Designer Alastair McDonald, from Echuca-based firm Ecotecture Design Group, said that while the client had set clear expectations, the design benefitted from freedom they gave him to specify various design features and details that gave the project many of its unique qualities.
“We had a pretty tight building envelope with three main objectives; one, for it to be a sustainable design; two, to maximise the view, particularly from the pilates studio into the forest; and three, a good use of space throughout the clinical areas,” Mr McDonald said.
“It’s one of my favourite projects. The client was very trusting of our judgement and they’re over the moon with the end result. To see their reaction was very pleasing.”
Surrounding bushland is used to full effect, with the elevated building capturing scenic views of red gum forest through strategically-placed windows, offering a particularly impressive from the pilates studio.
Sustainability was a strong focus of the design, and the structure incorporates many locally sourced recycled materials, like timber cladding, floorboards and bricks. Mr McDonald said these recycled features not only added significant character to the building, but worked to enhance the natural views that were a central part of the design.
“We used very subtle and raw colours, so we incorporated the native timber both inside and out,” Mr McDonald said.
“Stone was used to reflect the greys in the forest, as well as the red brick and galvanised iron. We certainly tried to keep those natural elements continuing throughout the building.
“That was also reflected in the recycled materials we used. One example is a desk we made out of recycled messmate, which used to be a landing on an old fuel bowser. You can still see the diesel in it.”