Abodo Wood 2 Affordable Alpine Eco-Villas

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Paul Swift (FLiP Homes)
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Eli Nuttall (First Light Studio), Brittany Irvine (First Light Studio)
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    AWA Environmental, Bradley Project Management, DCM Urban Design, Structures for Good, Town Planning Group, Consortium Construction, Sustainable Engineering NZ, Fifth Season Design
  • Client
    Abodo Wood

Deep in the isolated Cardrona Valley, an assemblage of three eco-villas constitutes the first stage of an Alpine Village. The houses assimilate a celebration of natural materials blending seamlessly with the surrounding hills, while still holding true to the aesthetic and design objectives of the alpine cabin and gable form vernacular of the region.

Commissioned by a New Zealand timber company and designed in collaboration with an architectural studio and home builders known for exceptional high performance homes, the Cardrona Alpine Village sets a precedent for healthy, above building code, yet affordable homes in one of New Zealand’s harshest climates.

The project team challenged themselves to build efficient and beautiful homes at a significantly lower cost than typical for the region. Local experts indicated a minimum budget of $5000-6000/sqm would be required to complete the build. Pleasingly the cost came in 30% per sqm less.

The form and design language of each villa follows the topography of the landscape, while the varied shades of timber cladding lend itself to the golden tussock surrounding the village. Each villa presents a distinctive palette inside and out, with exterior claddings, decking, post and rail fencing, timber interior feature walls, ceiling linings and kitchen joinery, showcasing a combination of sixteen timber profiles in six different finishes.

Whilst remaining in keeping with the traditional New Zealand holiday home or ‘bach’ in form and materiality, the houses utilise passive house detailing to push the building envelope to the highest performance levels, achieving a Homestar 7 rating. To align with the project’s affordability goals in an isolated location where access can be difficult, the homes were prefabricated in Christchurch and carefully moved to site by truck, near the iconic Cardrona Hotel.

These dual-purpose homes not only serve as a showcase of the timber company’s products but are available for Air BNB stays – giving visitors a taste of what can be achieved with locally sourced materials and carefully crafted New Zealand design.