2 Forestlines Road 13 2



Graham Roebeck / Dowling Construction & Development Ltd

7. New Zealand specialty timber award

Photographed by: 
Wild Pictures

The site is a magnificent high altitude lot with 180° lake and alpine views, on a south facing hill overlooking Lake Wakatipu. Our senior clients were of English & Chinese origin, both living in South East Asia with a mutual love of Japanese architecture. With diverse backgrounds the home expresses this desire; Japanese inspired, yet not Japanese. This fusion of contrasting East meets West philosophies was reflected in the client’s project name and framed our site response: Harmony.

This project uses 2 specialty timbers: Macrocarpa and Kahikatea.

Specific Properties, and Unique Aspects Advantageous to Project:

Kahikatea/ White Pine- Dacrycarpus Dacrydioides

Kahikatea in the past was used for butter boxes; its straight grain and stability made for uniform boxes that could be easily stacked and stowed and low aromatics meant it would not taint the butter on the journey around the world. The straightness of the grain is similar to cedar, allowing the vaulted ceiling to be butt jointed (more coverage than T&G), also making for straight battens in the entry and mission critical for the ongoing operation of the translucent shoji screen doors. It was also used to form the beams and expressed joints in the vaulted space.

Kahikatea’s straight grain and amber colour was the closest locally available analogue to the European Spruce joinery, meaning a continuous, complementary colour match for the door and window reveals, architraves and the internal door veneer. A seamless visual portal from room to room, and from interior to exterior.

Macrocarpa/ Monterey Cypress - Cupressus Macrocarpa

Macrocarpa is generally used in windbreaks around farms, and old growth ‘macro’ comes from tortured weather-beaten trees normally used as sparky but long burning firewood. As a plantation pine it can have straight grain, and is used by boat restorers as a substitute when the original Kauri timbers need replacement, earning it the nickname of ‘poor man’s Kauri’ with its golden colour and straight grain if you can find it at that length. Sometimes used as cladding, it is often left to silver off it is naturally durable above ground, and inherently strong.

South Island Macrocarpa was available in long lengths at the substantial dimensions required for the timber posts & beams. It is also easily worked and enabled concealed jointing as well as the visible mortise & tenon and other old school carpentry joints. These properties made it an ideal choice for these tactile, structural elements at the entry and lake facing porches.

Why New Zealand grown timbers:

Being South Island sourced, Kahikatea had local representatives and surety of supply, although specific quarter sawing requirements meant there were some delays.

Moving to NZ and bringing much of their life with them, it was important to our clients to have a tangible part of NZ in their home. With both these timbers being of South Island origin; one native and one exotic, the fusion of cultures and the tie to the land resulted in what the clients had sought from the outset.