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Amisfield Wine Company by Warren & Mahoney

When winning the 2004 NZIA awards for Best Hospitality/Tourism project for Warren and Mahoney, the judges said of Amisfield "The massive stone gables and cellar walls of this elegant barn structure forcefully ground the building in its Central Otago landscape making it robust, welcoming timeless and enduring." And it has certainly aged well - we discovered this gem when on holiday and we very pleased to discover it uses Peter Fell colour throughout.

Concrete is used in the main restaurant area where it has been ground, combining the shape and colour of locally sourced stone, with a light colour that provides the base tone for the colour pallette for the internal space.

Outside the same colour is used, but it is not ground so you see a continuity of colour but a distinction between the spaces. The courtyard area has also been cut into large flagstones in a shape that suits the rest of the design, including the pond with a stone border.

The winery was subject to a Trends magazine article (click to see full article and more photos) which reads as follows:

"The owners provided the architects with quite an explicit design brief. "Our task was to create a memorable building that was readily identifiable as part of the Queenstown geography," says Kerry Mason, formerly of Warren & Mahoney. "It needed to include strong elements of the Central Otago's traditional vernacular, but with a contemporary interpretation." Mason says initially most of the emphasis was on the workingwinery aspect. However, the project gradually developed a definite hospitality focus over time - something that didn't alter the original design intent. "The surrounding area is characterised by sharp mountain peaks - a massive land-scape," he says. "We sought to design a building that would respect the landscape and be strong enough to hold its own in this dominant setting."

Built on three levels, the winery features a wine cellar below a double-height area for wine tasting, sales, storage, dining and back-of-house facilities. The sharply pitched roof houses the boardroom and administration area. The building's long, slender form, constructed from local schist, is topped by a steep copper roof. Another significant design element is the gabled end, which features a 4.5m-high window facing the road. "Buildings in the area traditionally had a lot of wall mass and small window openings, but we wanted to capture the mountain views and to balance the proportion of solid to void," says the architect. A rectangular courtyard with an outdoor fireplace and a long display pool opens off the winery's main level.

The landscaping is an extension of the architectural language, says landscape designer Brett Thomson. "Walls extend out from the building and disappear into the rising ground, making it hard to know where one element finishes and the other begins," he says. "The rough natural materials contrast with the subtle art of wine making."

Many thanks to the following people for helping get this together:

Fleur Caulton at Amisfield

Brett Thomson at Darby Partners

Ian Adamson of Warren & Mahoney

Mark Dempsey and Ray Casey of Firth at Queenstown

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