Sited within a 16 hectare estate in world heritage tropical rainforest, the initial design brief called for a signature sustainable country residence to provide eco-tourism opportunities as an executive retreat.
The conceptual framework for the project embodies ongoing pre-occupation and experimentation core to our practice in the idea of un-conventional outcomes from a set of conventional criteria. The climate of the wet tropics enables you to think about buildings in an entirely unique manner – one can literally design an open outdoor room under a large roof canopy due to the minor annual temperature fluctuation. The idea of presenting the client with a challenge is of interest to us, re-defining possibilities of living, expanding the imagination. Narrative design processes applied to the site restraints and planning criteria resulted in a house design as calligraphic sign, simultaneously zoomorphic ‘of place’ and culturally symbolic as a ‘big shed’.
The building is nestled into the rainforest, sited on an elevated ridge line to maximize breathtaking rural views over the working sugar cane farm toward the Daintree National Park. The intention was to create low impact on surrounding environment yet high profile outcome serving the client to meet potential market expectation and providing users with sustainable luxury in the form of a progressive tropical architecture. The program performs seamlessly in transition between public and private domain, segregated into discreet living pavilions under a curious ‘ribbon’ roof canopy. The extension of cover provides essential all-year weather protection and shade – the thermal massing of the exposed structural finishes built in to the hillside translates as ‘coolth’ to the interior further enhanced by cross flow ventilation and evaporative cooling effect from surrounding ponds and water features.
The project was a true collaboration by all consultants, engineering in adverse conditions on a steep hill-slope to provide a sustainable solution that has real sense of place and connection with its surrounds. Design engineered sustainable initiatives incorporated a total rainwater harvesting solution not reliant on town water supply, advanced tertiary sewerage treatment plant with recycled landscaping irrigation infrastructure, low energy fixtures & fittings throughout, passive ventilation systems and long-term life cycle efficiency.