September 24, 2022

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A Treehouse Companion For An Architecturally-Significant Noosa Home

A Treehouse Companion For An Architecturally-Significant Noosa Home

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.’