Glass house to see until serenity | Canberra time

lifestyle, life, Tasmanian Architecture Awards 2021, Room 11 Architects, Tasman Peninsula, Koonya, Thomas Bailey, Big River Group, ArmourFloor, Adam Gibson

Located on the rugged Tasman Peninsula, the Koonya Pavilion is internationally recognized as a uniquely Tasmanian response to the Great Glass Houses of history. The horizontal outline of the property consists of four walls of glass and sits in perfect harmony with its beautiful natural surroundings. The dwelling was commissioned from Room 11 Architects as a retreat from the main property. Essentially, the owner wanted a great place to write – a pavilion deeply connected to the natural beauty that surrounds it. Completely open, the pavilion offers incomparable views and is synchronized with its surroundings at all levels. Having worked together on a previous project, the architect and owner had a related understanding of the intent of the building, a place to retreat to and allow its occupants to be as close to the surrounding elements as possible. “Through a growing friendship and shared artistic discernment, he placed great trust in us to create a unique and beautiful response to the site,” says Thomas Bailey, architect and director of Room 11 Architects. The main material used in the structure is glass, which enhances the experience of the surroundings, facilitating both exposure and shelter from the elements in equal measure. “The resulting building sits like two planes in the landscape and is achieved with nothing superfluous added,” says Bailey. “Responding to client requirements, the structure has a deep understanding of the landscape and its unique microclimate.” The interior has a significant mass of concrete excluding formwork, which is key to the thermal performance of the structure, and of wood which adds to the aesthetic harmony of the building. Big River Group’s premium ArmourFloor product in speckled gum was used on the walls and floors to inject heat. ArmourFloor has a unique appearance compared to conventional back-sawn products. It works alongside concrete and glass, visually connecting with the colors of the environment and allowing a new opportunity for the dwelling to bond with its surrounding landscape. “By retaining the natural characteristics of selected wood species, each sheet provides an individual, natural look, with the species’ unique grain structures preserved so that no two sheets are alike,” says John Lorente, General Manager of Big RiverGroup. The bottom or base board is the same species as the face veneer, providing superior balance and stability, allowing it to meet expectations in all geographies. All products used in the pavilion have been selected with longevity in mind. Due to the remoteness, there is a requirement for low maintenance products that can withstand their exposure to nature. The fully free-standing single-storey pavilion measures 256 square meters and consists of a living room, bedroom, bathroom and an outdoor platform that wraps around the building. The fireplace is a key focal point of the interior, which is completely exposed except for the bathroom which is concealed within a central wooden pod. Neutral colors, soft fabrics and animal skins further complement the interior’s natural warmth and minimal appeal. The breathtaking masterpiece was completed in December 2020 and shortlisted for the 2021 Tasmanian Architecture Awards.


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