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Lowered house in Lake Takapō (Tekapo) wins special build award

Sep 12, 2023

A Lake Takapō (Tekapo) house lowered 1.5m into the ground to solve a height convenant issue has been singled out for a special award at the Mid and South Canterbury Master Builders house of the year competition.

The house, one of three South Canterbury builds to feature at the awards, was described by judges as a "new build man-cave" and a "perfect winner for the special award", and was built by Wilson Building of Timaru.

In their comments, the judges said “the striking corten​ steel-clad home faced a challenge when it became apparent that it exceeded the building height covenant”.

"The builder was cleared of any wrongdoing as the covenant was not indicated on the consented plans, but what followed was an extraordinary collaboration between the main contractor, subcontractors, suppliers, and a new designer.

"They worked together to modify the design and construction, successfully lowering the building by 1.5m into the ground.

"The upper floor, manufactured off-site 200km away, played a crucial role in the process.

"This extraordinary feat showcases the dedication and teamwork within the local building industry."

The house also won the interior design award with the judges commenting Wilson Building had created a home interior that embodied the essence of the owner's style and personality.

"The judges were intrigued to explore the innovative and imaginative interior spaces which were rich in creative wall coverings, strong colours, and robust materials and fixtures.”

The design perfectly captured the owner's vision for a highly personalised and wonderfully eccentric living environment.

"Whether you call it ‘Texaco meets Boeing stud rivets’ or ‘worn leather meets metal-sheet shop’ – this is a client brief well and truly nailed! Congratulations to Wilson Building Timaru on this wonderful achievement."

The other South Canterbury homes to receive awards were in Timaru and Pleasant Point.

Dimension Building won the new home $750,000-$1m category, the kitchen excellence award, the outdoor living excellence award, and a gold award, for a home in Hadlow.

Judges said the "elegant pavilion home inland from Timaru enjoys year-round sun and showcases a cohesive design with architectural logic highly complimented by the judges".

"The exterior boasts a local stone spine wall, plastered surfaces, and sections of vertical timber shiplap boards. Combined with generous aluminium joinery and low-pitched metal roofing, the build of the exterior envelope was executed to an excellent standard."

The kitchen was "elegant and impressive" showcasing "exceptional craftsmanship" and taking full advantage of the expansive vista to the north.

The property's outdoor living space impressed with its apparent simplicity, cleverly disguising a versatile haven for year-round enjoyment.

"Positioned between the pavilion's end wings, this outdoor space benefits from excellent protection against the southern elements. The retractable roof and inviting open fireplace add the finishing touches to a remarkable living area that excels in every season."

Jennian Homes Canterbury won the volume/group housing new home $500,000-$750,000 category, and a gold award, for a home in Pleasant Point.

Judges said the company showcased an outstanding combination of favourable site conditions, a compact and efficient floor plan, and impeccable attention to detail.

"In this group housing category, the judges were captivated by the use of schist stone cladding and the stunning vaulted ceiling in the living room.

"It was an impressive achievement completing the project within the $2000-$2500m2 range and within the specified timeframe."

The competition's supreme house of the year was built in Prebbleton by LOC Construction and it also won the craftsmanship award, new home $1m-$1.5m category, environmental and sustainable excellence award, bathroom excellence award, and a gold award.

Gold awards: Dimension Building - Hadlow, Timaru; DP Homes - Lincoln, Canterbury; Greenland Homes - Lincoln; Greenland Homes - Prebbleton; Jennian Homes Canterbury – Allenton, Ashburton; Jennian Homes Canterbury - Pleasant

Point; LOC Construction - Prebbleton; Wilson Building Timaru - Lake Takapō (Tekapo).

Silver awards: Jennian Homes Canterbury – Huntingdon, Ashburton; Milestone Homes Mid Canterbury - Mount Somers; Today Homes – Rolleston.

Bronze awards: Jennian Homes Canterbury – Rolleston; McKain Quality Construction – Tinwald, Ashburton.