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A Treehouse Companion For An Architecturally-Significant Noosa Home

Architecture

Sunrise Studio is a new two-bedroom home for a mother and her son just outside Noosa, Queensland. Just 20 metres away on the same site is the main house, designed by the highly-acclaimed late Australian architect Gabriel Poole in 1983 using his innovative ‘quadropod’ system (an elevated modular steel system suitable for steep sites), and belonging to the studio owner’s parents.

Drawing on the appearance and principles of its architecturally-significant predecessor, local studio Bark Architects created a separate, private structure using a partially-prefabricated construction method. A central skywell connects to every room, wholeheartedly embracing the surrounding bush landscape. 

20th September, 2022

Sunrise Studio is a new two-bedroom house by Bark Architects on a bushy Noosa site. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

 Just 20 metres away on the same site is the main house, designed by highly-acclaimed late Australian architect Gabriel Poole in 1983. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The spirit of the original Gabriel Poole house on site inspired Sunrise Studio. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Bark Architects designed Sunrise Studio to similarly recede into and embrace the surrounding bush landscape without interrupting views, land, or privacy. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The interiors are warmly cocooned in the modular sheets of limed plywood lined walls with ebony stained plywood floors. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

 Every space connects to a central skywell bringing light and ventilation into the middle of the floorplan. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The home connects to a 36 square metre north-facing deck. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The project was constructed using a partially prefabricated method to overcome the challenging site and existing trees. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

At just 74 square metres internally, the completed house matches the original in function and architectural excellence, without overpowering the lush site. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 20th September 2022

‘There’s the ever-present focus on bringing the outdoors in and the feeling that you are perched up in a treehouse.’ – Steve Guthrie

Gabriel Poole (1934–2020) was a Queensland architect known for innovative residential projects and pioneering of low cost, prefabricated designs. One of these inventive systems was the ‘quadropod’ —  a modular steel-framed structural system suited to steep and difficult sites. 

Gabriel’s designs endure decades on, inspiring the recent creation of a new home in Tinbeerwah, Queensland, located just outside Noosa. The new building, designed by Bark Architects for the clients’ daughter and grandson, is positioned just 20 metres downhill from their original 1983 quadropod house designed by Gabriel Poole. 

Bark Architects designed Sunrise Studio to similarly recede into and embrace the surrounding bush landscape without interrupting views, land, or privacy.

‘The spirit of the original Poole house provided cues for the Sunrise Studio design principles with its modular proportioning system, its prefabricated steel primary structure with lightweight infill construction, its clear expression and legibility of structure, and a similar pared back directness and unadorned modesty of means,’ says Steve Guthrie, co-director of Bark Architects. 

Using the same principles of spatial generosity and transparency, the architects created a two-bedroom home opening to a north-facing deck. Every space connects to a central skywell bringing light and ventilation into the middle of the floorplan.

‘It needed to be ‘small’ for local government planning as well as for cost reasons, but it needed to ‘feel’ big and well connected to its site and landscape,’ says Steve. 

‘It allows diagonal views through the spaces, as well as new trees popping up in the middle of the house — total immersion in landscape.’ 

The project was constructed using a partially prefabricated method to overcome the challenging site and existing trees. The primary steel structure was prefabricated off site and erected in three days, followed by the traditional timber frame over six months.

Pre-coated steel cladding works to minimise ongoing maintenance (especially important due to the building’s heights and access considerations), while the interiors are warmly cocooned in the modular sheets of limed plywood lined walls, and ebony stained plywood floors. 

At just 74 square metres internally, the completed house matches the original in function and architectural excellence, without overpowering the lush site.

‘We love how the house feels,’ says Steve. ‘It’s physically a small house, but spatially it feels generous, and there’s the ever present focus on bringing the outdoors in and the feeling that you are perched up in a treehouse, naturally immersed in nature.’

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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