2021 RDAA | Custom Rural or Vacation House | Wanaka Wedge House | Actual Architecture Company

Although a seemingly inevitable design for this scenic site in New Zealand, Wanaka Wedge House began as an internet plan in America. Well, that’s not completely accurate; it goes back even further than that. The idea of it germinated as a house for architect Jeff Day’s mother. The intended site was the coast of Maine.

“It didn’t make sense to build it financially, so I put it in the drawer,” he recalls. When an internet house plans business called him for a contribution in 2009, Jeff adapted the plan into a prototype. The company didn’t make it through the recession, but it left the website up. Then in 2017, Jeff got a call from a couple in New Zealand. They had found the plan online and they wanted his help to build it.

It’s a big world and a small one at the same time. Jeff had lived in New Zealand as a child and had not been back since. It was a kind of homecoming to return there and to finally build the family house that had been percolating all these years. While the coast of Maine and this 9-acre site across the globe are very different, the house was conceived as a vessel for viewing and, as such, it needed only tailoring to the terrain, local building codes, and materials readily available on an island. And thus, the original SIP structure became stick-built, the red barn siding changed to metal, and the height lowered below the ridgeline. The color palette caters to code requirements for blending in with surroundings.

Well, blending in isn’t completely accurate. Dramatic and deferential at the same time, Wanaka Wedge House soars.


Custom Rural or Vacation House

Actual Architecture Company
Wanaka Wedge House
Queensberry, Central Otago, New Zealand 

Project Credits

Architect: Jeffrey L. Day, FAIA, Actual Architecture Company, Omaha, Nebraska

Permit Drawings: Ian Perry, Architectural Designer, I Design, Oamaru, New Zealand

Builder: Matt Colebrook, Colebrook and Co. Ltd., Wanaka, New Zealand

Building Engineer: Richards Consulting Engineers, Christchurch, New Zealand

Structural Steel Engineering: Select Engineering, New Zealand

Project Size: 2,575 square feet

Site Size: 9.34 acres

Construction Cost: $272 per square foot

Photography: Dennis Radermacher/ Lightforge

Key Products

Appliances: Fisher & Paykel

Cladding/Roofing: ColorCote; Easiroll translucent fiberglass cladding

Countertops: Corian

Fireplace: Escea

Lighting: Foscarini

Radiant Heating: Mitsubishi

Vanities/Toilets: Newtech 

Window Joinery: Lewis Windows



Plans and Drawings


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