Lake Hāwea House






Lake Hāwea, NZ


Simon Larkin, Simon Devitt & Rachael McKenna


Finalist – Residential Award – DINZ Best Awards (Designers Institute of NZ)


Highly Commended – NZ Architecturally Designed New Home of the Year – TIDA (Trends International Design Awards)


Shortlisted – Housing Award – 2019 NZIA Southern Architecture Awards


Highly Commended 2019 TIDA Homes Awards


Finalist 2019 DINZ Best Awards

Located on the shores of Lake Hāwea, twenty minutes’ drive from Wanaka, this newly constructed house capitalises on breathtaking views of the lake and Southern Alps, while creating a family home that is warm and sheltered from the weather, with an aesthetic that is definitively of the area.

Planning restrictions limited the width and height of the building, and the often strong winds that come in off the lake had to be taken into account when establishing the shape of the house. Arranged in an ‘H’ configuration, the bulk of the building protects the house from the wind, creating a series of terraces and courtyards that can be occupied depending on weather patterns.

An understated palette of cedar, local stone, and steel continues from the exterior to the interior of the home, forming connections with the landscape. This is furthered by a pair of heavy schist walls, which flank the living spaces and contain seating, shelving and a fireplace. These walls are orientated to the view and form a pair of organising axis that run through the house. They echo early settler’s cottages that are common to the area, establishing a sense of history in the fabric of the new building.

Cedar ceilings angle the eye towards different aspects of the view. The living and bedroom spaces are positioned to take full advantage of the wide-spanning vistas. Garaging and utility spaces are located to the rear.

The house is designed to reduce the need for heating and cooling, with thermally broken windows and insulation levels well above code. Passive solar gain has been taken into account with louvres and eaves that can be utilised in the summer months to prevent overheating. A heated polished concrete slab acts as a thermal sink in the winter.