Jacks Point Eco-House



Cozy High country cabins


In terms of both its landscape and its architecture, the Wakatipu basin has been shaped by its history as a pioneer farming settlement. With the dramatic Remarkables mountain range as backdrop, Jack’s Point enjoys one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. First Light Studio was approached to develop a new, sustainable Jacks Point community based on a modern interpretation of the Central Otago rural vernacular.



Working in collaboration with Fearon Hay Architects we created a flexible building typology that creates continuity within the neighbourhood whilst allowing individuality on a site by site basis. Inspired by the High Country tin shed, the concept for the community grows from two flexible floor plan options that can be applied to each site in the neighbourhood. The simple shed forms accommodate ground floor laundry, bathrooms and bedroom/s and a double height, open plan living, kitchen and dining space. The elegant, off-set roof gables embrace mezzanine floors which provide additional living and sleeping space.

Each house is sited to maximise natural lighting, and to take advantage of passive heating and cooling. A highly insulated thermal envelope maintains a comfortable and healthy internal environment all year round. Timber framed windows recess into the building envelope to add depth to the elevations; their locations create unique view shafts to the landscape beyond. A limited palette of materials, colours and external finishes have been selected for their durability, honesty and integrity.

A new and innovative prefabricated construction system has been developed for this project that allows quick and efficient on-site assembly.The building is made almost entirely of Cross Laminated Timber, or CLT, a material new to New Zealand but used extensively in Europe and the UK. Solid timber wall panels are built in a controlled factory environment in Nelson, then delivered to site where they are assembled and finished in a matter of days. CLT forms the major building structure as well as the internal finish.

Throughout the design process great care has been taken to create a high-quality built environment that has a unique sense of place, in keeping with the existing topography of the land, the surrounding environment and the existing neighbourhood in this very special part of the world.


“...it is hard to think of anything more romantic than a rustic corrugated-iron hut set beneath a backdrop of snowy mountains among the billowing tussocks of the high country...”
— Shaun Barnette