The Edge, Port Douglas

WINNER – 2015 AIA ARCHITECTURE AWARDS – FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND, EDDIE ORIBIN AWARD FOR BUILDING OF THE YEAR
WINNER – 2015 AIA ARCHITECTURE AWARDS – QUEENSLAND STATE AWARD, RESIDENTIAL CATEGORY
WINNER – 2015 MASTER BUILDERS AWARDS – TOP NATIONAL AWARD FOR BEST HOUSE IN AUSTRALIA

Conceptual framework:

All about the view, The Edge was conceived as a cantilevered living platform and the form of the building was distilled and refined from a base envelope generated by the site’s steep topography combined with the constraints and limitations of the local planning scheme requirements.
Public and Cultural Benefits:
A discreet intervention on a prominent site below a public lookout, council mandated that no part of Four Mile Beach was to be obscured from vision. The project represents a successful mediation of opposing priorities between public and private place, in the form of a new contemporary tropical housing prototype contributing to a progressive change in culture driven by architecture.

Relationship of Built Form to Context:

Flagstaff Hill in Port Douglas is characterised by an eclectic mix of resort style development. This house contributes as a contemporary punctuation and counterpoint to the more traditional & stylistic modes.

Program Resolution:

Critical to our approach was in developing new ways of living in tropical latitude, by providing secure yet flexible open areas for all functions including living, entertaining, dining, recreation & swimming, which are completely naturally ventilated and further enhanced with integrated building systems. These flexible main living areas open into the view with cascading waterfall features which further provide evaporative cooling effect in the drier months. The undercroft houses utility areas for plant equipment.

Integration of Allied Disciplines:

In all of our work, we strive for innovation and new solutions to the problems of living with climate change in the 21st Century. Integration of Allied Disciplines was critical to the successful delivery of our vision for the project, in particular the hydraulic & structural engineering which not only facilitated the advanced sustainability initiatives but also the practical requirements for withstanding annual cyclonic weather events.

Cost/Value Outcome:

The project was developed and procured through an intensive value management process, resulting in a highly cost-effective solution to the client’s specific requirements.

Sustainability:

The entire roof area is harvested to in-ground water tanks integrated with all hydraulic systems for user control over diversion between irrigation and other non-potable operations. We utilised low energy LED fittings throughout along with low water usage plumbing fixtures. The open plan configuration naturally promotes mixed mode operation with regard to cross-flow ventilation vs. use of air-conditioning. With insulated thermal mass engineering, the cladded concrete structure is ideal for the location due to its inherent long life cycle efficiency and material properties to deal with the harsh, corrosive wet tropical environment.

Response to Client and User needs:

Our client required a safe & secure retreat with absolute visible and audible privacy, which set us a significant siting challenge from the outset. We schemed the house akin to a shell or outdoor auditorium with it’s back to the onlookers at the public lookout behind. Once inside, the house is conceived as a large living room which literally stretches into the horizon over the sea.