Text description provided by the architects. Designed to captivate guests upon arrival, this project involved the creation of an array of linear pods for short-term accommodation in Hepburn Springs. Perched high on stilts on top of the hill, careful consideration has been taken to ensure minimal impact to the ground, leading to minimal excavation, disruption and foot print, with sustainability and uniqueness a key consideration throughout the whole design.
Each individual pod is single level, allowing for accommodation for two people. The one bedroom accommodation features 59sqm of internal area and 16sqm of external space, plus a large balcony of 12.4sqm. They feature a marbled twin spa that sits within an open plan bedroom directly opposite a double-sided gas log fire that can be enjoyed from either the bed, spa or lounge. They also feature a king size bed, double shower, fully equipped kitchen and designer interiors. A mixture of natural textures and materials with warm hues have been carefully considered and used throughout to create the ultimate indulgent break, and total privacy for guests.
The Hepburn Springs area offers a high number of commercial, short-term residential stay options which meant this project needed an additional edge to its design to provide a point of difference for guests and to ensure commercial success. This was achieved through the pod visual design impact created for guests upon arrival from the main road and through its ability to provide a way for guests to connect with nature during their stay at the pods. This was a rare opportunity to design and deliver a commercial property that complimented and became an extension of the landscape and its natural surroundings with the pods themselves inspired from the landscape and scenery itself.
Each pod has been built with sustainability in mind. The single level structure has been designed on stilts to minimise the footprint on the surrounding landscape and a number of ESD elements have been incorporated throughout. They have also been built to ensure relaxing views of the surrounding countryside, allowing guests to enjoy being transported into the natural environment and in turn, promoting relaxation, contemplation and rejuvenation. Creating a sustainable environment was of utmost important to the client. It was crucial that the existing landscape was protected throughout the whole process, including the final design and actual construction of the pods. Sustainability has been achieved and supported through the use of architecturally designed water spouts that direct rainwater into a naturally filtered reticulation system. This allows for water harvesting that is re-used on the landscape. Other sustainability features include photovoltaic cells for electricity generation, large eaves in living areas for solar control and open design to allow for cross ventilation.
The large, sloping embankment to the main road, and existing natural landscape to the site, created an opportunity to design built forms that were both functional and visually stunning. The significant slope required additional planning, but allowed for large extended cantilevered forms to be built, creating an immediate visual impact on arrival via the main access road. Simultaneously, the design needed to ensure that each pod/villa had sufficient privacy while incorporating as much of the natural environment. The elevated design and position of the pods/villas allows for privacy and the individual nature of the pods means guests can be placed directly within the natural surroundings.
Design and planning for these pods through the project development stages remained true to the original concept and intent, which is fairly rare when designing a commercial development. The end result of the 10 built pods heavily resembled the original concept design from the projects initial consultation with the client. New fire zone regulations for the area were introduced during the design process, making it critical to ensure that all team members were educated on the new regulations to guarantee design compliance in the final finished product and this required additional planning. Importantly the design intent was still able to be maintained through these regulatory changes.