Project Name: Bendigo Terrace House
Architecture: Condon Scott Architects
Lead Architect: Barry Condon
Interior Designer: Mel Mueller
Builder: Hudson Builders
Interior Designer: Mel Mueller
Engineer: Meyer Cruden Engineering
Location: Bendigo, New Zealand
Area: 382 m²
Photo Credits: Simon Larkin
Finalist – Best Awards 2023, Spatial > Residential category (Designer’s Institute of New Zealand)
Shortlisted – Housing Award, 2023 NZIA (New Zealand Institute of Architects) Southern Architecture Awards
Located amongst vineyards in the foothills of the Dunstan Mountains in Central Otago, New Zealand, the client was seeking to create a permanent home that capitalized on the impressive view’s westwards. They were looking for a design that could bring all day sunlight into the living spaces, with a clean and uncluttered feel, that captured the huge surrounding panorama. This brief for a minimal form was distilled down to a floor plane and a roof plane, with fully glazed walls between. The idea was to create an open pavilion that appeared to almost float over the rocky site, allowing occupants to look up and down the valley in its entirety.
“When I first came to the site, I was immediately struck by the gully of exposed schist adjacent to the site and the outlook to the Pisa mountain range, which sits about 10 kilometres away”, shares Barry. In order to capture as much of the landscape as possible, the clients considered a clean and minimalist design — something that would frame the scenery rather than take away from it. But there was another element competing with the view: the growing vineyard.
The floating form was achieved by creating a negative space around the perimeter of the ground floor plane, cantilevering the oversized concrete floor slab. This reflects the roof form above, sitting at 3m high to ensure the mountain range is not cropped from view. Internally, there are a series of pods containing the services. These pods are set back from the glazing line creating a corridor. Windows and internal doors retract into the walls, connecting the interior spaces to the vines and beyond. On such an exposed site, extreme wind is a given. To address this, the layout of the single storey home is an H shaped configuration, creating an arrangement of sheltered terraces and courtyards for outdoor living.
A rigorous design approach was taken to ensure the home performs well in the variable climate. Passive solar design was a priority. The roof plane is cantilevered 1m beyond the ground floor to deflect the sun’s intensity during summer, while allowing sunlight into the home during winter, where heat is absorbed by the building’s thermal mass. Natural, locally sourced, cladding and construction materials that perform well in Otago and fit the minimal brief have been used. The exterior walls are clad in vertical light-stained cedar and schist.
Use of this locally sourced stone ties the building to the site’s adjacent rocky schist gully and the region’s pioneering history. Internally, polished concrete floors and dark-stained timber and veneer continue the minimal palette. Timber batten ceilings create visual interest and improve acoustic performance.
To fast-track livability for the clients, the project was implemented in stages. The first pavilion built includes the living spaces and master bedroom. The second stage, linked by a glazed hallway, contains the guest bedrooms, laundry, and wine cellar, and was completed the following year in 2022. Despite being based overseas, the clients played an active role during the construction and were involved in site meetings where possible. Hurdles such as Covid 19, lockdowns, isolating staff and supply chain issues were all overcome, with the clients placing a huge amount of trust in the architects and their build team.