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A Fijian Resort Meets Australian Barn In The Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Architecture

The influences behind The Barn — a new off-grid home designed by Sparks Architects, and built by Dayne Lawrie Constructions — are wide and varied, yet cohesive and entirely appropriate to their Sunshine Coast Hinterland site.

Designed as the centrepiece of a family’s rural retreat and productive farm in Obi Obi, the house is inspired by Fijian resorts and Australia’s traditional shed vernacular suited to the surrounding context of the site. 

The entire home is an entertainer’s paradise, spanning multiple buildings and outdoor spaces, and bodies of water both manmade and natural.

5th May, 2022

The Barn by Sparks Architects sits in the middle of the family’s rural retreat and productive farm. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

The build incorporates various elements inspired by family trips to Fiji, such as a pool and outdoor shower! Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

The open gable roof of recycled spotted gum floats above two monolithic solid stone walls. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

Inside, traditional South Pacific architectural forms meet aesthetics appropriate for the Australian rural environment. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

The lounge has a striking fireplace, perfect for chilly winter evenings. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

Views out to the surrounding paddocks are framed by large windows. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

The Barn seamlessly integrates outdoor dining with indoor lounging to amplify its resort vibe. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

A natural material palette continues into the en suite. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

A built-in headboard acts as shelf and bedside table in the main bedroom. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

It wouldn’t be a resort without a sauna! Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

An external bathroom encourages outdoor living. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

‘The Barn is a place for entertaining and relaxing,’ says Dan Sparks. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

The home sits on a raised area within the paddock and offers views up the valley to Mapleton falls to the east, and into Obi Obi valley to the west. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

A separate natural swimming pool sits on the property. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

The natural pool also functions as an aquaculture system. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Styling – Bindy Ward

Considered landscaping by Simon Thomas of Simon Thomas Landscapes adds to property’s resort feel. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones.

Native Australian plants meet tropical trees. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones.

The entire property manages to beautifully balance rural Australia with resort inspiration. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones.

Amelia Barnes
Thursday 5th May 2022

‘We had numerous discussions around exploring an architectural language that accommodated aspects of traditional South Pacific architectural forms, but was also appropriate for an Australian rural environment.’

The Barn is a new rural retreat located on a 250-acre property in Obi Obi — part of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland. 

Sparks Architects were tasked with designing the home to offer a ‘Fijian resort’ feel. ‘Our client has enjoyed many family holidays in various resorts in Fiji and wished to create a series of structures that provided a similar degree of escape and recreation for their family,’ explains Dan Sparks, practice director of Sparks Architects.

This distinct influence was paired with references to traditional sheds or barns that are prevalent in the area. ‘We had numerous discussions around exploring an architectural language that accommodated aspects of traditional South Pacific architectural forms, but was also appropriate for an Australian rural environment,’ says Dan. 

The result is a spectacular home that feels neither overpowered by or dominant on the 250-acre site, complete with two swimming pools, a spa, covered outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven; and a yoga deck! The property itself is situated on a creek, with views up the valley to Mapleton Falls to the east, and Obi Obi valley to the west.

The house itself features a dynamic, recycled spotted gum open gable roof that seemingly floats above two monolithic solid stone walls. Significant outdoor landscaping by Simon Thomas, including the remarkable natural pool/billabong, softens these robust built structures. 

The Barn is a self-sufficient home with rainwater tanks, a 18kW photovoltaic array combined with battery storage, and an onsite sewage treatment system. More than anything, it is a special place that serves as a base from which to explore the greater site and landscape.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net