TWIN PEAK HOUSE - Queenstown
Located between Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown and ‘The Remarkables’ mountain
range, the Twin Peak house draws inspiration from its wider landscape.
The client’s brief was to design a beautifully simple home which was, functional,
energy efficient and flooded with natural light. The house had to be positioned to
capture the stunning Jack’s Point views.
DESIGN FEATURES AND CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
In response to the brief and the tapered shape of the site, we started off with two
pavilions that ran parallel to the northern and southern boundaries. This approach
resulted in an overlap of both structures. The intersecting part of the north wing
was sliced off and made space for the central entrance and foyer. This naturally
developed roof form is a contextual response to the outstanding alpine landscape.
Upon entry, a sense of space and connection with the outdoors is evident. This
was achieved with high raking ceilings and large clerestory windows, carefully
placed to take in the rugged peak views. At the rear of the home, we created two
north facing sheltered, private courtyard areas that connect to the living, kitchen
We specified natural Larch cladding for this project because of its beautiful silvergrey
colour when aged, rustic clean look, exceptional durability and zeromaintenance
qualities. To further enhance the overall simple form and clean lines,
a rainscreen-like facade was developed to conceal gutters and downpipes behind
Schist is a traditional material that dominates the region. It also has great thermal mass
properties, so it made sense to embed the fireplace into the schist feature
wall in the living area. As this wall is facing ‘The Remarkables’, there had to be a
visual connection to the mountain peak behind it and the sky above. We
concluded that using a schist wall at the base of this window would further
enhance the sense of connection and create a space that is in tune with its wider
Quite high on the list of client’s objectives was a very high level of thermal
performance. Generally, the amount of largely sized openings would have had the
potential to cause significant heat losses. To counteract this, we introduced our
clients to a German window manufacturer who is a trusted supplier that has
provided a top-quality product for several of our other projects. This supplier
custom built triple glazed tilt and turn joinery that was also made from Larch for
an overall cohesive look.
The supplied airtight joinery had a standard R value of 1.66, which is more than 6
times the minimum NZBC requirement. Surprisingly, this decision had no negative
effect on the budget when compared to locally sourced aluminium joinery, but it
reduced the overall heating demand of the home by approximately 50%.
A fully insulated concrete floor provided enough thermal mass to absorb the solar
energy through the full height windows and doors. An energy efficient hydronic
underfloor heating system was installed to take the edge off during the cold
In conclusion, this home is well equipped to withstand the harsh Central Otago
climate with a minimum of operational energy use. Its design features and
appearance are congruent with the clients brief and it connects and reflects the
natural beauty of the Central Otago landscape.