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Covenants at the exclusive 130 ha Bendemeer
property near Lake Hayes are quite unique and less
restrictive than most of the Wakatipu Basin according
to David Ponting, Design Director of Auckland based
practice Ponting Fitzgerald.
"Bendemeer is a beautiful environment and there is
an extra layer of design flexibility allowed through
its resource consent which is not as constrained as
other areas around Queenstown," says David whose
exceptional design for a private residence on the site
is in the spotlight.
His client had "looked at everything and left no stone
unturned" in her search for a suitable location for her
new home. "When she discovered Bendemeer she
was excited to find land with such raw Central Otago
character and undulating topography."
Her singular brief for the house was "let the land
"This request was made in total respect for the
beauty she saw in the jagged rocks and expressive
contours," says David. "She provided a functional list
of requirements relating to size and number of rooms
but otherwise had no definitive expectations. It is
certainly unusual to have that degree of flexibility but
a wonderful opportunity to find out about a person's
passion and express it through architecture."
From the outset David was convinced the house could
become an integral part of the land, earthing itself in
the surrounding rock.
The result is a pair of contrasting forms but each
conceived as gliders, one which has landed grounded
amongst the rocks, and the other still in flight
skimming across a ledge.
At the time the design had to be approved by every
Bendemeer owner before construction could proceed.
However a design committee made up of directors of
Bendemeer Management Ltd now operates to provide
a smooth and enabling process for land owners.
"We received overwhelming approval for our project,
living proof that the Bendemeer covenants work well.
The owners are clearly united in their desire to see
refined contemporary architecture in this outstanding
environment," says David.
Using concrete cast against rough sawn timber,
similar to that in the existing traditional Bendemeer
woolshed, a unique structure that connects with both
the landform and heritage of Bendemeer has been
"The house has the appearance of a stone slab
projecting out of the land much like the rocks
surrounding it," he says.
Another innovative concept created by Ponting
Fitzgerald for a specific Bendemeer site is the
Snowbox, a black steel box with a secret inner
courtyard designed to fill with snow, or provide a
contemplative garden, depending on the season.
"This is an idea we came up with to show just how
powerful the Bendemeer landscape is and how
powerful the architecture in it can be," says David
who is currently working on other projects in the
Queenstown area that reflect his distinctive vision and
Mount Farm Ventures Ltd, majority site owner in the
Bendemeer development, has reinforced that while
protective land covenants and design guidelines have
been adopted, the rationale behind them is to ensure
a consistency of build.
"We don't consider the covenants are overly
restrictive. The height restrictions and specifications
which are in place are simply there to guarantee
that homes are not too intrusive on neighbouring
properties and do complement the surroundings,
without limiting personal style and creativity," says
Marketing Executive Sarah Cairns. "The outstanding
home designed by Ponting Fitzgerald is a prime
example, reflecting the flexibility of Bendemeer's
design programme, encouraging contemporary and
Bendemeer has achieved excellent sales and increased
interest and exposure in 2013 with predictions for
ongoing demand for the exclusive, quality lifestyle
"The sale of three properties alone represent 25%
of the market share for vacant lifestyle land sales in
Queenstown, ranging between $600m and $1.2m,
in the first six months of 2013," says Ms Cairns.
"We have had another three sites recently go under
contract which is a promising start to the 2014 selling
season and further underlines the growing appeal of
Bendemeer as a lifestyle option."
INSPIRES EXCEPTIONAL DESIGN
BY JENNY MCLEOD
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