The Immigrant’s Vineyard, ‘Ruru’ wines, tasting room and private home was built by van der Build. Inspired by traditional European stone buildings, and a desire to build a beautiful home that will stand the test of time, this project was challenging, unique and extremely rewarding.

Located in Alexandra near the start of the Otago Central rail trail, the house was built using mainly locally sourced, natural materials, including the schist rock which is mined from a local quarry, as natural a product as one can get. The cladding was quite literally raised from the earth.

All of the exposed timber rafters, posts and even the jambs of the exterior joinery were all crafted from locally sourced, recycled timber. Originally a hardwood from Australia, these features have been in service in New Zealand, for some as long as 100 years, as telegraph posts, bridge members and harbour supports.  Our timber specialist sources these members, and mills them to the desired profiles to be used once again on projects like this one.

One of the core design aspects of the build was to achieve ‘thermal mass’, a system intending to deliver a pleasant ambient indoor temperature all year round. Both the hottest and coldest temperatures to face New Zealand are experienced in Alexandra, Central Otago. Achieving a warm dry house in winter, and a cool house in summer when temperatures can soar up to 35+ degrees formed a critical aspect of the over all design.

This was a challenging requirement to meet, especially when the only heat source is the fireplace. This was a deliberate choice as the aesthetic of the house were paramount. All services and infrastructure have been intelligently and elegantly hidden and installed remotely, to achieve a building which resembles as close as possible, the mature European stone buildings from centuries ago.