Peppermint Bay provides a threshold for visitors to the inspiring landscape south of Hobart – Australia’s southern-most capital city. The winding journey by boat or car to the peninsula is continued at the site in a labyrinthine path through the garden, culminating at a 100 year old oak tree. In addition to its function as path, this path structures the building’s internal arrangement and for further development of the site and garden over time.
An elongated entry space connecting carpark and garden commences the on-site journey. Glimpses are provided to the kitchen, bar and restaurant spaces beyond. One side of the path is described by a timber container harbouring entry points to the public areas and which provides for a series of poche spaces for service areas and stores. The public spaces beyond the wall are divided into three zones, each of which has a precise and different relationship to the landscape.
A grey metal landscape results from the gathering of all roof and wall elements, exhausts, and entry and exit sequences into a single folded plate. This landscape contrasts with the lush interior – recalling the interplay of inner and outer as explored in the work of Parent and Virilio and later Nouvel. At a pragmatic level, this strategy resolved issues of building a cheap building – a “zippered up” exterior using traditional shed materials and a more luxuriant yet restrained interior where the detailing could be more exploratory and invited less risk.
The front of the roof plate opens to a complex glazed wall between the public spaces and views beyond and provides an overall form and facade pattern responsive to this unique Tasmanian setting. At its most focused engagement – with the oak tree that sits at the centre of the building geometry – the work of C.D Freidrich and Munch (and the links between these works as outlined in Rosenblum) is recalled in the frontal engagement with this element.
As in Kahn’s famous sketch of the room, the building engages with an other – in this case the other is landscape and completes the composition.