Harrex Hangar Home

When Central Otago District Council announced a hangar development at Alexandra Airport, airplane enthusiast, Gerald Harrex and his wife Suzanne thought this would be a good place to call home.  The couple chose the end site next to the road for their hangar and adjoining home, giving them unobstructed views to the mountains - and for Gerald, this elevated site gives him uninterrupted views of the runway where he can watch incoming planes.

The design and construction of the hangar was undertaken by Wide Span Sheds whose portfolio of hangars built around Central Otago, including at the airport, had already caught the eye of Gerald Harrex who engaged the firm before contacting architectural designer Julie-Ann Ross to design a two-bedroom house adjoining the hangar.

Her brief from the client was to provide a home that would maximise the mountain views surrounding the site, one that would handle the extreme weather conditions of Central Otago and a home suitable for a couple but able to accommodate friends and family with space to house the visitor’s planes.
Says Julie-Ann Ross of Design Arc Ltd: “My house design snuggles the hangar, however as the house is joined to a light aircraft hangar we needed a 60 minute firewall between the two spaces. Keeping the roof and most of the wall cladding (Metalcraft T-Rib MC760) the same as the hangar (Metalcraft T-Rib) ensured they read as one building.

“The house block is offset to create several courtyard areas that can be utilised in different ways according to wind direction and season.”

To capture the mood of the surrounding landscape of local stone and surrounding mountains, Julie-Ann has used Alpine stone (Schist 150) on the columns and ensuite walls, directly linking the home to its location. All rooms have views to the surrounding mountains with circulation space at the rear next to the hangar.

The home has a fully insulated slab and is separated from the hangar slab with 140mm timber framing, R4.0 insulation in the walls and R6.0 in the roof. Windows and doors are thermally broken with argon gas and low E coating – this reduces heat loss in the winter and keeps the home cool in the summer. 

A wide north-facing veranda limits direct sunlight in the summer but allows low-lying winter sun into the rooms which comprise a living/dining area, kitchen and master bedroom with ensuite with a large spa bath in behind bi-folding windows. A second bedroom is multi-purpose with a pull-down queen-size bed and wardrobe space comprised of an office desk and a sewing/hobbies table. This room can also become a second living space or media room. 

Careful thought has been given to the ‘softening’ of vertical metal cladding with an alternative sustainable timber cladding that is eco-friendly and virtually maintenance free. Euroclad Selekta (Silver Oak) horizontal boards – a pre-finished composite timber cladding – have been used along the veranda.

A middle courtyard has an retractable louvred roof which can be closed in winter or when it’s raining but opened in winter to bring sunlight deep into the house. 

Roof and wall cladding

It was important in the selection of roof and wall cladding for the habited area that the profile matched the adjoining hangar and T-Rib from Metalcraft, Christchurch, creating a feeling of the hangar and home being one building. It was the strong vertical lines of the MC760 T-Rib roof and cladding that Julie-Ann chose for the Harrex project. 

All windows were picture framed, making them all symmetrical with the aluminium inside the flashing.  Three Velux skylights close together were back flashed with a cricket flashing which was a challenging detail as the skylights were on a different pitch to the roof. A fourth skylight was installed in the bathroom. 

Outdure Decking is on a Qwickbuild aluminium system, this composite decking containing at least 90 – 95% recycled materials in a mix of HDPE or PVC and wood fibre.  The boards are splinter free, termite proof, do not leach and are scratch, fade and mould resistant.

“Luckily the site is north facing and on the approach to the Alexander Airport the Harrex home is the first development you see with its cladding blending so well and in keeping with the environment,” says Julie-Ann Ross. 

“This hangar home is ideal for the owner who has a genuine passion for planes and flying: being able to park his planes in the hangar and walk inside to his home has been a dream come true for this pilot.”

Design Arc Limited

The company provides creative architectural solutions, specialising in renovations and new residential builds. Design Arc is committed to providing an excellent client-focused service and Julie-Ann Ross believes every project is unique, its style created from the client’s lifestyle, needs and flair.


Design Arc Limited
Mobile: 021 068 6804

Main Contractor and Hangar Designer
Cohesive Construction/Wide Span Sheds, Central Otago
James Dodd

Roofing/Cladding Manufacturer
Metalcraft Roofing, Christchurch and Cromwell
Metalcraft T-Rib MC760
Sandstone Grey, Ironsand (roller doors)

Roofing Installer
Cohesive Construction/Wide Span Sheds, Central Otago