Sugi House Wānaka, Modern Otago home in New Zealand, NZ residence design, South Island architecture photos

Sugi House in Otago New Zealand

3 Dec 2023

Design: Condon Scott Architects

Location: Wānaka, Otago, New Zealand

Sugi House Otago South Island

Photos by Simon Devitt

Sugi House, South Island

It was on a Japanese ski trip that the owners of this Wanaka house came to appreciate the efficiency of small spaces. Staying in a compact two-bedroom vacation home in the mountains, they saw that a small, carefully designed house could be comfortable and pleasant to live in.

Sugi House Otago NZ

Sugi House Otago NZ

Based in Singapore, the family of five took annual trips to Wanaka, usually staying with extended family in an existing four bedroom house on this lakeside site. The idea for Sugi House was conceived to allow for a degree of separation on their trips.

Sugi House Otago NZ

Sugi House Otago NZ

After seeing the Kirimoko Tiny House by Condon Scott Architects, the homeowners engaged architect Barry Condon to bring their new holiday house to life. To Barry, delivering on a Japanese aesthetic meant creating something simple and unobtrusive.

Sugi House Otago NZ

“The aim was for a refined, precise and crafted aesthetic. We have used this mindset throughout, allocating only as much space as is required to each function. The timber panelling and alignment has been carefully thought through to extend the sense of space indoors.”

Sugi House Otago South Island

Sugi House Otago South Island

The floorplan is tight but carefully considered. The lower floor contains a double-height living and kitchen space separated from the kids’ bathroom and bedroom by the staircase. Upstairs is a double bedroom with ensuite, an office and storage. “Built-in storage spaces were optimised – including shoe racks, hidden cupboards, draws within the steps of the stairs, and built-in shelving in the upstairs loft,” says Barry.

Sugi House Otago South Island

The interiors deliver on the requested Japanese, minimalist look, with black fittings and joinery contrasted against the timber linings, a sculptural ceiling fan, and flush cabinetry. The wet room style of the compact bathroom is reminiscent of a Japanese spa with floor to ceiling, stone-look tiles.

Sugi House Otago South Island

The house also has a strong materiality externally, with a singular cladding and roofing material of warm cedar shingles, which has the added benefit of being low maintenance. As the house faces the street, glazing is restrained and aimed towards views to the west of Mt Roy. The southern facade is free of windows to prevent the gaze of neighbours as they approach from the access way.

Sugi House Otago New Zealand

“With some judicious planting on the street, we made the outdoor terrace area quite private, an extension of the living space in the summer with the doors open,” says Barry.

Due to a high level of insulation and the small footprint of the house, a Stovax wood fire provides enough heating to cut through even the chilliest of Wanaka’s winter days. The house was constructed using SIPS panels, with some Passive House techniques employed.

Sugi House Otago New Zealand

“SIPs are taped, sealed and wrapped in a secondary layer of building wrap plus plywood to maximise thermal efficiency,” says Barry. “The house and the areas of glazing are orientated to maximise solar gain, with minimal openings on the remaining sides of the house to preserve the thermal envelope. Windows are double glazed low-e glass, argon filled and thermally broken to prevent moisture retention and heat loss.”

The result is a relaxing and stylish home-away-from-home for this jet-setting family, a place to comfortably reconnect with their loved ones on the other side of the world.

Condon Scott Architects is an award-winning, Wanaka-based practice that has completed over 600 residential and commercial projects in the Otago region over the past 30 years.

Sugi House Otago New Zealand

Sugi House in Otago, South Island NZ – Building Information:

Design: Condon Scott Architects –

Project size: 90 sqm
Completion date: 2020
Building levels: 2

Sugi House Otago New Zealand

Photography © Simon Devitt

Sugi House, Otago South Island images / information received 031223 from Condon Scott Architects NZ

Location: Wānaka, Otago, New Zealand

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