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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Rutherford House in Oruatua, New Zealand by Dorrington Architects & Associates

March 10th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Dorrington Architects & Associates

Boxes form the basis of this intriguing modern holiday house…. bold forms and stark lines create an overall effect, which is solid without being monumental. Glass curtain walls create opportunities to bring the outdoors in and to incorporate internal building elements into the geometry of the structure.
(Judges comment, NZIA awards).


North exterior by night (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

  • Architect: Dorrington Architects & Associates
  • Name of Project: Rutherford House
  • Location: Taupo Tauranga, Oruatua, New Zealand
  • Completed: 2009
  • Area: 277m2
  • Photography: Emma-Jane Hetherington
  • Awards: NZIA Local Award for Residential Architecture 2009; NZIA National Award finalist for Residential Architecture 2010; Published in 21st Century Houses – 150 of the World’s Best

The brief was to create a modern holiday house suitable for the hot summers of Lake Taupo and the cold winters for skiing on Mt Ruapehu.

Formally the house consists of 4 main elements; (1) a concrete base, which at some points is folded up to contain interior spaces, (2 and 3) two black cedar-clad bedroom blocks, and (4) an open-plan white structured ‘veranda’.

West exterior (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

The concrete base provides the required floor level rise, creating intermediate zones between inside and outside. Raised decks from both the living room and snug articulate elevated, and in the case of the front deck, covered outdoor spaces. The living space arrangement suits the extreme climates of the location, activities and varying degrees of privacy.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

The large open-plan ‘veranda’ space comprises kitchen, lounge and dining. A snug, a step lower with an open fireplace, can on colder days be closed off from the main space. The top-floor sitting room affords a private sanctuary for the owners when entertaining family and friends.

The internal environment is managed with thermal mass floor and walls and passive ventilation to most building faces. Additional heating inside and out is provided with open fires.


Looking into living room from front deck (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

Entry aspect (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

South exterior by night (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

Kitchen (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

Stairs detail with snug (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

Sung and opening to front covered deck (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

Living (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

Glass verandah (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)

Detail of front door and stairs (Images Courtesy Emma-Jane Hetherington)


Site Plan

Floor plans

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Categories: Cottage, House

One Response to “Rutherford House in Oruatua, New Zealand by Dorrington Architects & Associates”

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