The built object in the landscape has long been a challenge for New Zealand architecture particularly amongst the beautiful scenic backdrops of Aotearoa NZ. On this remote site, where architecture’s neighbor is ecology and geology rather than built environment, how might we address the problem of the isolated building? Architecture Workshop’s strategy for the Lindis Lodge, a five- bedroom luxury lodge, in a remote glacial valley in the NZ Southern Alps explores this question.
The architecture draws inspiration from the imposing grandeur of the vastly scaled glacial landscape and the weaving folded moraine across the valley that ensued – remnant topography from the glacial retreat 10,000 years ago. The strategy is to bind the building with the land and to make it an attribute of the site. Topography is the common ground for the disciplines of landscape and architecture and for their contribution to contemporary culture. The lodge effectively forms a new ground; a constructed topography that adds a further fold within the continuity of the existing glacial moraine.
“The vast glacial landscape is the precedent for the building. The property, in the remote and glacial Ahuriri Valley, draws inspiration from the imposing grandeur of the landscape. The roof contours – made from Spotted Gum hardwood lamella – is designed to mimic the weaves and folds of the valley,” said Christopher Kelly, Principal Architect at Architecture Workshop. “I saw this as an opportunity to create something special rather than a standard American lodge, which has its appeal, but both the building and the experience is different here.”
In the Lindis Lodge, the visitor experience is encompassed between two layers; the excavated and embedded new ground in the moraine beneath intimate low black ceilings and the other light and woven, a soaring timber lamella perched on the riverside edge that hovers above to protect and most strikingly forms a new, and picturesque topography. Here the fragility and exposure of the solitary human figure within such physical and temporal vastness is in turn protected by the enveloping roof and the firelight flickering in the hearth, as in a high country musterer’s hut.