The sub-tropical climate of the Noosa hinterland delivers warm weather for nine months of the year. During these times there is little, apart the occasional Queensland heat wave or downpour, to force locals indoors. Spending as much time as possible outside makes perfect sense.
But good weather isn’t the only thing going for this part of the world. The region’s rainforests, creeks, clear skies, wildlife and laid-back lifestyle all combine to make it a seriously attractive place to live.
And, if that all sounds too good to be true, you can also add innovative architecture to the area’s list of pluses. Increasingly, projects like Sparks Architects’ Tent House are popping up in the region.
Sitting at the end of a winding driveway, the three-bedroom dwelling counts a remnant rainforest and a small creek as ‘neighbours’. Native trees reaching heights of 40 m form a ‘wall’ across the property’s northern boundary and the setting has its own microclimate.
The name of the house is no exaggeration. Considering all of the above along with the Australian campsite heritage, the architects and builders really have created a ‘Tent House’. Running east to west, it features an insulated ‘pavilion’ that sits beneath a translucent tent structure. That inner pavilion can be opened or closed, depending on the season/weather.
So when it warms up the roof, walls, doors roll back to allow the residents to enjoy the fresh air and natural surroundings. The masts, cables and fabric that constitute the ‘tent’ not only spare them from the harsh sun but also, themselves, contribute to the house’s cooling system.
Moving from the enclosed, sheltered mode to the open, expansive mode is a simple task. In the case of the doors and walls it is done manually, while the movement of the roof is automated.
The architects used LYSAGHT CUSTOM ORB® roof sheeting, Australia’s original corrugated roof sheeting, for these automated sections of roof, as well as for all fixed roofing sections, gutters and downpipes.
“The sliding roofs were shallow sprung. We chose LYSAGHT CUSTOM ORB® roof sheeting here because it has a willingness to curve gently and it allowed us to keep a low profile,” said Dan Sparks of Sparks’ Architects.
“We wanted the pavilion underneath the white translucent tent to be darker, to sit in shadow and recede rather than stand out. We wanted the tent to be the stronger element of the two. So we went with Monument and Basalt colours for the pavilion. We then used those colours for paint finishes as well.”
These colours fit nicely with the darker tones of the rainforest trees. While the tent fabric is quite ethereal and responds to the changing light of different times of day, the darker pavilion roots the house firmly in its bushland setting.
“We wanted a translucent material to get the lighting qualities underneath the tent and any structural element associated with the membrane itself we also painted white to read as part of that system. But we wanted the box underneath to recede like shadows among the trees,” said Dan.
According to Dan, Sparks’ Architects uses products made from COLORBOND® steel in all their projects. “They give us the colour options and the durability that we have come to expect from Lysaght,” he said.
And they have helped ensure that Tent House is one of the most interesting and innovative recent additions to the architecture of the Noosa Hinterland.