Stamp House

WINNER – ARCHITECTS INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA (AIA) 2014 FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND AWARDS – HOUSE OF THE YEAR

Conceptual framework:

A safe and secure off-grid structure, carbon neutral in operation, as luxury retreat & sanctuary – an enigmatic bunker. A new tropical architecture of resilience, both brutal and elegant. We liked the idea that the concrete over time will age well and feature a ‘patina’ further enhancing its sense of place in the sited environment.

Public and Cultural Benefits:

A new sustainable tropical housing prototype for off-grid coastal locations.

Relationship of Built Form to Context:

By way of siting a cantilevered cyclone proof structure over an engineered water eco-system, we were intent on enhancing the sites natural wetland attributes & beauty. From the outset, we had a clear vision for the project as reflected in water with the rainforest, mountains and sky.

Program Resolution:

Critical to our approach was in developing new ways of living in tropical latitude, by providing secure yet flexible open areas for all functions including living, entertaining, dining, recreation & swimming, which are completely naturally ventilated and further enhanced with integrated building systems. These flexible main living areas oscillate around the feature central pool & landscaped courtyard, complemented with cascading waterfall features which further provides an evaporative cooling effect to both levels in the drier months. Bedrooms are designed so that each has a particular character by virtue of its orientation and unique aspect at the same time providing privacy. The undercroft houses utility areas for plant equipment.

Integration of Allied Disciplines:

In all of our work, we strive for innovation and new solutions to the problems of living with climate change in the 21st Century. Integration of Allied Disciplines was critical to the successful delivery of our vision for the project, in particular the hydraulic & structural engineering which not only facilitated the advanced sustainability initiatives but also the practical requirements for withstanding annual cyclonic weather events.

Cost/Value Outcome:

The project was developed and procured through an intensive value management process, resulting in a highly cost-effective solution to the client’s specific requirements.

Sustainability:

Stamp House is Carbon Neutral in operation. All energy is renewable, provided by the large photovoltaic array & battery storage, off-setting the use of air-conditioning and LED lighting. The entire roof area is harvested into a 250,000 litre in-ground water tank integrated with all hydraulic systems. Also featuring on-site Advanced Tertiary Sewerage treatment plant and insulated thermal mass engineering, the concrete structure is ideal for the location due to its inherent long life cycle efficiency and material properties to deal with the harsh, corrosive wet tropical environment.

Response to Client and User needs:

The Stamp House is particular to our client, a stamp dealer among other things including property developer, who had purchased 26 hectares of beach front land in the Daintree. They had a strong desire to develop a sustainable and robust estate which would ideally operate as carbon neutral in its off-grid location. They had concern regarding the annual cyclone season and associated events such as storm surge associated with king tides. They also wanted to enhance the site’s natural wetland environment.