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Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa

Homestead and pool buildings Homestead and pool buildings Brett boardman Photography

Turner and Associates Architects and Taylor Thomson Whitting Consulting Engineers

NSW & ACT Entries 2010

Winner of The Environmental Commitment Award, 2010

Winner of The Resorts Award, 2010

Winner of The Sustainable Design – Commercial Award, 2010

This project is a small, luxury, carbon neutral resort located at the foot of towering sandstone escarpments in the NSW Blue Mountains. The resort is surrounded by National Parks and is set amongst 1,600 hectares of conservation reserve.

The resort precinct occupies two per cent of this area, and consists of forty freestanding villas laid out around the resort facilities, comprising a homestead building, pool, sauna and gym building and day spa. The homestead contains reception, dining, conference and bar facilities, while the spa facility offers a variety of treatment and therapies.

The guest buildings are conceived of as a family of structures gathered around the central homestead building. The material expression of the buildings is therefore familial, with local stone, Australian hardwoods and corrugated iron as the primary materials.

The architecture is honest, refined, and quiet, deferring to the natural beauty, scale and complexity of its unique site. The design references identifiable Australian rural building forms, and enriches them with refined contemporary detail elements, allowing the character of the buildings to unfold slowly.

Timber is the predominant material in the expression of the architectural, structural, landscape, interior and furniture design. This decision acknowledges the honesty and integrity, warmth and richness that timber offers, along with a limitless range of expression of scale, colour and texture.

Hardwood timbers recycled from local rail bridges, sourced on site from fallen timber or reclaimed agricultural items such as fence posts are used alongside timber sourced from renewable Australian sources.

All resort buildings are clad in oiled wall panels of expressed hardwood stud with strip infills, providing a contemporary depth and rhythm to the expression of the facades. Internal linings are predominantly painted v-joint lining boards or detailed timber joinery panels over hardwood timber strip flooring.

The homestead building balances a robust recycled hardwood truss roof and perimeter structure against a filigree of horizontal batten balustrades and roof to the covered way.

The spa features a sculptural hardwood batten shade skirt over the building’s glazed spine, providing dappled light to the space, and encouraging cross ventilation. Inside, unfinished tree trunks are arranged in sculptural groups.

The design seeks to ‘build in’ elements of the pastoral and natural heritage by integration of found objects into the built fabric. From upturned root balls installed as sculpture in the paddocks, fallen timber milled on site for reuse in the structure and expression of the buildings, to reclaimed agricultural elements reinvented as furniture and lighting, collaboration with landscape architects, local artisans and interior designers has ensured a consistency of vision throughout the project, providing a level of richness and individuality not available through proprietary specification.

These design decisions further represent a benchmark in contemporary sustainable construction, acknowledging the natural ability of timber to store and lock away carbon for the life of the buildings.

Entered into:
  • Best Use Of Recycled Timber, 2010
  • Best Use Of Timber as a Structural Element, 2010
  • Best Use Of Solid Timber Cladding, 2010
  • Resorts, including apartments and aged care, 2010
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