Daintree FNQ Australia – M3 Architecture
The Daintree is one of Australia’s iconic tropical rainforest regions. It abounds with lush vegetation, cassowaries, tree kangaroos and more than a few salt-water crocodiles!
The region is environmentally sensitive, sitting on a spur of the Great Dividing Range that runs down to the Coral Sea, approximately 125 kilometres (80 miles) north of Cairns. Most of the Daintree is protected with minimal development but the area is well known for it’s conservationist population.
The climate is typically tropical with high temperatures and consistent humidity for much of the year. Maximising ventilation is a necessity. This home has been built in a natural clearing thereby avoiding the need to remove any mature trees. The surrounding trees ensure good shading and natural air-flow. The design marries the joy of the rainforest, with the best of holiday life at the beach.
The home is a series of pavilions with winding pathways and structures connected by walkways. A white rope leads the way through the landscape and the house acting “as a gate, balustrade, towel rail, lamp shade and support for a hammock throughout the home.”
The pavilions provide multiple sleeping arrangements with couple rooms that transform into bunk rooms and living spaces that serve as makeshift campsites.
Clad in black plastic and mirrored glass, the home melds with the shadow of the rainforest canopy. The plywood lined interior opens to the surrounds, engaging the canopy through tall south-facing windows.
From the architect:
This house is off-grid in the Daintree Rainforest, close to the beach at Cape Tribulation. This is an ancient ecosystem deserving of a sensitive approach to site. The design accentuates qualities of the rainforest coupled with attributes of holiday life at the beach.
A path organises the site and choreographs a journey from the road, through the dense rainforest vegetation and down to the beach. Along the path, a continuous white rope orients and playfully leads the way through the landscape and house, performing feats of domesticity along the way: a gate, a balustrade, a towel rail, a lamp shade and support for a hammock.
The house is located along the path in a natural clearing, avoiding any mature tree removal. The exterior of the house is camouflaged with black plastic cladding and mirrored glass, allowing it to recede into the shadow of the rainforest canopy. On approach, the interior of the house becomes apparent: a light space clad with plywood, a counterpoint to the otherwise cool, dark green of the rainforest surrounds. These spaces engage the rainforest canopy via tall south facing windows and a dark blue ceiling foreground is used to draw in the rainforest canopy.
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The third tallest and second heaviest bird species alive today, the cassowary is rapidly heading toward extinction as we encroach on it’s habitat. Most cassowaries die as road kill or the victims of dog packs long before old age. They are a shy bird, typically avoiding human contact but are extremely dangerous when threatened. Any bird able to run at 50kmh (30mph) obviously has powerful legs! Each of those legs ends in three razor sharp claws capable of striking 1.5 metres (5′) above the ground! Beautiful, but potentially deadly.