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Tor Zone | Artists in Residence Facility "Glendale" Property , Cooma/Berridale, NSW

Part 1 Project 2010
Feifei Feng
University of New South Wales | Australia
Reflection on Place

Once we have left the urban sprawl of Sydney, we enter the increasing vastness of the outer-rural setting, witnessing the shifting features of the Australian landscape. From the idyllic, verdant forests to the gently undulating farmland, we finally reach the thirst-stricken region strewn with outcrops of granite tors. Lacking any adulteration or decoration, the tors portray truth and innocence; they witness the life and death of flora and fauna; their rugged faces speak to us of time and seasons. Our architecture has this landscape as its backdrop, becoming an opportunity for people to engage with, experience and contemplate this otherworldly place.

As the site is remote from infrastructure and often experiences extreme weather conditions, special attention has been paid to water and energy supply, as well as waste management systems. All are tailored to this specific site and integrated into the design.

Architecture of Place

The design preserves the natural qualities of the land while responding to site conditions and human needs. The complex meanders along the contours, now and then dialoguing with the tors and accentuating their significance; allowing the rock to mark the beginning, form the path and be the destination. Along the rambling journey, there occasionally appear gardens and courtyards of various sizes. These are protected from the prevailing winter wind, which blows in from the south-west, instead encouraging the north-easterly summer breeze. They act as the threshold between outdoor and indoor, private and public, architecture and nature.

Materials & Structure

A natural resource in the region, rammed-earth is economic, heat-retaining, durable and recyclable. Aesthetically, the earthen walls possess warm tones and rich textures that echo the land and blend with the environment. Together with the ground itself, they act as a backdrop to the rocks and trees. Timber posts and beams, bearing similar natural qualities,, accentuate the humanitarian feeling of the space and location. The structure’s members are occasionally revealed through ceiling panels or steel plates. This reflects the surrounding environment, where the rocks interlock with trees, protecting them and occasionally revealing them.

Feifei Feng

Tutor: Ian Martin
Glenn Murcutt Studio, 2009
Faculty of the Built Environment
University of New South Wales

This project subtly interprets the programme for a self sufficient artists’ retreat and exhibition space within the context of a spectacular landscape at the foothills of the Australian alpine region,at Berridale in New South Wales. The undulating grazing lands, strewn with massive granite tors,presented problems of placement and scale, beautifully resolved in this scheme. Each move is carefully considered in relation to topography and climate.The building frames landscape elements with oriental care. The strict requirements of water collection, passive solar orientation and waste management are integrated into the fabric and form of the building, with an economy of means in keeping with the spare terrain. The response to landscape is both lyrical and utterly pragmatic. The problem of how to respond to a remarkable landscape has been achieved – by making it even more remarkable.

Ian Martin

Pearl Beach



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