Adventure Whare Cat01 image04

Adventure Whare


Studio Well Architecture

1. Residential design award for single family dwelling

Photographed by: 
Stephen Goodenough

Adventure Whare is a holiday retreat that captures the spirit of both its users and alpine surroundings. Located in Castle Hill Village, the house was designed to provide a comfortable place of shelter, relaxation and connection for a family whose days are often spent exploring the local mountains and forests. Due to the harsh alpine climate and the dwellings functional use as a holiday home it was important to choose materials that were durable, sustainable and respectful of the natural surroundings.

The design was inspired by traditional A-frame huts that are renowned throughout New Zealand for their historically alpine aesthetic. Nestled between two established trees, the cloaked timber form provides shelter from the elements and privacy to the south. In dramatic contrast, the roof peels up revealing the exposed timber rafters and expansive timber framed glazing that provides an intimate connection with the native bush reserve to the north.

In collaboration with the structural engineer and Woodspan, we were able to utilise renewably grown and locally fabricated PLT mass timber panels to provide a durable and warm roof structure. The overall geometry and orientation of the panels enabled them to be self-supporting without introducing long span ridge members, or other steel connections with the whole structure being secured together with engineered screws.

Due to the site's remote location, the ability for offsite prefabrication, minimal wastage, high thermal mass properties and negative embodied carbon made it an obvious choice. The bedroom “wings” act as buttresses, supporting the ‘A” from spreading laterally. For the living area, external treated glulam beams have been strategically placed to transfer the PLT thrust load to the ground. These features have reduced the engineering demands, allowing for an almost entirely timber superstructure that achieves a lowered carbon footprint and operational energy input.

The Macrocarpa cladding was selected for its chemical-free and locally sourced qualities as well as its ability to naturally silver off for a low maintenance finish. This will also allow the building to successfully blend into the surrounding natural environment.

The interior is enriched with the use of exposed timber roof panels, radiata plywood wall linings and renewably grown cork flooring. These finishes were chosen to create a warm and inviting space whilst being durable enough to meet the demands of an adventurous young family.

The design aim was to form a structure that utilised sustainably grown New Zealand timbers, whilst retaining a highly architectural form within a reasonable construction budget. Timber elements were manifested throughout the project to achieve a natural aesthetic that referenced the scenery as well as providing a warm and cosy space to inhabit.