A beautiful house grounded within an extraordinary landscape setting, Matagouri House provides an immediate visual impact without taking away from the natural beauty of the surrounding environment. Removed from the urban centre of Queenstown, New Zealand, the home sits between two natural mounds in the surrounding tussock at the foot of The Remarkables mountain range and the edge of Lake Wakatipu.
Sitting upon a plateau that lies within a broader curtilage of land, interior spaces are laid out around a sheltered courtyard under an engineered timber roof plane. The main living area of the beautiful house is considered a peninsula, a singular wide space that wraps around a protected courtyard. This courtyard has a strong sense of gravity for the overall composition of the land as it accesses the public wings of the building, including the kitchen and dining area. Bedrooms are upstairs – the elevated position and the interior design of the rooms nurture the aspect beyond the roof.
As such, the powerful landscape setting is integral to the form and overall design of the beautiful house. Fearon Hay Architects draws on this in an interesting way to develop an occupation at a scale that feels comfortable for the residents. To do this they moderate the way the house captures the view, with areas removing the view entirely – the outlook is taken away and then re-presented for its impact to be fully understood.
The beautiful house remains exquisitely immersed in the landscape. For example, the engineered timber roof plane carries a planted tussock green rooftop garden and is shaped to marry into the natural landforms. The way the home and the landscape blend into one also enables a strong sense of historic occupation. The architecture of the building isn’t read as a new structure but is instead embedded in the landscape as if it has been developed over time.
This theme continues in the home’s interior design with a palette and materiality that reflects the landscape. Timber and muted, earthy tones dominate throughout and masonry is influenced by the surrounding rock formations. In terms of furniture, a ‘shaker design’ concept was employed, which is the idea of functional interior components that can be integrated within the beautiful house. The specification of planting on the garden roof is also influenced by the surrounding topography.
Matagouri House looks outwards to its perimeter and natural environment to inform its very essence. The locally sourced engineered timber structure and planted roof strategies respond to the ambition for a sustainable, responsible architecture within this harsh alpine environment. It is the way the beautiful house relates to its striking setting that reveals its true power – a home that feels as remote and barren as the surrounding landscape yet maintains a sense of sanctuary and comfort.
00:00 – Introduction
00:18 – The Location of Matagouri
00:38 – The Design Process
01:23 – Defining Themes
01:56 – Inspiration Behind the Rooftop Garden
02:32 – The Client and The Brief
03:14 – The Composition of the Home
03:55 – Reflecting The Landscape
04:47 – Aspirations For The Future
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Photography by Sam Hartnett.
Architecture and Interior Design by Fearon Hay Architects.
Interior Design by Dawdy Brown.
Build by Bayshore Builders.
Landscape by o2 Landscapes.
Geotechnical Engineering by GeoSolve.
Structural Engineering by Cuthbert Ashmore Consultants.
Filmed and Edited by Cadre and Nick Stevenson.
Production by The Local Project.
The Local Project acknowledges Māori as tangata whenua and Treaty of Waitangi partners in Aotearoa New Zealand. We recognise the importance of Indigenous peoples in the identity of our respective countries and continuing connections to Country and community. We pay our respect to Elders, past and present and extend that respect to all Indigenous people of these lands.
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