Couran Cove Resort

South Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia



The brief was to design a series of family holiday cabins that 'touch the earth lightly', built of natural materials and with no chemicals for termite protection, paints etc.

The services supplied at the resort consist of water treatment of underground water, the gathering of waste water from cabins and facilities using innovative vacuum sewerage lines that do not destroy the bushland, tertiary waste water treatment and waste streaming of solid waste. Power is generated at the resort by gas-fired generation and swimming pool water is heated by co-generation. Power and gas is monitored on a cabin by cabin basis, in a novel way, to inform guests of scarce resource use. Each cabin has its own solar hot water panels and gas space heating units.

Design and Construction


Pandanus Studio Eco Cabin

Contains a single space and a bathroom with a series of annexes, bedroom, loft and kitchen. The curved roof and clerestory light design encourages light to reach far inside the space and evacuate stale air as well as encourages breezes even on the stillest days. The cabins are elevated from the ground on steel posts to inhibit termite migration with timber plantation framing. Eco ply linings internally and externally were finished using natural paints. Suits young families.

Cottonwood 2 Bedroom Eco Cabin

The design features a curved roof with verandah interspace that is insect screened to provide comfort and an open door effect and to encourage breezes. The Cottonwood has two private rooms suiting older families.

Kite's Nest 2.5 Bedroom Eco Cabin

Built with the same materials and featuring a split-level design which 'better fits' the undulating remnant sand dune bushland formation of most sites. Suits larger families or shared accommodation.

Sports Facilities

Largely recycled from travelling competition armour-plate-glass squash courts that the owner had acquired 'along the way'. They are four walls of solid glass with no roof. The challenge was to provide support for canopies and air conditioning and lighting. Membrane structures and yachting masts were used as the solution. A natural cooling flute was used for a natural 'air conditioning' that sprays a light mist over seated guests. The two structures house a gym and a athletic shop respectively.

Interpretive Centre

Originally intended to be backpackers-style lodge accommodation, a shop and divided teaching spaces. It uses rammed-earth wall construction on the lower level, providing a cool area for teaching rooms and shop. With the top level being light wood construction in similar vein to eco cabins. It naturally is a curved design on the floor plan facing the natural curve of a neaby water hole.

Couran Cove Website

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