Sugi House

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  • 2021

  • Architectural
    Commercial and Residential

Designed By:

  • Condon Scott Architects
  • Barry Condon

Commissioned By:

Our client

Designed In:

New Zealand

Sugi House is a Japanese inspired tiny home – a cosy, inviting holiday house for a young family, in Wanaka, NZ. Reflecting the considered, minimalistic nature of Japanese houses and with strong materiality, the house is clad in characteristic cedar shingles and built to withstand the region’s climatic conditions.


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Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt
  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • Sugi House is a tiny holiday home for a family of five based in Singapore. The homeowners and their children journeyed to Wanaka annually to visit extended family, staying in the shared family home. Eager for a place of their own, while remaining close to the clan, the homeowners explored the option to build an additional, smaller home in the corner of the section, inspired by accommodation from their Japanese ski trips. The house needed to perform as a fully functioning home, with enough space for the family of five to holiday comfortably, while contending with a tight building envelope.

  • A Japanese aesthetic meant simple and unobtrusive, refined and precise. We allocated only as much space as is required to each function. The timber panelling and alignment has been carefully thought through and the house is wrapped in cedar shingles, creating strong materiality. We designed a carefully considered, two storey home with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. We maximised on design features with a double height living space and mezzanine creating a sense of space indoors. The house is highly specified and designed to withstand the climate with passive house principles employed in both construction methods and materials.

  • With interest building quickly around this recently completed project, we hope it will inspire others building in Wanaka to think creatively about their house design and whether a smarter, more sustainably designed home could work for them too, particularly for seasonal accommodation. We believe this style of living could be hugely beneficial for the Wanaka community where high density subdivisions are becoming commonplace and building costs are very high. It can be more achievable for home-owners to build a higher specified home with a smaller footprint, rather than a sacrificing comforts or yard-space in order to build a large home.

  • Due to the size of the site and the brief of space efficiency, the floorplan is tight but carefully considered. The lower floor contains a double-height living and kitchen space separated from the kids' bathroom and bedroom by the staircase. Upstairs is a double bedroom with ensuite, an office and storage. Built-in storage spaces were optimised - including shoe racks, hidden cupboards, drawers within the steps of the stairs, and built-in shelving in the upstairs loft. No design detail or feature was overlooked, from striving to use the most minimalistic brackets possible to fix the exterior chimney to maintain a sleek aesthetic, to the hand-made flush ventilation grates in the kitchen which seamlessly meld into the ply interior lining. The aim was to create beauty through simplicity and flow between the exterior and interior. The wraparound cedar shingles are a continuation of materiality between the roof and exterior walls. The black finish of the aluminium joinery is punctuated throughout the interiors, from light fittings through to the ceiling fan. The board-marked concrete of the interior hearth appears to continue through the building envelope to the exterior chimney. The result is a relaxing home-away-from-home, a place to comfortably reconnect with loved ones.