Camouflaged in an Australian rainforest located in Far North Queensland, this unique gateway into the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre is the recipient of the 2012 Eddie Oribin Award for Building of the Year presented by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). In June 2009, Charles Wright Architects (CWA) was invited by the Cairns Regional Council to enter a limited competition for the design of a new Visitors’ Centre for the Cairns Botanical Gardens. The Council sought fresh and challenging ideas to create a memorable piece of tropical architecture that would blend seamlessly into the surrounding environment. In an effort to satisfy the Council's request, CWA proposed a mirrored facade that literally reflects the surrounding gardens. The architects' describe it as having a “visual effect similar to the suit as worn by the alien hunter in the original 1987 Predator film.” The camouflaged gateway houses a café terrace, information and exhibition space, and offices for the council staff. It activates the pedestrian promenade and links the gardens with the Arts Centre, while serving as a cool and dry zone all year round for tourists visiting the often hot and wet environment of the tropical gardens.
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