Winner of the Australian Institute of Architects Far North Queensland House of The Year 2014, Charles Wright’s Stamp House, which is now a resort open to the pubic, looks like something out of a futuristic movie.
The Alkira Resort House & Rainforest Retreat
The six bedroom concrete house, which is now the Alkira Resort House and Rainforest Retreat, is available as a vacation destination. Delivering luxury tropical accommodation for up to 12 persons, the residence is set in the middle of a man-made pond at Cape Tribulation in the Daintree rainforest of Australia.
Nestled within 75 acres of lush rainforest, in the only place on earth where two World Heritage listings converge: The Great Barrier Reef and The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Access to beach is a pleasant stroll along an exclusive track through the rainforest, much of it the rarest type found in The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (mesophyll vine forest on beach sands – the most complex of any vegetation type found on the continent). The resort home has its own helipad and is accessed via helicopter.
Why It’s Called The Stamp House
The Alkira is also called The Stamp House for a few reasons. It was initially built for stamp collectors Rodney and Marider Perry and the home’s unusual swimming pool shape was inspired by the outline of the head on the “One Pound Jimmy” postage stamp issued in the 1950s. The architect chose the 2/6d stamp to acknowledge aboriginal heritage in the region where the house is sited, and the owners’ fondness for the stamp as collectors. The open roof of the house immediately above architecturally synchronises with the “One Pound Jimmy” pool shape. In addition, the structure’s six cantilevered arms have portholes which cast perforated light into the property, reminiscent of stamp edges.
above: you can see how the figurehead on the stamp was translated into the pool design for the home
The house is an extraordinary response to a very personal and adventurous brief for a new type of tropical house in a remnant paddock in the rainforest. The concrete material chosen for permanence, robustness and thermal mass is placed on a man-made lake and shaped and patterned around its quirky personal spaces to somehow make its other worldly presence take its place in the world’s oldest and most pristine landscape.
What Makes It “Green”
The brief was to deliver a carbon neutral (in operation) solution for an environmentally sensitive site off-grid on the edge of the FNQ beachfront rainforest. The aim was not to simply produce an engineered outcome but produce a building which made the most of the sites natural amenity by way of its siting over an engineered water ecosystem which was the result of lengthy liaison and collaboration with National Parks, Environmental Agencies, State and Local Government.
Permission was sought and given to pump water to the lake from a nearby on title permanent creek, utilizing a dedicated solar energy system and thereby ensuring a vibrant and healthy native wetlandThe design is formed in an innovative combination of in-situ and precast concrete. The concrete has been engineered and insulated incorporating a total solar paneled roof to provide for a constant cooler and more comfortable ambient temperature year-round.
The design utilizes massive cantilevers to mitigate impact from potential flooding and king tide inundation associated with cyclonic activity. The project is category 5 cyclone proof and therefore classed as a cyclone shelter. Environmental Sustainable Design (ESD) initiatives include: total 250,000 litre water harvesting, recycling and reticulation, renewable solar energy generation with solar backup, On-site Advanced Tertiary Sewerage treatment plant, grey water recycling and irrigation, Shaded & Insulated Thermal mass engineering, thermal storage tank system for cooling with feed back into mechanical, hydraulic facilities etc. Building automation controlled via C-Bus.
Cape Tribulation by road is a scenic journey approximately 2 hrs 15 mins from Cairns International Airport, 1 hr 20 mins from Port Douglas. Charter helicopters are available from both origins to Alkira helipad, a picturesque flight north over The Great Barrier Reef: 40mins ex Cairns, 25 mins ex Port Douglas.
Booking Your Stay
Alkira is highly suited to groups of families and friends, corporate teams, or just for a couple intent upon well deserved indulgence. Bookings are subject to availability. 5 night minimum stay policy applies. Rates are available upon request. To book a stay (or make any inquiries) at the The Alkira Resort House & Rainforest Retreat contact them here