Winner of The Best Northern Region (NT & Queensland) Award, 2011
The Signature Spas and Luxury villas are the finishing touches to Gwinganna Health retreat.
The Twin Signature Spas are mirror reversed bungalows that are connected by a centralised preparation area which sit over a body of water, immersed in the Australian landscape. Developed from an ideology of an elemental and sensory journey, its foundation’s being that of the elements of earth, air fire and water and of sight, sound, smell, taste & touch. Each material and architectural detail employed has been inspired by these elements and from the siting of the buildings in such a unique and precious landscape.
The four luxury villas, comprising of both double and single bed variables, are scattered along the hillside and designed to not only nestle into the land but to extend to landscape beyond.
Material selection played a key role in creating the understated luxury of the delightful architecture that stands today. Varying forms and species of timber are utilised in a myriad of applications portraying the material's versatility.
A large portion of the pallet employed for the structure and detail of the design, comprised of Australian reclaimed hardwood timbers that originated from local wharfs, bridges, and old buildings. Not only would this resource add richness, beauty, warmth and power to the project but further it would allow this project to be an example of innovative sustainable design which is lacking in so many resorts and spas throughout the world.
The Spa’s exterior portrays the adaptability of timber as evident in the exposed roof structure created from sizeable reclaimed timber members juxtaposed with the fine detail of building’s skin, woven screens constructed from form ply & recycled timber battens.
As you enter the spas, the beautifully crafted trusses demand the occupants gaze upwards in awe of their power and strength.
The luxury villas, are detailed in a much simpler fashion with the same reclaimed timbers used as smaller partially exposed beams, while the building skin is reminiscent of traditional Queenslanders with their ship lap timber cladding. These members are set against a rich background of a ceiling lined with a salvaged iron bark and spotted gum blend re-milled and kiln dried.
This ceiling treatment is mirrored on the floor using the same timber in 130mm wide boards coated to catch the sunlight flowing through from the large windows that capture and frame the surrounding views and intertwine the inside with the outside. The timber floor smoothly transitions to the external deck & day bed. Here, Spotted Gum was used, it’s deep warmth of colour acting as a compliment to the cool hues of the plunge pool it surrounds.
Further, various timber species are evident in details such as the recycled Karri utilised for carefully crafted doors & windows and the random patterning of the timber screening, which combined with the painted form ply clad the building’s exterior.
Internally eco certified veneers were specified for all the joinery ranging from vanities, cupboards and built in lounges.
The resulting product is a beautifully crafted structure combining the old with the new and in so doing delivered an extremely economical constructed building that will be around for another 100 or more years as this is the nature of carefully planning and designing using Australian hardwoods.
These buildings are a marvellous example of how timber can be adopted in various applications from structure to decorative details.