Overlooking Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand is Tom’s House, a compact and quirky 156 square meter home with a robust shed-like exterior and a highly sustainable interior which has a welcoming timber glow. Designed by Anna Marie Chin Architects, the house is sited in a settlement called Jack’s Point – a 1200 hectare/3000 acre development with a commitment to only build on 5% of this vast area. The planning philosophy is to tread lightly and integrate a new community into the land without disturbing its intrinsic values. If only that ethos was followed by all property developers!
Much inspiration for Tom’s House was derived from this philosophy and sustainability principles are deeply integrated into the design. Aside from it’s sustainability credentials, the small home cleverly incorporates alcoves for storage, the laundry is hidden behind a door in the corridor and the stair balustrade doubles as a bookshelf.
Captivatingly, the architect has added a twist to the simple gabled pavilion architectural style common to the area and has tipped the roofline sideways to follow the line of The Remarkables mountain ranges beyond. It’s one of the many thoughtful architectural features which makes this home such a success.
– North facing home, employs passive design principles
– Highly insulated (far exceeding building code requirements)
– Concrete floors used for passive heating
– Thermally broken aluminium framed windows with low-E double glazing
– Air to water heat pump used for hot water and in-slab hydronic heating
– On-site sewerage treatment
– Metal cladding for low maintenance and to withstand the extreme cold
– Robust and low maintenance materials
Tom has a background in industrial design and was accustomed to highly efficient spaces. He knew that a large area didn’t necessarily mean a better space. To be successful, small spaces have to be well designed. The contrast between the verticality and the lower roofs makes the space feel bigger because you are, in effect, getting two experiences.
Nadine is the founder and editor of Eco Edition and founder of the Eco Edition Design School. She’s an experienced interior designer, sustainable materials consultant, speaker and serial home renovator.