Row House, Gibbston

This house was designed for our friends while we all lived in Wellington; representative of the impending move that both our families would make to the Wakatipu.  Two brothers had a plot each on the Cox Estate vineyard to build homes and work the vines for single-estate wines.

One client is interior architect Nikki Wilson.  We conceived the idea of Assembly designing the exterior while she designed the interior and contract managed the build.  Her husband Mike Cox, usually in the IT realm coordinated site services; mastering water and effluent.  The design was highly collaborative from the inside out and the outside in.

The light timber framed house follows the sloping land with stepped rooms, raised on piles to allow views over the vines and structures.  The carpentry house has a repetitive structure and expression inside and out.  A mono-pitched metal roof folds down at each end, pierced with window boxes which provide framed views to the mountains each side.  The intense summer sun is shielded on the West with deep window recesses, while the Eastern landscape provides retreat from the sun and wind on the West.

The interior is as reductive and rational as the exterior, inspired by low cost Japanese duplex housing.  It is a small, relatively low budget house and its lean-ness is permitted by the sense of space and light the high ceilings and generous volumes give.

Strict subdivision criteria allowed for the removal of 11 rows of vines to create the building platform, which was also restricted with a 4.5m height limit above the sloping ground.  The site is in the Gibbston Character Zone, with the consenting planner noting the design with its shed/industrial form appears functional, minimal, compatible with viticultural character, and achieves the intention of the consent requirement.

December 2016 Air New Zealand KIAORA magazine features the Gibbston house, via HOME magazine.

August/September 2016 HOME NZ “Small Houses” edition features the Gibbston house in the vines.