New Zealand’s most luxury lodges come with jaw-dropping natural backdrops; but how do such outlying locations impact on the materials and design? We talked to three architects to find out.

Patterson Associates on Scrubby Bay at Annandale, Pigeon Bay

“The project initially started as the restoration of the station’s old historic homestead and woodland garden. As it progressed, our client started to see the potential for the outlying parts for the farm. This particular cove is a rugged coastal spot that also gives access to its farming experiences.

The symmetry of the bay influenced the positioning, the low and long form of the building – which we arranged so it acted as a central object to complete the landscape – and the natural materials used throughout. Cedar wood was selected for the exterior and farm-grown macrocarpa for the interior. Additional materials include stone gathered from the farm’s quarry and black steel fittings and fixtures, all of which were chosen for their association with the site.

The three-bedroom barn is designed as a double-sided structure so it can open up either way, in both on and offshore winds. As you enter, you are immediately greeted by the view and central living area complete with a fire stone pit, library and a wool rug (sourced from the sheep on Annandale Station). A deck on both sides showcases the views, with the dramatic bay at the front and the picturesque, rural station behind.”

Crosson Architects on Rahimoana at Eagle’s Nest, Bay of Islands

“The brief for Rahimoana, one of the five lodges that make up Eagle’s Nest, was to create a spiritual refuge: a luxurious building with elegant simplicity, which allows the incredible beauty of the surrounding landscape and views to stand out.

Rahimoana means ‘sun god over the sea’ and the emphasis on materials and the way that they were used – such as a dramatic aerofoil copper roof serenely floating above three-metre sliding glass walls – reflected this idea. The unrestricted 360-degree views meant that we could use the isolation to our advantage and the soft shades of pale and grey of the interior were deliberately chosen to provide a striking contrast to the richness of the horizon and the ocean outside.”

Sumich Chaplin Architects on Owner’s Cottage at Matakauri Lodge, near Queenstown

“The landscape and views are what make Matakauri special, so the building needed to celebrate this without overpowering it. The brief was for a four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage that was to be located in a private setting at one end of the site. The design needed to allow for exclusive use by a single group of guests, and also accommodate two groups using the cottage independently, both of which would need to be self-contained.

For consistency, we chose materials that matched the existing lodge buildings: cedar shingle and zinc roofing, vertical weather boards and stone schist cladding with painted timber windows and doors. The cottage is positioned along the contours of the site, which slopes south down to Lake Wakatipu. The impact of this on the design meant that the materials and colours were recessive to achieve a balance within the landscape. We produced a plan that opened to the south for lake and mountain views and also to the north to nestled courtyards, capturing the sun and allowing it into the building.”

London-based freelance journalist Emma Love specialises in writing about interiors, design and travel for titles such as Elle Decoration and Condé Nast Traveller, where she is a contributing editor. She also writes for publications such as the Financial Times and the Guardian.