Making multi-zone sections work in Queenstown

The problem sometimes encountered with multi-zone sections is a lack of privacy or the obstruction of views when two homes are built on one site. Having a residential architect involved, however, means you can have the site developed with these concerns in mind, and we can avoid them – as we were able to do with this section in Queenstown.

The Brief

With a large section of over 1000 sqm, our client asked us to design two standalone family homes in a way that would make the most of the views out towards the Shotover River in Queenstown.

As with the majority of Queenstown sections, this site had a steep slope requiring challenging earthworks and a clever architecture design to ensure advantage is taken of the sun, views and surrounding environment.

They wanted the architectural design of the homes to be relatively simple, each with three to four bedrooms, separate living areas, and a double garage.

Their priorities were that they didn't want the homes to feel like they were too close to each other and they wanted to ensure that there was enough privacy but still keep the breath taking views of the Shotover River.


The Design

As you approach this section and come up the right of way, we have one house directly in front, at the top of the driveway. This property is oriented towards the northwest. The second property is just off to the right as you come up the driveway, and is oriented towards the north/northeast.

So while both homes make the most of the sunlight and views, they're oriented slightly away from each other to ensure privacy. Neither occupant will feel like they're looking into the neighbour's home, or that anyone is looking in on them.

Both homes have a similar layout, with a double garage, a drying room, storage and laundry downstairs – necessities for adventure seekers in Queenstown. The kitchen, dining and living areas are one level up, followed by the master bedroom, ensuite and other bedrooms on the top level.

By creating a design that has the living areas on the middle level, we've incorporated a large, open decking area here that wraps around the home and makes the most of the late afternoon sun. You can picture yourself enjoying sundowners after a day of skiing, mountain biking or shopping. The upper level gives privacy to the bedrooms while also providing exceptional views from every room.

We used a combination of materials in our designs here for aesthetic and functional purposes. The schist (stone), which is prevalent in the Queenstown area, was used for the lower level, the ground floor and the walls that anchor back into the hill.

In contrast, where we have the human interaction zones – the entertaining and living areas – we've used timber cladding that adds warmth to the structure and softens the stone aesthetic. An extended eave design wraps around the roof and comes down on the east-facing walls of both units. With this feature we provide protection from the weather without infringing on the views or sunshine.

The Result

The mix of stone and timber is an intentional balance of hard and soft, cool and warm materials. And the positioning of the communal areas on the middle level creates a clever separation of the functional spaces and the bedrooms in the home. With careful thought given to the orientation and outlook of each home, and by setting one house back slightly into the hill, we've made efficient use of the large section.

We've given both properties vantage points that make the most of the sun and the views, without privacy being compromised.

Similar Projects