Freycinet Lodge's Coastal Pavilions
With its pink granite mountains, gorgeous beaches and breathtaking coastline, Freycinet National Park is one of the most incredible places in Tasmania. We were inspired to create a new style of accommodation befitting of its beauty providing an experience for our guests that honored this amazing place. With the help of Tasmanian accommodation entrepreneur Brett Torossi who lead the project, we set about creating environmentally sensitive, architecturally innovative, grounded elegant spaces for our guests on this beautiful site.
‘Intimately understanding the nature of the site was critical,’ Brett explains, ‘we also looked at how our guests experience their connection to the natural beauty of Freycinet and imagined what they wanted to see and how they wanted to feel within that space. For example, how would they feel while sitting on the couch reading, glancing out at the waterfront views? How would it feel to recline in the outdoor bath looking up at the stars? Brett says. ‘This project is all about helping our guests get what they need out of their precious time away spent in the glorious setting that is Freycinet.’ Her observation that ‘The Coastal Pavilions occupy the space between the granite mountains and the sea, the sky and the ground’ provided a clear focus for the design team - an elegant, elemental embrace.
From this original insight came the idea for a series of Coastal Pavilions. Nestled in the wilderness, yet full of premium touches, these would blur the lines between a grounded, elegant interior and breathtaking coastline scenery. But most importantly, the pavilions would be intimate and inviting – an escape from the modern world and a place where people could reconnect.
In order to deliver this project with all the complexities involved we needed the right team and the right approach. Brett explains, ‘A generous spirit of collaboration within our team was critical to our success. Working with Peta, Elvio, Bec, Belen and the rest of the innovative team at Liminal, Mick, Neil and Alec at Cordwell Lane and the RACT team has been a joy. Working with generous and creative souls who can also hold all the competing and complex issues of a place and create beauty, this is the most fulfilling aspect of the project.’
“We have drawn inspiration from this unique setting to influence the architecture and interiors of the pavilions. The design has taken its cue from the fluidity and layers of the coastal rock formations, the colouring of the rich orange lichen and forms of the nearby bays. The exteriors are treated in a recessive way so as not to compete with this beautiful landscape.” Peta Heffernan
To realise the full potential of the project, Brett sought leading architecture and design firm, Liminal Studio, to join her to assist in the evolution of the vision.
The architects drew inspiration from the fluid forms of the coastal granite rock formations while playing homage to the character of the National Park they nestle into. Importantly the large windows bring the outdoors in, emphasizing the experience of being immersed in nature. The positioning and interplay of the living room and bedroom wing form an embrace reminiscent of Honeymoon Bay, that protect the deck and offer privacy to the outdoor bath.
The interiors of the Coastal Pavilions are immersed in the warmth of Tasmanian timbers. Liminal took the opportunity to showcase these timbers through a unique application. The use of Tasmanian Oak, Tasmanian blackwood and the only plywood to be manufactured in Tasmania by Ta Ann, totally enwrap the interiors to emphasise a completely Tasmanian experience.
The exterior protective shell is made of durable hardwood that is charred – referencing the significance of fire, while also increasing the longevity of the timber and ensuring the pavilions are visually discreet, providing a recessive backdrop to the natural vegetation and stunning, filtered water views.
An experiential highlight is the netted, hammock-like balustrades. Recognising that a typical balustrade at deck level, often disrupts the view when seated, Liminal devised the unique solution that provides a novel opportunity for relaxing and enjoying the incredible setting. We can’t find anything quite like them in the world and congratulate Liminal on their new invention.
The beauty of Freycinet National Park meant that construction was a sensitive task. The slightest damage or disturbance could have a big effect on local flora and fauna.
Before we started construction and critical to planning of the redevelopment was also gaining a thorough understanding of the micro-environment that makes the Freycinet Lodge site so special. For the team this meant curating specialists to help us gain a deep understanding of the environment. It involved walking the site with an ecologist, archaeologist, members of the Aboriginal community, engineers, bushfire experts, landscape architects and carrying out surveys to intimately understand the cultural, environmental and physical character of the site.
Ecologically sustainable development and environmental sensitivity were core drivers for the project team and a range of environmentally sustainable approaches were carefully considered and administered during the project. This approach was about mitigating the risk of damage to the environment – no cranes, no large machines, everything was carried in on trollies by hand, sometime by many hands. Slow and careful work resulted in the least amount of disturbance possible and the planting of 650 locally sourced, indigenous plants on the site will further help in restoration.
An additional bonus discovery was that during the detailed surveys and further investigations, our enthusiastic ecologist Mark Wapstra while he was in the area, wanted to check on the endangered Butterfly Antipodia chaostola leucopheae – the Skipper butterfly and discovered additional habitat sites up on Mount Amos. The information on this new habitat was added to the state-wide database and will help with the conservation of the species. Our archaeologists also discovered and registered a new site containing aboriginal cultural material.
Now that we had our design, it was time to make it a reality.
Six existing cabins were removed to make way for 9 new pavilions. Brett, Liminal and Rush Wright Associates, the landscape architects, spent time siting the new pavilions, ensuring they nestled into the landscape with minimal disturbance and were orientated to maximise privacy while making the most of Great Oyster Bay views.
Cordwell Lane builders were selected through a competitive process to join the collaborative team to build the ambitious design. Local contractors became an integral part of the Cordwell Lane team.
Because ecologically sustainable development was a priority and due to time constraints, the team devised an innovative approach by doing as much work as possible off-site.
This meant the wall components of the pavilions were built off-site in a warehouse, then transported to Freycinet National Park. Once here, a team of builders walked the prefabricated wall sections into position and installed them on the floor structure built on site.
From then on, the build worked in what was basically a production-line. One team of builders focused on joists, another on wall cladding, while plumbers, electricians and mechanical contractors worked away under the floors.
Cordwell Lane’s attention to detail and craftmanship meant that the design vision was fully realised through the care taken and quality of the construction. A sense of pride is shared by all.
The finished pavilions offer an experience that’s something to behold – a brilliant combination of elegance and beauty that will continue to inspire awe in generations of travellers searching for a unique and sustainable offering.