opportunity to dodge the pitfalls and clichés of big Queenstown houses: the chance to work for a client with a passion for midcentury modernism and a collection of mid-century furniture, in a subdivision with relaxed design rules. Their response – a flat-roofed, modernist-inspired family home – sits delicately in the landscape, rather than trying to impose itself.
Taking cues from classics such the ‘Kaufmann’ house in Palm Springs by Richard Neutra, the roof gives the house its defining line; a horizontal marker designed so “it doesn’t break the ridgeline of the landscape beyond” in the way a gable would, says Louise. The modernist roots are clear: elegant lines, simple forms and a limited range of materials.
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