Bivouac-inspired beauty

‘The Bivvy House’ is Alan and Jen’s affectionate nickname for their hilltop holiday home, perched just six kilometres from Queenstown. “It was inspired by a bivouac,” says Alan. “We wanted it to feel like a little hut that you’d stumble across while out on a tramp.”

With every corner made to suit its panoramic South Island surroundings, The Bivvy House has surpassed the Australia-based couple’s expectations from every angle.

The structure was designed by award-winning Waiheke architect Vaughn McQuarrie, who put forward Andy McRae of The as his builder of choice. “To capture the essence of a bivouac, we used a lot of natural materials,” says Andy. That included a cedar-clad exterior, an interior featuring driftwood, exposed concrete, and band-sawn plywood – and not a spot of gib to be seen.

The bivouac theme comes to life in unexpected details throughout. “The entrances are designed to feel like you’re walking through a crack in a rock,” says Alan. “The way the inside and outside marry together is just outstanding.”

For The team, the Hammock Ridge home’s inventive geometry added a whole new dimension of difficulty. “There were only about three right angles throughout the whole house,” says Andy. “The nature of the job was so demanding, the team took to calling it ‘Niggle Ridge’ instead. But they loved every bit of the challenge.”

All the hard work didn’t slip by unheralded. “It was a really difficult build,” says Alan. “Andy and the team have done exceptionally well.”

Location: Queenstown | Otago

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