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‘Like living on the roof of the world’: A super-home for sale in the foothills of the Remarkables

by PHILIP CHANDLER

An architectural masterpiece fronting 41 hectares of steep land below Queenstown’s Remarkables would be one of the more spectacular properties for sale in the whole of New Zealand this year.

Known as ‘Pokapu’ — Maori for ‘the essence’— the home was built for the vendor and her late husband in the mid-2000s to an award-winning design by local architect Michael Wyatt.

The home’s accessed via The Remarkables skifield’s access road.

Out front is a 900,000-litre manmade pond resembling a high country tarn, which reflects the mountains above.

Sun-drenched decking, out from the house, appears to float above the water.

Enhancing views from an entertainer’s kitchen and dining area, three ensuited bedrooms and a living area, with an open fire, are walls of glass, broken up by Gibbston schist.

Perhaps the piece de resistance is a subterranean wine cellar revealed through a glass floor.

The house itself is 470 square metres, the cellar’s 25sqm, the garage 98sqm, decking 30sqm and outdoor living area 80sqm.

The property’s listed by local NZ Sotheby’s International Realty sales associates Russell Reddell and Matt Finnigan.

Reddell’s well aware of the special location and its ‘‘amazing sunshine hours’’, as he’s neighboured it for 20 years.

‘‘It gets the last of the sunshine in the Basin, and you can see the Remarkables glow at night.’’

Despite the property’s proximity to Frankton, ‘‘no other dwellings can be seen at all’’, while neither the balance of the property, nor surrounding land, can be built on.

Wyatt, Reddell says, did ‘‘an incredible job, just the way it sits in the landscape’’.

‘‘The architecture is timeless, it’s ahead of its time.’’

Wyatt himself admits it’s ‘‘one of my better ones, I do like it’’.

‘‘It’s a fantastic experience up there, you do feel like you’re living on the roof of the world.’’

He recalls the clients gave him ‘‘more rope with this one — most clients have a preconceived notion of what their house should look like’’.

‘‘It gave me the freedom to do mono-pitched deep eaves and tilt it two ways at once, sideways and long-ways, which was a nightmare for everybody drawing it and building it, but it certainly resulted in an interesting form.’’

He says council planners were adamant it remained low-key in its setting, ‘‘so that kind of almost precluded anything higher than what we did, and it was spudded into the ground a fair bit, as well’’.

‘‘In fact, you can’t really see it driving along the Kingston Road — I’ve looked for it many
times.’’

Wyatt says he was into using tilt-slab concrete at that stage of his career — ‘‘it acts like a big nightstore heater’’.

Meanwhile, Reddell says the property’s attracting ‘‘a significant amount of interest’’.

Due to its size and ‘sensitive’ nature, probably only a Kiwi could buy it, he adds.

‘‘We’re dealing with a couple of returning expats.’’

The sales method is ‘price by negotiation’ — potentially in the $13 million to $14m bracket.

scoop@scene.co.nz