- Name: Solis House
- Type: Modern Contemporary
- Bedrooms: 3
- Bathrooms: 5
- Size: sq. ft.
- Lot: .80 acres
- Built: 2010
In keeping with the studio’s design aim of creating evocative architecture that satisfies the human need for textural and tactile experience, Solis on Hamilton Island draws inspiration from its magnificent location and Mediterranean coastal architecture. It is made up of simple, permeable volumes that open and unfold, capturing distant views of water and land. The site, within a luscious natural setting, brings the weather and seasons to the forefront. The vegetation gives a glorious display of color, texture and flowers–nature’s constant reminders of life cycles. A key element driving the design of the house was to ensure that the building remained connected to these natural surroundings.
Accordingly, terraces like fluid extensions of internal spaces capture cooling breezes for cross ventilation. Bedroom terraces frame magnificent views of the water and gardens, with distant lands on the horizon, so that falling asleep or waking up here is a different experience every time. The bathrooms were designed with special attention: superfluous details were eliminated to create oases of calm in tune with the natural surroundings. These spaces are imbued with a sense of wellbeing and purity that is invigorating for the body and stimulating for the mind. The interiors are sheltered and cool: swimming pools, reflection ponds and strategically positioned trickling waterfalls soothe both in and outdoors, reinforcing the connection to the water outside, and causing each rain droplet to resonate through the spaces. In contrast to this sense of tranquility, a high degree of safety was equally critical to the design. Building regulations have been integrated so that the house is able to withstand the force of the tropical cyclones that are common in this region of Queensland.
The construction method and materials chosen were influenced by both the climate and the client, who expressed a preference for low-maintenance materials for a sub-tropical site with extreme weather. The climate in this area provides both long periods of hot, humid conditions and prolonged heavy rain during the wet season, limiting the lifespan of many materials. An additional factor was the regional council’s limit on colors: white and primary colors were not permitted. Concrete therefore became the primary material, for its resiliency, thermal properties, and the textural and color similarity to rough sawn timber boards, echoing the trunks of the gum trees and large grey weathered boulders onsite. Moreover, concrete allowed for a ready-made finish and eliminated the use of render and paint. Wall and floor finishes, such as polished concrete, unfilled honed travertine tiles and textured internal renders were selected for their durability and tactile qualities. There is an irresistible urge to experience the house with bare feet whilst enjoying the touch of the smooth, cool stone.
The design seeks to balance the human spirit by the enriching experiences gained in re-connecting with nature through the simple act of observing the wonders of its ever-changing scenery and by harnessing its benefits: offshore cool breezes, warm evenings, spectacular sunsets, lush vegetation and the beauty of tropical rainfalls.
- Architect: Renato D’Ettorre Architects
- Designer: Belinda Brown
- Builder: Greg Matthew Building
- Photography: Mads Mogensen
- Location: 4 Plum Pudding Close, Whitsundays, Queensland 4803, Australia