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SPRING BAY MILL_
RIDGE QUARTERS GROUP ACCOMMODATION

 

The Ridge Quarters is a group accommodation building that is part of stage 2 of the ongoing 40 ha site-wide regeneration of what was the world’s largest wood chipping facility into a culture and environment focused events venue called Spring Bay Mill. The accommodation allows groups of up to 28 people to stay on site to attend events or retreats. Avoiding the generic nature of hotels and the indulgence of luxury accommodation, the building instead aims to frame a unique experience of this regenerating post-industrial site and the surrounding landscape whilst encouraging social interaction between guests.

The building is located over a former dumping ground on top of a hill once covered in a giant stockpile of woodchips, enabling the remediation of this particularly damaged part of the site, with woodchips and contaminated soil removed and composted, making way for building footings and an extensive native garden designed by the site horticulturalist. The project name references the site location along with the building typology – that of a simple workers’ or shearers’ quarters where bedrooms are traditionally arranged along a shared walkway or veranda, with common areas for cooking, eating and socialising. The accommodation is intended to simply be a comfortable place to gather and rest at both ends of a day spent being active elsewhere on site or the surrounding region.

The building is arranged into a linear form facing the ocean to the east and the bay to the west, an orientation that also makes the most of the morning and evening sun (the times of the day that group accommodation is typically occupied). The form gently arcs to a radius drawn from the centre of the nearby Amphitheatre situated at the conceptual centre of the site.

 

The bedrooms are compact, encouraging guests to spend time mingling and interacting with others in common areas. Circulation between the parts of the accommodation is in the open air, repeatedly returning the users to the natural environment - to see the landscape, to feel the wind, to hear the birds.

The infrastructural scale and materiality of the building references the former industrial buildings on the site to create a sense that it might have always been there. The necessarily robust expression and detailing of the exterior contrasts with the tactility and warmth of the highly crafted interiors that are lined with natural materials and finishes to create a cabin-like sense of shelter and comfort.

In response to the labour, material and economic challenges of building in a regional location, the project is partially prefabricated. In line with this, the building was engineered and constructed in an elemental manner that suits the industrial vernacular from which the building takes in cues and ensures it could all be simply unbolted and disassembled for relocating or upcycling in the future.

Builder_ Dillon Builders + AJR Construct

Landscape Design_ Marcus Ragus

Wayfinding Signage_ Futago

Photographs

Drone Image - Louise Dillon

Others - Adam Gibson

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