Tree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase

Tree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase

Tree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase - FacadeTree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase - WindowsTree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase - WindowsTree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase - Sofa, Windows, BeamTree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase - More Images+ 12

Lobethal, Australia

The 'Tree Pavilions' provide a small home for a retired couple on the outskirts of Lobethal. The site is part of a community subdivision created in the mid 2000's, featuring several clusters of indigenous stringy bark trees and has a 1 in 4 slope across the property.

Tree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase - Windows, Facade
© David Russell

Being on the outskirts of the township, the views to the north and west are of the rolling pastures of the adjoining farmland.

The site of the house was juggled between the existing stringy bark trees with only one large pine tree (introduced species) being removed to suit the pavilion arrangement. Due to the slope of the land and the desire to minimise the impact on the site, the residence is comprised of two independent pavilions perpendicular to each other suspended above the ground. The upper level, with the main entry being from the access roadway, provides the living area, whilst the lower level caters for sleeping and guest areas of the house.

Tree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase - Stairs, Handrail, Beam, Windows
© David Russell

Arrival to the site is pronounced with a large concrete entry slab from which point the suspended walkway is launched, providing the linkage to the entry of the house.

The living pavilion has been orientated along the east-west axis with full height glazing on the north side to maximise views and solar access in winter with the roof overhang providing protection to the glazing during summer.


The lower pavilion is orientated on the north-south axis and appears to float below the upper structure with the only connection being a glazed perimeter. Both pavilions are largely supported by four rectangular columns located at the intersecting corners of the two pavilions.

The house is anchored back to the earth with a robust rammed earth wall, which is a feature in the living area, and charcoal coloured laundry and entry ‘pod.’

Tree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase - Windows
© David Russell

The two pavilions with their ample glazing and lightweight reflective cladding reinforce the lightness of the structure as they float across the site in contrast to the grounding entry pod.

Passive environmental design elements including double glazing, louvres for cross ventilation, a heavily insulated external skin and large roof overhangs assist in the sustainability of the pavilions. Stormwater is harvested from all the roofs, stored in large above ground tanks and pumped back into the house. In the event of the tanks overflowing, the excess water will 'bubble up' onto the stone creek bed and flow through the site.

Lower Floor Plan

Construction access to the site was difficult due to the slope of land and on this basis the selection of structural steel to provide the framework for the two platform levels was the logical choice. The platforms and the associated steelworks were erected from the access driveway, enabling the remainder of the construction to be completed.

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Cite: "Tree Pavilions / Swanbury Penglase" 04 Mar 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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