Lake Brunner House

The brief was to design a generic family holiday home with at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms as a flagship show home at Beechwater Estate on Lake Brunner. The home is the first and was to set the ‘tone’ for the entire development. It was therefore required to also reflect the philosophy of the developers; responsive to the unique and dramatic setting, quality materials and finishes, attention to detail, ecological consideration and enduring design in a newly created community.

The fickle West Coast climate is legendary – It can rain endlessly, be breathtakingly still and sunny, and serve up all the seasons in a day.

The house has four basic zones; the parent’s or main suite, the children’s wing, the living area separating the two, and the garage/storage/service area. It is perched on the top of a gentle ridge overlooking the lake and mountain peaks to the south, with access from the north. It is an informal solution with no apparent ‘front door,’ back or front. It extends into the landscape in all directions with large solid and punctured overhangs. Stone walls further connect and anchor it to the earth and its context.

The living zone extends from outside on the northern side through the building and steps down to the ‘outdoor room’ on the southern side – which also captures the main view. This area is bathed in sun by means of a full-length skylight – a steep glazed pitch symbolic of the surrounding mountain peaks. Horizontal stained cedar tones well with the soft hues of the landscape, the aluminium connects with the reflective quality of the lake, and the dark stained timber floors create richness and warmth in what can be a very harsh and unsympathetic environment.