This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Japanese-Inspired Hideaway In Idyllic Tassie Bushland

Architecture

Every office has its trendsetter, and the undisputed cool girl in the TDF studio is our art director, Annie Portelli. She first came across this humble little cabin while poring over entries to the Australian House Awards and quickly declared it to be her ‘dream house’. Naturally, the rest of us scrambled to find more info! 

Located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania on Bruny Island, this Japanese-inspired ‘Hideaway‘ cabin was designed as a place of refuge by local firm Maguire Devine. On Saturday night, the tiny retreat was awarded the Esmond Dorney Award for Best New Residential Architecture, the Barry McNeill Award for Sustainable Architecture, and the Colourbond Award for Steel Architecture in the Tasmanian Architecture Awards. I told you Annie has good taste!

9th July, 2018

A tiny cabin nestled into the magnificent bushland of Bruny Island, off Tasmanian’s southeastern coast. Photo – Robert Maver.

The client wanted the off-the-grid retreat the reflect her love for traditional Japanese architecture. Photo – Robert Maver.

The cabin enjoys unencumbered views out to the natural surrounds. Photo – Robert Maver.

Built with a steeply sloping roof to capture the most sun on the rooftop solar panels allowed the opportunity for a lofted bed, giving the small space a sense of volume. Photo – Robert Maver.

The Bruny Island hideaway was to have no furniture, which informed the overall design. Photo – Robert Maver.

The tiny cabin comes in at just 28-square-metres. Photo – Robert Maver.

Sally Tabart
Monday 9th July 2018

While Tassie may have only gained more cultural traction with ‘mainlanders’ (aka the rest of Australia) in recent years, those born and bred (…or those of us who boarded the ‘Spirit’ every summer of their childhood) have always known there is something particularly special about our southernmost state, traced in a magnificent, rugged coastline, dense with bushland  and with spectacular views from almost any vantage point.  

The brief for small architecture firm Maguire Devine (headed up by Hugh Maguire and Dan Devine) was to place a small, off-the-grid cabin on an idyllic bush block on Bruny Island. With a client who works in a high-stress hospital environment, the tiny timber house was designed as a place of refuge from her busy vocation.

The cabin was to be simple, functional and thoughtfully integrated within the bushland. Keeping the client’s work-life in mind, as well her love of traditional Japanese architecture, Dan and Hugh wanted to ‘create a real sense of otherness, far away from life in a standard plasterboard house or sterile hospitals.’ Lining the cabin’s interiors with soft pine, the architects sought to create a cosy, contemporary environment.

But how to introduce a Japanese aesthetic whilst retaining a connection to the uniquely Australian bush context? ‘Balance’ was a key focus of the design team, itself a signature element across all aspects of Japanese design. Keeping the structure as a simple and pure form allowed it to sit ‘elegantly as an object in the landscape’, explains Dan, whilst external materials reference the ‘rural vernacular of architecture in the region’.

Responding to the challenging site lined with tall, dense bush to the North, Dan and Hugh opted for a steep roof to lift solar panels and a skylight high to catch the sun. This added height and volume to the building, allowing the design to go vertical, with a lofted bed accessible by a ladder.

As if living off-the-grid wasn’t tricky enough, the cabin was to be a space with no furniture, ‘shoes off and sitting on the floor’. As a result, the architects approached the cabin ‘as a piece of furniture, with everything [the client] needs built in as part of the whole’.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Photographer + Stylist's Vibrant Family Home

Melbourne photographer Derek Swalwell and stylist Georgia Young’s modernised 1960s family home in Elsternwick.

Architecture

An A-Frame On The Top Of The World

A tiny, off-the-grid cabin in rural New South Wales with breathtaking views across the Murrumbidgee River flats and Kimo valley.

Homes

A Handcrafted Cabin In Gippsland

Interior designer Andrea Moore’s contemporary rural country cabin, nestled in South Gippsland, Victoria.

This Week

News

Tamara Dean, Bill Henson + Janet Laurence In Conversation With The Planthunter

Georgina Reid of The Planthunter sits down with artists Tamara Dean, Bill Henson + Janet Laurence in a new conversation series connecting ar...
Amelia Barnes
  15 hours ago

News

All Are Welcome At North Melbourne School Of Displacement

Learn about and honour the First Nations in this accessible North Melbourne discussion series.
Amelia Barnes

Modernist Australia

1970s Excellence On The Market In Eaglemont

Nestled within the Glenard Estate designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Griffin, this four-bedroom stunner brings the WOW-factor!
Patricia Callan

News

Australian Ceramics Open Studios Is On Again This Weekend!

Clay artists around Australia are opening their doors this weekend for Australian Ceramics Open Studios 2019.
Amelia Barnes

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Seasonal Flavours : Citrus

One of our FAVE foodies, Julia Busuttil-Nishimura joins TDF this month as a columnist! First up, she shares a flavour-packed roasted caulifl...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  18 hours ago
3:04

Shopping

Sheridan + Grandiflora, Australian Botanicals And Bedding!

Our latest video, celebrating a very special collaboration between Sheridan and Grandiflora.

Architecture

The Apple Crate Shack On The Apple Isle!

A $60,000 budget goes a long way in this ambitious project in Flowerpot, Tasmania.
Miriam McGarry
  15 hours ago
48:47

Podcast

TDF Talks with Architect, IADV Co-founder, and Academic Jefa Greenaway

The trailblazing architect, advocate and academic reflects on his pivotal role as the first indigenous architect to be registered in Victori...

Art

Balenciaga Comes To Bendigo!

Direct from the Victoria and Albert museum in London, the ground-breaking exhibition ‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’ arrives at the Bendig...
Miriam McGarry

News

Buxton Contemporary Reflects On 100 Years Of Bauhaus Design

See archival footage and contemporary works inspired by the Bauhaus movement in this Melbourne exhibition.
Amelia Barnes

Homes

A Prahran East Atelier Adorned With Layers Of History

Revered Melbourne interior designer Tigger Hall shares her artistic home, filled with objects from all over the globe.
Lucy Feagins
  1 hour ago

TDF Design Awards

Celebrating Australia's Best Stylists And Art Directors

Highlighting ten outstanding styling and art direction projects, shortlisted for the TDF Design Awards!

Gardens

A Plant Collector's Wild And Wonderful Paradise

Lyle Filippe shares his lifelong love of rare plants and quest to make 'something iconic' via his never-ending passion project, Roraima Nurs...
Georgina Reid

Shopping

Bright New Ceramic Artists On Show At The Old Clare Hotel

An old bottle shop is home to some of Sydney’s best emerging design until this Sunday!
Maggie Scardifield

Bringing Light and Space Into A Fitzroy Terrace House

Taylor Knights Architecture and Interior Design transform this inner city terrace house with a sunken living room, shifting ceiling volumes
Miriam McGarry

Similar Stories

Homes

A Photographer + Stylist's Vibrant Family Home

Derek Swalwell and Georgia Young’s Renovated 1960’s Home.

Architecture

An A-Frame On The Top Of The World

A tiny, off-the-grid cabin in rural New South Wales with breathtaking views.

Homes

A Handcrafted Cabin In Gippsland

Interior designer Andrea Moore’s contemporary rural country cabin, nestled in South Gippsland, Victoria.