Designed to adapt to an alpine environment defined by scree slopes, imposing rocks and gravel tracks, this modern Mountain Retreat seems to mirror the awe-inspiring surrounding landscape in a collection of carefully constructed interiors. A brainchild of New Zealand-based Fearon Hay Architects, the small mountain home near Lake Wakatipu, Central Otago, provides a secluded escape translated into modern modern architectural language by adapting it to surroundings. Large sliding walls transform the living zone into a first-row invitation to lie in the comfort of a contemporary structure and feel blessed to be outside at the same time. Colors and textures create a praise-worthy composition, described by the architects as a studied balance between natural and man-made: “The internal environment is both muscular and refined, referencing the toughness of the environment while providing comfort required for a retreat in the mountains.”
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests