A Striking Black House Appears to Float in the New Zealand Mountains

A Striking Black House Appears to Float in the New Zealand Mountains

By Melissa Dalton
Cantilevered atop a concrete foundation and wrapped in glass, Alpine Terrace House by Fearon Hay Architects hovers gently over its site.

Nestled in the Southern Lakes alpine region of New Zealand, Alpine Terrace House was designed, first and foremost, to capture the incredible views of the mountain ranges that surround the site. To do so, Fearon Hay Architects arranged four simple, rectangular boxes sheathed in glass around an enclosed interior courtyard, all atop a concrete plinth. 

"The initial brief for this project required a sanctuary from which to take in the alpine landscape, one that could engage with views of mountain ranges to all sides," say the architects. 

The project recently won a Gold Pin in Taiwan's 2018 Golden Pin Design Awards. The judges were impressed with how "the residence settles completely and utterly into its location with exceptional detail, and a sensitivity that responds to its changing environment through the seasons."

Entry to the house is accessed via the gravel arrival court. A floating ledge forms a bridge to the front door, which is located in a "glazed volume set between two of the buildings," say the architects.

In good weather, the owners can open up the exterior glass walls.

If the weather is bad, the owners can close the exterior walls and open up the interior courtyard, so there is easy circulation between the different volumes of the house. In better weather, "the external perimeter can also be opened, transforming the house into a series of covered spaces open to the mountain vistas," say the architects. 

The interiors rely on inky wall and floor finishes, so as not to compete with the sightlines outside. In the living room, a vintage curved sofa imported from the U.S. beckons.

Interior walls are painted Bokara Grey by Resene, a warm charcoal black, in order to push views to the gorgeous surroundings.

Floor-to-ceiling glass frames the view in the kitchen.

Discreet built-in storage forms a contrasting wall.

A view into the glassed interior courtyard, which brings nature inside on days with inhospitable weather.

Books are a bright spot of color in the reading room.

A travertine-clad bathroom interior was inspired by spa retreats much loved by the owners.

A cozy bedroom.

Project Credits:

Architect: Fearon Hay Architects (@fearonhay)

Builder: John Gavin Construction

Structural Engineer: Lewis Bradford

Lighting and Interior Design: Dean Sharpe

Cabinetry Design: Dean Sharpe and Tony Emanuel

Photography: Simon Wilson (@simon.c.wilson)

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