bendemeer residence

queenstown, new zealand

Completion date: tbd

Expansive  landscape blankets  the earth to reveal  the primordial beauty of  Bendemeer, a small residential  area just outside of Queenstown,  New Zealand. A site endowed with so  much drama, including challenging winds,  a temperate climate and breathtaking views,  the house was conceived in direct response to  the natural conditions of the site. The limits of  the lot are difficult to distinguish and demand a building  that treads lightly on its fragile ground. The construction, therefore,  also needed to be swift and unobstructive. Therein laid the challenges for  what would become a unique, pioneering design.

Among  the home’s  most distinct  features is a layered  entry sequence, a wind-and-sun  protected courtyard and a natural  viewing terrace equipped with a fire  pit and Jacuzzi. The wind analysis revealed  a need for a wind barrier. That is –a wall,or  series of walls that would shelter the home from  prevailing winds coming from the west. Therefore, the  garage and driveway are positioned near the lane to break  the wind and provide privacy and shelter to the home, allowing  the living spaces to be uninterrupted of natural beauty.

The  layering  of walls clad  in natural shist,  rammed earth and timber,  abstract the surrounding mountain  ranges, which are both near and distant.  In response to sun and view analysis, the  living spaces were positioned opposite of the  wind wall and detached, in order to form a covered  outdoor space, protected from the wind and hot summer  sun. Each of the home’s four individual quadrants are organized  around a central spine and serve a dedicated function: Master suite,  living pavilion, children’s rooms & guest suite.

The  house  utilizes  locally sourced  materials and construction  methods including rammed earth,  shist-rock cladding and the use of  cross-laminated timber. The structure consists  of 7-inch thick CLT panels supported on a combination  of helical piers and timber beams. Comprehensive research  and analysis proved that, based on the local labor trades,  limited site access and a temperate climate, a dry construction  system was necessary. The abundance of sustainably harvested timber  on the island led to the ultimate use of CLT construction methods.

Contemporary  communities are  becoming known for  their overdevelopment  and disconnect from their  surrounding environments. Responding  to the context and elevating the ground  plane above the natural conditions of the  site root this innovative home within the virgin  landscape. With this home, form follows nature.