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With Altherm Win­dow Sys­tems as the key spon­sor for the ninth year, Home of the Year con­tin­ues to cel­e­brate New Zealand’s lead­ing res­i­den­tial ar­chi­tec­ture. But the brand’s sup­port for ar­chi­tects’ vi­sions hap­pens all year-round, as this project in Wanaka shows.

From ur­ban to ru­ral, fam­ily home to bachelor pad, city pent­house to beach­side bach, Altherm prod­ucts work across a range of sce­nar­ios, re­spond­ing to New Zealand’s unique land­scapes and en­vi­ron­ments. The strong pro­file of the Altherm Metro Se­ries and APL Ar­chi­tec­tural Se­ries ap­peals to ar­chi­tects, who reg­u­larly spec­ify the prod­ucts for their aes­thetic ap­peal, de­sign flex­i­bil­ity and ther­mally in­su­lat­ing prop­er­ties.

Altherm prod­ucts can be spec­i­fied to scale up for open­ness or back for con­tain­ment – they serve to cap­ture New Zealand’s spec­tac­u­lar views and, by con­trast, pro­tect pri­vacy and al­low light where re­quired. En­ergy ef­fi­ciency is also key and the Altherm range of­fers the best per­form­ing val­ues for alu­minium win­dows in New Zealand. Com­bined with qual­ity ther­mal prop­er­ties, Altherm prod­ucts work through­out the sea­sons to re­tain warmth, as well as keep the house cool.

Altherm has spon­sored Home of the Year for nine years: it’s an un­prece­dented run for a spon­sor of a ma­jor award, and tes­ta­ment to their sup­port for New Zealand ar­chi­tec­ture. The spon­sor­ship al­lows HOME to con­duct a rig­or­ous judg­ing process: from a raft of sub­mis­sions we visit all 12 short­listed projects from one end of the coun­try to the other, stag­ing two pub­lic lec­tures as we go, be­fore set­tling on the fi­nal six – and the win­ner.

But Altherm’s sup­port for ar­chi­tec­ture hap­pens ev­ery day, as it works closely with ar­chi­tects to help them bring their vi­sions to life. “We tend to spec­ify APL as we know we get great qual­ity, re­sources and ser­vice,” says Craig McAuliffe of McAuliffe Stevens, the Queen­stown-based ar­chi­tect be­hind the house on th­ese pages.

The home is a spec­tac­u­lar as­sem­bly of sculp­tural forms and sits in a new sub­di­vi­sion just out of Wanaka. De­signed to take ad­van­tage of the stun­ning views of the moun­tain and lake, the home re­sponds to twin – if slightly op­posed – de­sires: to con­nect to gen­er­ous out­door spa­ces that could be used year-round, and to main­tain a strong sep­a­ra­tion be­tween pub­lic and pri­vate zones.

McAuliffe’s re­sponse was at once brave and el­e­gant. In­stead of build­ing one large house, he broke it down into two off­set boxes, each con­tain­ing a dif­fer­ent func­tion and each act­ing as a ‘view finder’, with glazed ends tak­ing in dif­fer­ent as­pects of moun­tain, lake and sky.

Can­tilevered out over the ground so they ap­pear to hover gen­tly in space – they con­tain bed­rooms and bath­rooms on one side, and gen­er­ous liv­ing ar­eas an­chored by decks on the other. In be­tween, there’s a glassy en­trance that cre­ates an open face to the street, en­cour­ag­ing in­ter­ac­tion and con­nec­tion.

The third ‘wing’, mean­while, is a shel­tered en­ter­tain­ment area tucked be­hind, reached from the liv­ing ar­eas through over­sized APL Ar­chi­tec­tural Se­ries slid­ing doors in Matt Black. (Else­where, McAuliffe spec­i­fied Altherm Metro Se­ries win­dows.)

Steel clads the bed­room wing, while the liv­ing ar­eas are clad with oiled cedar that will even­tu­ally fade to sil­ver, bed­ding the house into the rocky land­scape and re­duc­ing its bulk.

It’s a home with­out com­pro­mise: with one piece of glaz­ing ex­tend­ing to 3.8m high and 3.9m wide, tak­ing the eye out to the view but pro­vid­ing the ar­chi­tect

with a tech­ni­cal chal­lenge – the win­dow sits at the size limit in this pro­file. The glaz­ing works a treat, of course. “While heavy, it still per­forms re­ally well,” says McAuliffe.

And with win­dows this big in a cli­mate known for ex­tremes of heat and cold, ther­mal per­for­mance was at the top of the list. For this, McAuliffe also spec­i­fied Altherm’s Metro Ther­malHEART Se­ries, en­sur­ing those spec­tac­u­lar views don’t come at the ex­pense of com­fort.

All of which goes to show that good ar­chi­tec­ture means the best of both worlds: clear vi­sion, and a sense of home.

Project ‘Lake­view’ house Prac­tice McAuliffe Stevens Lo­ca­tion Wanaka, Cen­tral Otago

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