An architectural retreat that highlights a sense of poetic connection with the landscape; like a moving shadow this design allows for different experiences throughout the day, season and year.
This design is situated in a regional Australian setting, on the site of the 2002 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Glenn Murcutt’s Marie Short House (1974-1975) in Kempsey, NSW. A facility that hosts an educational retreat and additional farming enterprises, having accommodation, studios and supporting spaces.
A key factor in this design was to be at one with the landscape rather than imposing itself on the land. It has to be empathetic to the existing award-winning house, as well as being its own unique design solution.
A minimal design that maximises the use of natural light, ventilation and orientation, it is designed as a series of pavilions that allows the visitor to experience different relationships within the built form and external environment. The pavilions enable the buildings to become ‘invisible’ within its natural surroundings, providing for long views beyond, through its building placements and use of natural materials. The series of pavilions are connected through a thin ‘floating’ covered walkway, allowing for protection against the natural elements as well as connecting all the forms together.
A series of reed beds are also used in close proximity to the buildings to allow for natural cooling in the summer months whilst also adding a sense of tranquillity to the site through the sound of trickling water.
The butterfly roof form is used to emphasise the views from within and to minimise the visual impact of the new development on the existing Maire Short house (situated higher up on the site). This form is repeated with the edge detailing of the gutter over the walkway, which allows a beautiful shadow line to define the built form throughout the entire complex.
Mostly designed as a single storey element, the sleeping quarters extends to incorporate a second storey. Located in the far south-west corner of the site, this allows the visitor to experience the site at tree level, connecting further with the landscape. It minimises the overall footprint of the development whilst respecting its surrounding environment.