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A Spectacular Central Otago Home That Retreats Into The Landscape

Architecture

On an exposed site with historic mining tailings lies Black Quail – a breathtaking new home designed by Bergendy Cooke

Located in Bannockburn, Central Otago (New Zealand’s southernmost wine region), beneath the client’s own vineyard, the brief called for a house protected from the elements, that simultaneously embraced its extraordinary river gorge views. 

The solution – a sculptural home crafted from a quietly robust material palette, with multiple outdoor areas to suit extreme climate variations. The residence appears naturally embedded in its site, with the intention of disappearing into the mining tailings over time. Breathtaking!

20th December, 2021

Black Quail is a breathtaking new home in Central Otago, New Zealand, designed by Bergendy Cooke. Photo – Simon Devitt. Styling – Michelle Freeman

Pebbles on the roof deliberately appear as part of the existing environment. Photo – Simon Devitt. Styling – Michelle Freeman

The material palette incorporates subtly-coloured precast concrete panels; oiled and weathered steel panels (referencing historic mining huts littered up the gorge). Photo – Simon Devitt. Styling – Michelle Freeman

The interiors are designed to appear handmade, with imperfections showcased in the Tasmanian oak panelling and ‘burnt off’ concrete floors coloured by Peter Fell. Photo – Simon Devitt. Styling – Michelle Freeman

A central courtyard and outdoor areas to the home’s east and west offer a variety of experiences to suit different climatic conditions. Photos – Simon Devitt. Styling – Michelle Freeman

Bergendy is most proud of the spectacular building’s relationship to the land, being hunkered down and modest in its personality. Photos – Simon Devitt. Styling – Michelle Freeman

The refined and ‘pure’ architectural form is reminiscent of Portuguese architects Álvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Aires Mateus’ work. Photo – Simon Devitt. Styling – Michelle Freeman

Bergendy describes the clients’ vision as: ‘A home that rested within the landscape and felt part of it, minimising its presence, with the intention to disappear as much as possible within the historic mining tailings.’ Photo – Simon Devitt. Styling – Michelle Freeman

Amelia Barnes
Monday 20th December 2021

‘It was important to not over complicate the forms, as this would be too challenging for the site, and we would have been defeated.’ – Bergendy Cooke 

The owners of this site in Bannockburn, Central Otago (New Zealand’s most inland region, located in the southern half of the South Island) engaged Bergendy Cooke to design a home where they could eventually retire. 

The architect’s response was driven by the unique site, which offers stunning views of Kawarau Gorge and the client’s existing vineyard, while also being exposed to often harsh climatic conditions. A timeless solution was devised, adopting a refined and ‘pure’ architectural form, reminiscent of Portuguese architects Álvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Aires Mateus’ work. 

‘Although New Zealand has a strong history of timber construction, the site demanded something equally robust and that aged over time, so it became itself embedded in the landscape,’ explains Bergendy. ‘I have always had a tendency to be inspired by both sculpture and architecture that draws from a limited palette and language. It was important to not over complicate the forms, as this would be too challenging for the site, and we would have been defeated.’

The material palette incorporates subtly-coloured, precast concrete panels; oiled and weathered steel panels (referencing historic mining huts up the gorge); and pebbles on the roof that appear part of the existing environment.

A central courtyard and outdoor areas to the home’s east and west offer a variety of experiences to suit different climatic conditions. The former is a lush retreat – an inviting contrast to the otherwise desert-like surrounds dotted with wild thyme and rose hip.

The interiors are designed to appear handmade, with imperfections showcased in the Tasmanian oak panelling and ‘burnt off’ concrete floors coloured by Peter Fell. ‘This finish also paid homage to Geoffrey Bawa, whose work, although contemporary, always embraced the expertise of local artisans,’ says Bergendy.

Bergendy is most proud of the spectacular building’s relationship to the land, being hunkered down and modest in its character. She intends for the home to blend even further into the landscape over time, almost disappearing into the site’s historic mining tailings. 

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