4 – Queenstown House-1

Birchwood House, Queenstown


KA architects was asked to design a four bedroom house on a near level site outside the South Island resort city of Queenstown.
The clients were moving to Queenstown from their Auckland, Greenhithe home, also designed by KA 13 years ago. The brief called for a highly sustainable house.
Using our decades of experience in passive solar design resulted in a light and airy, naturally comfortable house that looks out onto a large N facing garden with mountains beyond.
A key design decision was the “butterfly” roof. One of the two roof planes, over the “service spaces”, tilted to the North to become the solar PV “energy plant” for the house. The second roof plane, over the N facing “people” spaces, tilted to the South to allow winter sun access deep into the building while providing ample summer shading due to the wide eaves. The central gutter collects the rainwater discharged into in-ground tanks for re-use. Central to the house is a conservatory that also acts as a winter “heatsink”. All spaces are naturally ventilated, backed up by mechanical ventilation, with pre-heated fresh air for the winter months.
The structure is timber framed on an insulated concrete slab which creates passive solar winter heating and summer cooling. In-slab piped hot water heating provides winter back up heating. The external 140 mm framing accommodates a high level of insulation and is clad in vertical timber weatherboards that are stained to resemble weathered driftwood.
The outer skin has a different colour than the flesh, resembling a fruit such as a watermelon. The building has a light stained outer skin, with dark stained timber cladding and dark aluminium joinery to any surfaces recessed (the flesh) from the outer skin.
The end result is a very sculptural building, in a breathtakingly beautiful natural environment.