Cloudview by Paul Uhlmann Architects

In Queensland’s Gold Coast Hinterland, a cabin hovers above the rainforest Springbrook Mountain and floats among the clouds. Fittingly named Cloudview, the holiday accommodation by Paul Uhlmann Architects has taken full advantage of the site’s elevation, providing expansive views of the forest canopy and distant coastline.

The design concept served a dual purpose, according to Paul Uhlmann. By levitating the form, it meant the home could circumvent the majority of heavy rainfall, as well as have an unrestricted view of the landscape.

“We wanted the home to sit in the overstory because that’s where all the action happens. That’s where you see all the different species of birds flying in,” he said. “The understory is very wet and muddy. There’s an average rainfall of 3m000 millimetres of rain a year, so we wanted to be perched above that.”

The 615-square-metre site had been cleared, with all necessary approvals, prior to being purchased by the clients. A 100-square-metre, pocket-sized retreat now emerges from the once-vacant lot, offering an immersive experience in nature.

Cloudview by Paul Uhlmann Architects.

Cloudview by Paul Uhlmann Architects.

Image:

Ravens At Odds

Taking on the form of a U-shape, the cabin’s layout has been tailored to respond to the unique needs of the clients – who are two couples. As such, the architect has provided opportunities for privacy and retreat by dividing the two bedrooms into distinct zones, each with their own ensuite. A shared kitchen and living area enables occupants to regroup and interact with one another, if they so choose.

Paul explained that the advantages of the U-shaped plan went beyond just offering privacy; it maximized light exposure throughout the cabin and allowed for the creation of a sheltered central deck area, framed by the building’s form. “The U-shape meant that we could slope the roof toward that central deck space and direct the rain into that area, which is where all the rainwater is being collected,” he said. “Rainwater was essential as there was no other water source on the site.

“With an inverted roof design, it meant that all of the rainforest debris that accumulates on the roof could fall into one area, making maintenance significantly easier. It also enabled us to open up and raise the roof pitches, providing an opportunity for the interior ceilings to soar.”

The architect has provided opportunities for privacy and retreat by dividing the two bedrooms into distinct zones.

The architect has provided opportunities for privacy and retreat by dividing the two bedrooms into distinct zones.

Image:

Brock Beazley

Fibre cement sheeting and panelling was chosen as the primary exterior material as buildings have a tendency to get mouldy in the moisture of the environment. Additionally, a black facade was selected, with the intention being that it not be too conspicuous against the colourings of the rainforest. “By using the black, we allowed the cabin to disappear into the forest,” he said. “We used black on the internal walls as well because we wanted the walls to recede from view, enabling the occupant’s eyes to be averted to the windows and scenery. We wanted the forest to be the focal point.

“It is a holiday destination, and the nice thing about it being a place of accommodation is that you can experiment and create a memorable aesthetic that isn’t necessarily the same style as the typical house that you would live in. A dark interior is not as common in Queensland as it is in some of the other states, it really creates a point of difference.”

Black was selected for the internal walls so the occupant’s eyes would be averted to the windows and scenery.

Black was selected for the internal walls so the occupant’s eyes would be averted to the windows and scenery.

Image:

Brock Beazley

Vertical windows have been thoughtfully integrated throughout the cabin, providing inhabitants with an almost unobstructed full-length view of the trees from the base of its trunk to the canopy – allowing those inside to marvel at the grandeur of nature.

The project did not come without its challenges, such as the site being scattered with boulders and the location being on the border of two states, during a time when border closures were rife. But for all the challenging components, the end result is an impressive example of what can be achieved in a remote setting within a limited budget. A magical union of rainforest and architecture have combined to create this miniature castle in the clouds.

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