‘Aspiring House’ to Set Mass Timber Trend in NZ’s Ski Haven

The Queenstown Lake Districts Council decision could have major implications for mid-rise mass timber construction in the New Zealand Otago region.

Wed 10 Apr 24


Wānaka’s first commercial office building, made from mass timber, will rise after the Queenstown Lake Districts Council approved plans for a four-storey office tower yesterday.

Known as Aspiring House, it is part of the Three Parks Development designed by Warren and Mahoney, the architects behind Tauranga City Council’s new headquarters —New Zealand’s tallest all-timber building under construction.

The approval came after the council relaxed height requirements, which, according to Roa CEO Mike Saegars, the project developer, “is an important step forward,” clarifying the council’s appetite for mid-rise projects.

According to Mr Saegars, the 19.5-metre building’s additional height was critical, making it commercially viable for the developer to use “mass timber and carbon-conscious construction methodologies.”

In making the decision, the council said: “While the proposed building exceeds the maximum height (of 12 metres)…the (council’s) Business Mixed-use Design Guide 2021 does allow for flexibility in building height where design and visual interest can be created without resulting in any adverse effects.” 

Now, Mr Saegers is focused on making Wānaka a global destination for sustainable development, with Roa now looking to make Three Parks an international benchmark for green commercial buildings in the region.

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A view of the Three Parks development – which is set to become an international benchmark for green construction and is now looking to further utilise mass timber construction systems. (Photo Credit: Three Parks Development website)

It includes a new healthcare district, which Mr Saegers said will use “the same sustainable construction methodologies and similar building heights.”

The latest approval follows the council’s approval of a mass EV charging park at the site, which will see more than 70 parks available for charging at the development.

Three Parks is a mixed-use development of approximately 140 hectares consisting of over 1,000 new residential households, Metlifecare Retirement Village and the proposed Mt Iron Resort Hotel and Convention Centre, a business park and retail centre.

According to the development website, it is capitalising on a post-COVID boom, which has seen the region experience unprecedented demand for residential accommodation. 


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