Belmount

1 Craggy Range Road, Maraetotara

  • Belmount.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Alison Dangerfield. Date: 25/09/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4412 Date Entered 28th June 1990

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Hastings District

Region

Hawke's Bay Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 DP 7287 Lot 1 DP 7747 Blk IV Kidnappers SD

Summaryopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Craggy Range, as it was known, was buiIt by William Van Asch who purchased a property of 1500 hectares in 1913. This was part of the large Tukituki Station of 4450 hectares. Van Asch was the eldest son of Gerrit Van Asch, first principal of the School of the Deaf, established at Sumner, Christchurch, 1887.

Van Asch, at the suggestion of John Chambers Jnr (a pioneer in the use of electricity) harnessed a small stream which flowed into the Tukituki near Waimarama producing five kilowatts of power. His son, Piet Van Asch, who pioneered aerial mapping in New Zealand, established New Zealand Aerial Mapping Limited and had his darkroom in the house.

After Van Asch's death in 1930, Craggy Range was run as a family estate until 1947 when it was divided into five blocks. Two of the blocks were taken over by two of Van Asch's sons while the homestead block was bought by Felix Campbell on his return from service with the RNZAF in World War II. Renamed Belmount after the family house in Ireland it remains in the same hands today.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Belmount and the land it stands on, reflect the typical development of farms in New Zealand from large landholdings to smaller tenures. In its seventy-year history the house has been associated with some prominent local figures including Piet Van Asch, father of aerial mapping in New Zealand.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

Belmount is one of four large country houses designed by Gummer in the Havelock North area over a period of twenty years from 1916. These houses collectively and individually make a significant contribution to the history of architectural design in New Zealand. Gummer's inventive and original use of elements within a relatively narrow idiom was exhibited in these houses and they were each quite different.

Belmount was the second of the houses and like its predecessor, Tauroa, was a significant, departure from contemporary house design. More so than Tauroa, Belmount was uncompromisingly modern and represents probably the first such attempt at domestic design in the modern idiom in New Zealand. Few vestiges of historicism survive in this house. The flat roofs, balconies and verandahs were a conscious response to the Hawkes Bay climate.

Designed almost six years after Gummer's return from overseas Belmount was the result of a considerable stylistic progression made at a great distance from the architect's principal sources. Comparisons can be made with Edgar Wood's flat-roofed houses in England, designed earlier that decade, or with the geometric architecture of California appearing at that time. But there were few precedents for Belmount, internationally or nationally. With this house Gummer clearly anticipated much of the modern movement in domestic design yet his work remained unknown outside his own country.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

The house provides an impressive view from the approach road.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Gummer, William Henry

Gummer (1884-1966) was articled to W.A. Holman, an Auckland architect, and qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1910. From 1908 to 1913 he travelled in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. During this time he worked for Edwin Lutyens, a leading English architect of the time, and for Daniel Burnham in Chicago. Burnham was a major American architect and one of the founders of the influential Chicago School of Architecture.

Gummer joined the firm of Hoggard and Prouse of Auckland and Wellington in 1913. Significant commissions undertaken during this period included the New Zealand Insurance (later known as the Guardian Trust) Building, Auckland (1914-18).

In 1923 Gummer, one of the most outstanding architects working in New Zealand in the first half of the twentieth century, joined with Charles Reginald Ford (1880-1972) to create an architectural partnership of national significance. The practice was responsible for the design of the Dilworth Building (1926), Auckland, the Dominion Museum (1936) and the State Insurance Building (1940), both Wellington. Gummer and Ford were awarded Gold Medals by the New Zealand Institute of Architects for their designs of the Auckland Railway Station and Remuera Library.

Gummer was also responsible for the Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch and the Cenotaph in Dunedin (1927), and the stylistically and structurally advanced Tauroa (1916), Craggy Range (1919), Arden (1926) and Te Mata (1935) homesteads at Havelock North. Elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1914, he was president of the Institute from 1933-4 and was later elected a life member.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

Belmount is a large two storey house consisting of 324 square metres downstairs and 277 square metres upstairs.

The house is of a sprawling cubic form with the most striking feature being the exposed brick exterior. There is a flat roof and numerous balconies with an irregular arrangement of windows, porches and chimneys. A shallow parapet runs the length of the second storey and along the top of the front balcony.

In the interior there is an unusual staircase which has a large number of turns (on the first landing a seat is set into the wall). The staircase ascends in the centre of the house through an arched wall. The billiards room has an exposed brick interior and reinforced concrete exterior.

The dining room fireplace is a special feature of Belmount. Red bricks form a square fireplace with a rounded hearth, while above a diamond pattern in brick four brick brackets support a Queensland maple mantelpiece. There is also a series of coloured leaded light windows on the ground floor of Belmount. Two hinged windows placed on the very corner of the library open out into the billiards room. There are unusual decorated internal windows.

Notable Features

The advanced modern design

The staircase and lead light windows downstairs

The Billiards room with the exposed brick

The dining room fireplace

Construction principles of double cavity brick and reinforced concrete

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1918 - 1919

Construction Details

The walls are of double brick with a cavity between. Reinforced concrete was used for the beams and columns of the upper storey and the front section of the house. The flat roof is covered with asphalt. Inside, the ground floor is wooden and the first floor concrete. The entry hall is panelled in fumed Queensland maple as is the library. Part of the staircase surround is also panelled in Queensland maple. Matai is the decorative timber used elsewhere in the house.

Completion Date

4th January 1990

Information Sources

Shanahan, 1983

Kieran J Shanahan, The Work of William H. Gummer, Architect, Thesis, University of Auckland, Auckland, 1983

Condy, 1986

G. Condy, The Story of New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd, 'Piet's Eye in the Sky' 1986, Grantham House

Emanuel, 1980

M. Emanuel (ed) 1980, Contemporary Architects, MacMillan Press Ltd

New Architect

New Architect

Cochran C, heritage column, No 3, 1985

Other Information

A copy of this report is available from the NZHPT Central region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.