Mountain Retreat

Mountain Retreat is a small structure set within a high country station, adjacent Lake Wakatipu, Central Otago.

The colours and textures of the cladding integrate the building into the gravel tracks, exposed rock faces and scree slopes of the alpine environment.

The external appearance of the building uses the heavily rendered stone to express a cubic form embedded in the side of the mountain amongst beech trees. The cave-like space is opened through its cantilevered concrete structure. A suspended log fire provides a hearth against the backdrop of beech trees and the lake below.

The design is a simple arrangement of spaces within a predominantly open plan. A main sleeping space opens over the living space and is serviced by a centrally located bathroom. Further sleeping accommodation is provided by a bunkroom tucked into the hillside.

The overlap and combination of sleeping, living and bathing functions allows for flexibility of use, introducing variety and a certain complexity to the inhabitation of a small building.

The architecture seeks to be a subtle insertion in the landscape. The internal environment is both muscular and refined, referencing the toughness of the environment while providing comfort required for a retreat in the Southern Alps.

Project Details: The internal floor area is just under 100m2 and construction was completed in the middle of 2008. Fearon Hay’s project team was led by Gordon Gallagher. Tim Hay and Jeff Fearon are the design architects. Photography is by Patrick Reynolds.

Recognition: Winner of a New Zealand Architecture Award (NZIA Awards 2009) Finalist for the New Zealand Architecture Medal (NZIA Awards 2009) Finalist for a World Architecture Award (WAF Barcelona 2008)