Lune de Sang is a unique multi-generational venture that will see a former dairying property transformed into a sustainably-harvested forest, bringing back a pocket of subtropical rainforest to the Byron Bay hinterland.
The vision is exceptional in that rather than planting a fast-growing crop, various hardwoods of the region have been chosen to establish a rainforest landscape that will take generations to mature. The hardwoods will be tended to maturity and then selectively harvested, the long lifespan of the trees meaning a wait of between 50 and 300 years before the various species fully mature.
We were captivated by this long-term vision, a vision that goes beyond one’s lifetime.
The design is a close collaboration with our client, one bound in collective understanding of the site, landscape and time. The rainforest timber’s unhurried growth has influenced our approach for inserting architecture in the site with all the buildings being designed to respond to the notion of a 300-year lifecycle.
The project's latest component, the Pavilion, defies easy definition as a ‘house’, belonging as it does to a suite of 5 structures that collectively shape the place experience. They have been conceived as site ordering devices, concrete and stone elements that stitch and structure spatial relationships on the land. While categorically a dwelling, the Pavilion’s function is distinctly communal in nature. The building is divided into two, very discrete parts: an open, functionally public, local gathering space, and a hidden, intensely private retreat.
The communal component of the pavilion has more in common with public architecture than with private dwellings. Its scale walks a fine line between domestic comfort and a gathering space. The pool and accompanying amenities are similarly geared toward visitors and the space has already played host to community and family get-togethers. At no point is the connection to the emerging landscape interrupted; its only solid wall is a continuation of a stone landscape retaining wall, while floor to ceiling glass brings the landscape inside.
The private retreat part is concealed and secluded. To enter the private retreat one must step outside of the front space before entering via a separate discreet door. Here, there are no views of the broader landscape, instead one looks onto a lush rainforest embankment lending the space a subterranean quality. An unadorned concrete and stone structure provides the thermal mass that keeps the space cool while robust blackbutt joinery partitions the space.
The ambition is an elemental and atavistic architecture. Structures that may appear to be a rediscovered ruin from the day they are built. We looked at ruins, forms in nature, and how some structures become cared for across generations. We sought materials that would mature over time, intensifying the building’s qualities rather than degrading it. We settled on concrete and stone. Concrete as both a precise modern abstract material but also ancient in its quality, concrete serves as a universal material that can be read in multiple ways and deployed for both structure and enclosure. The stone as direct link back to the underlying geology of the region. It is sourced from the site as an upcycled by-product from the forestry work, both literally and symbolically anchoring the project to the land. The secondary timber and glass elements are finely detailed, revealing the craftsmanship to imbue the structure with texture and human scale.
In fullness of time, these structures will only be revealed upon arrival at their immediate setting intensifying their presence in the landscape. In the meantime, these quiescent structures will continue to look out to the forest waiting for its emergence.