Spectacular rainforest home immerses its residents in lush tropical greenery
When an architect and interior designer combine to craft their dream home, you'd expect to see creative impulses let loose in some pretty spectacular ways. Australia's award-winning Planchonella House by husband-and-wife duo Jesse Bennett and Anne-Marie Campagnolo is a shining example of this, using raw materials in a stunning rainforest home that immerses its inhabitants in its lush surroundings.
The Planchonella House sits on a 4,818-square-meter block (52,000-sq ft) on the edge of a nature park in the northern Australian coastal city of Cairns, with the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef also close by. Inside are three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a study, with a partially covered four-car garage and workshop sitting underneath.
Tucked away in the forest canopy, the home is sandwiched between two curvy concrete slabs designed to reference the ridgeline above it. Connecting these are floor-to-ceiling windows that make the most of the hinterland and city views to the south, while also inviting the surrounding greenery to be part of the interior aesthetic.
The concrete theme continues inside where internal walls are kept to a minimum to maintain an open, airy feel. Brick and timber are also used throughout, most notably in the wooden wall lined with bookshelves that swings open to reveal the master bedroom, along with the timber benches overlooking the private courtyard.
That outdoor space is enclosed by the L-shaped home on two sides and thick rainforest on the others, where the absence of fencing again accentuates the Planchonella's open, immersive feel. This space, which Bennett calls the "lungs" of the home, also features an above-ground magnesium-filtered pool with ornamental waterfall tucked away up back. An irregular, bright yellow ladder offers access from the courtyard to the rooftop, which is covered in tropical foliage and hosts another viewing platform for the spectacular surroundings.
The house uses the combination of greenery-covered roof, large sliding windows and concrete thermal mass to passively cool its interior. The landscaping and building design have also been configured to optimize water-run off, while native and low-water-use vegetation keep consumption and maintenance low.
Unsurprisingly, the awards have come thick and fast for Bennett and Campagnolo, who camped on site during the two-year construction of the Planchonella House. Completed in 2015, it claimed the award for Residential Architecture from the Australian Institute of Architects in the same year, and won the Interior Design category in the 2017 American Architecture Prize, among a host of other awards.
"Here is an architect/builder/inventor and an interior innovator at their combined best," wrote the Australian Institute of Architects jury in 2015. "The Planchonella House in Cairns is not constrained by climatic concerns or by a client who might have had differing design aspirations. It has a consistency throughout. Its most persuasive attitude is its invention and directed playfulness."
If you happen to be on the hunt for a new place to call home and the Planchonella House is ticking all your boxes, it is on the market now for an undisclosed price. More information is available via the source link below, or take a virtual tour via our gallery.
Source: Modern House Estate Agents