Text description provided by the architects. The studio captures the hill and takes command of the surroundings without bruising the landscape.
The intervention, sited on the edge of a ridge beside Mt Cooroy, the paramounts were the breathtaking views, visual amenity of the surrounds, sustainability, flexibility, and the high wind factor. Also of great concern was the issue of constructability on this precipitous site and creating permanent access to the Pavilion.
Functionally, the concept has two distinct pavilions.
The “service pavilion,” sheathed in steel profile sheeting, contains toilets, bathroom and commercial kitchen. The multiple curved roofed structure is sunk into a landscaped “crater” on the top of the hill, reducing visual impact for the servicing component of the building.
This tactic then frees up the “studio pavilion” to have glassed doors on all sides. Because the “service” pavilion becomes part of the “hill cap” the “studio pavilion” has a sense of weightlessness floating like a translucent box kite amplifying the tectonics of lightness and translucency. A large area of deck-space surrounds the “studio pavilion” and connects to the “service pavilion.”
The retractable bi-fold fenestration allows indoor/outdoor connectivity depending on wind direction or sun position. In some of the door leafs there are sash-less double hung windows for ventilation when all doors are closed. ‘Svenson’ environmental blinds over the doors allow varying degrees of spatial introversion. Externally the translucent foils permit natural light while reducing glare and providing shade. Below the main studio is an art storage, sleeping or service space.
A primary intention from the project’s inception was self-sufficiency: multi-functional space; local materials with low embodied energy where possible. To this end, tectonics are all – creating simplicity.
Structural components were designed to facilitate transportation, helicopter airlifting and ease of assembly. The simple ‘mecano’-like components of the steel structural super-frame enabled fast and precise assembly on site reducing the amount of erection time as well as minimizing impact on the site during construction.
The main studio building with 3m high bi-folding doors an all four sides has no cladding whatsoever. Fully expressed steel structural portal frames on both sides allow the main space to open in any direction making the wide verandas part of the internal space. This enables a truly multifunction space which takes advantage of the views, prevailing winds and maintains maximum flexibility for various size workshops and private functions.
The roof of the service wing is a segment of a cone with a larger radius at the top and a smaller radius at the bottom. The ‘Wilderness’ colorbond cladding was specifically chosen to blend in with the natural colour of the landscape and the green backdrop of Mt Cooroy, whilst being an expression of the building’s utilitarian function.
Water tanks, complement the rural aesthetic setting and the extra large gutters maximize rain water collection.
Photovoltaic solar panels capable of powering the entire complex in a normal day to day operation have been installed on the main roof.
Compared to a more conventional solution, this project gives a different perspective on the visual impact of the installation from neighbouring vantage points and has been nicknamed the ‘helicopter’ by neighbours.
Like an Asian temple the building compliments the surrounding landscape while at the same time it engages with it and is completely self sufficient in terms of water, electricity and sewage.