House of the week: Arrowtown

Last updated 05:00 02/10/2013

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The rustic good looks of Arrowtown's traditional cottages have inspired a contemporary family home that sits well its dramatic surroundings.

Architectural Designer Gary Todd says his design was never about "recreating something" - instead he wanted to produce a house that paid homage to the past while looking towards the future.

The result, a stylish cluster of pavilions with clean lines and elegance suited to the area's extreme climatic diversity, has drawn global attention.

The house is formed from three pavilions, a living, kitchen, dining pavilion, a sleeping pavilion and a garage and guest pavilion with flexible linkages.

"The whole house is about durability in terms of life cycle use and passive design," Todd says. "It's
incredibly well constructed with attention to detail in terms of sustainability."

It's that detail that sets this home apart. The ceilings have a negative detail, with LED strip lighting that glows at night, allowing soft light to wash down the copper blade walls or up schist walls creating a stunning ambiance.

The schist around the fire is repeated in the kitchen with schist which extending to the outside creating a permeable connection between inside and outside.

"The schist stone, cedar and copper are like blades running through the building, there's a transparency created by glazed bifold doors with the material use from the inside to the outside and beyond, so the whole building is connected to its environment, the park-like setting, rolling lawns, tress and in the distance native bush and the rocky mountain range of the Remarkables," Todd says.

Within the main pavilion is the living area, dining and kitchen, with a separate galley prep kitchen. The office sits tucked behind the schist fire surround.

The sleeping pavilion has the main bedroom ensuite and dressing room and two children's bedrooms, plus a shared ensuite with attic playroom connected via pull-down stairs.

The third pavilion has double garaging, laundry, guest bedroom, ensuite and above another guest bedroom, bathroom and living area linked to the attic play space.

Quality is apparent everywhere, in details like the jarrah inlays in the polished concrete floor with exposed Shotover river gravel (with the same aggregate is used outside in a coarser version for paving). The cedar board and batten textured cladding is painted a deeper shade than the Eurotray ironsand roofing; the copper effect on exposed beams and jarrah joinery provides warmth in the interior.

"There is a lot of transparency in the house so you can see through from the inside to out and a flow of space and light," says Todd. "The stud height, at 2.7 metres, rises to over three metres so you capture the full height skyline vistas.

"This is a house that sits in the natural and built environment perfectly fine, and that's what we as a society should be aiming for and achieving."


Architectural Designer: Gary Todd Architecture Ltd.

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Materials: Cedar weather boards, Gibbston Valley schist, Eurotray roofing, aluminium double glazed joinery, exposed concrete aggregate, jarrah timber, painted gib board.

Energy efficiency: Concrete and stone thermal mass, polystyrene insulated concrete floors and walls, double glazing, fibreglass batt insulation double the building code.

Done right: The style of the architecture shows respect for the built and natural environment, the climate and the architectural history of Arrowtown.

Done wrong: "There has never been a comment that anything is wrong," says Todd. "The client has no regrets but then everything was well considered between us all."

Unexpected: The copper effect on inside blade walls, achieved by the owners playing with two different metallic paint systems to get the desired unique aged paint effect.

Recommend: Invest in a high quality design and construction to ensure our building stock in the future is the highest quality for generations to inherit and enhance.

Next Time: The same philosophy will still be applicable next time.

- © Fairfax NZ News


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