The Efficiency of Small Spaces: Inside the Sugi House in Wanaka

Distinctive Designs

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During a ski trip to Japan, the owners of the Sugi House in Wanaka discovered the beauty and efficiency of compact living spaces. They experienced the comfort of staying in a small, well-designed, two-bedroom holiday home nestled in the mountains. This experience sparked an appreciation for the potential of small spaces, which they brought back to Wanaka in the form of the Sugi House.


A Thoughtfully Designed Floorplan in Sugi House

The Sugi House in Wanaka boasts a finely tuned and carefully considered floor plan. The goal was to achieve an aesthetic that reflects refinement, precision, and craftsmanship, allocating just the right amount of space to each function. The timber panelling was meticulously arranged to create continuity and expansion within the interior, enhancing the sense of space.


Strong External Materiality in Sugi House Architecture

Externally, the Sugi House exhibits a robust materiality. It is enveloped in warm cedar shingles, which serve as both cladding and roofing material. This not only enhances the house’s aesthetic appeal but also offers the added advantage of being low maintenance. Given the house’s street-facing position, glazing is restrained and strategically positioned to capture the breathtaking views of Mt Roy to the west.


Embracing Energy Efficiency at Sugi House

The Sugi House in Wanaka incorporates Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) that are taped, sealed, and wrapped in a secondary layer of building wrap plus plywood, maximising thermal efficiency. Thoughtful architectural planning ensures that the house and glazing areas are oriented to optimise solar gain. To maintain the thermal envelope, openings on the remaining sides of the house are minimised. The windows are double-glazed low-e glass, argon-filled, and thermally broken to prevent moisture retention and heat loss, further enhancing the energy efficiency of this architectural marvel.


By: Jamie Quinn