Architecture - Masters

Araucaria Futures: Life Beyond the Plantation

Employing the Araucaria plantations as a case study the design investigates drivers towards a multi-species speculative future through an exploration of behavioural science. My proposal is a prototypical institute (located in Imbil, Queensland) and temporary field station branch which provokes thought and helps mission drive organizations communicate rainforest regeneration in ways that build public and government will to support progressive change. With an architectural focus on the recording of colours, textures and recalling memories the design combines the objective human response and hyper-individualistic responses to affect the biopsychology of an individual. This is communicated through emotional relationships between the land and users (integrated systems and artistic expression), provocative interaction (challenging human behavior) and hyperlocal modular (realization of structure as a prototype).

field station


The future collective field station is a research branch that operates as an extension of the institute (located in the town of Imbil). Its purpose is to be a node that accommodates one or two people at a specific time or season. The purely research branch is a temporary structure that is designed to move.

A 1200 mm modular grid sequence organises programmatically diverse array of spaces within the “constraints” of a smaller footprint. The station is designed to be easily assembled and disassembled. Subdivided by an ancillary service pod two spaces are created: residential and research. This separation allows freedom for the researcher to assert and direct behaviour accordingly. Concrete rings allow for flexibility in slope elevation and ease of transport. Cross-laminated structural walls and floors provide flexibility in fabrication and raw spaces which can be transformed to best suit the user. The pod is clad in gold mirror sheeting. The gold mirror enables unique and subjective interpretations of the surrounding environments it bounces of the services provoking an emotional relationship and allowing depth into the smaller space. The building envelope is compact and focused on necessity to reach a more sustainable design outcome. The structure is built almost entirely out of wood to keep the transportation load at a minimum.

Behavioural research institute


The institute focuses on psychology’s role in environmental issues in particular young children’s relationship with nature and the discovery of empathy, biophilia and their ecopsychology self. The overarching concept is ‘moments’ highlighting our ever-developing relationship with the natural world. Spatial value and primacy as well as integration of colours and materiality forces an emotional response, challenging users to embrace the natural worlds role in everyday life. This dichotomy provokes artistic expression and a playful interpretation of immersive responses.

Located in Imbil and settled in the northern corner of 36 Imbil Brooloo Rd. Strengths of the site are its proximity to the high school and the daycare center and the Mary vale trail. This creates an opportunity to develop the design as part of the masterplan and provoke community involvement.
Working within a radial grid the envelope and consequential ground plane is a series of three circles connected by a circular structural core. The circular design, so repetitive in nature, takes advantage of the views towards the river and the forest behind. Stepped back from the street to enable its own ecosystem interaction is provoke through pathways interwoven amongst greenery, creating pockets of activity. Space is initially self-evident with the entrance from Edward street directing movement into the undercover rammed earth Amphitheatre, garden and activity areas. The open ground plane is to allow for transparency in procedure and also differentiate between the functions of the space.

Colour is utilized within the main circulation spaces to subject the user to primacy of space and allocate design intention. This provokes cognitive loopholes to excite visitors. An example is the gold core and the pink partition connecting the ground plane with the vertical expression of the building. Circulation is internally dictated along the void. Enclosed within the timber garden area along the western façade are spaces, translatable through colour which facilitate naturalized play areas. Exploration is key so within the controlled structure there is fluidity of activity. Proposed examples include sand pits, water features, animals and different native vegetation.
The northern circle on the corner of William and Imbil Brooloo Rd is a green zone allocated to cultivating relationships with the natural world whilst creating a clear identity from the street. Recognition of modest materiality is expressed in the outer shell along the western façade (composite columns composed of moment connections).This component is structurally separated from the main building creating its own microtopography. It further prevents against prevailing winds and sun for the comfort of the ground plane. The opaque cladding provokes interaction and a continual reminder of how important an individuals connection to the natural world.

A hybrid mass structural technique has been used in the main building. This includes steel columns and beams combined with timber and cement composite flooring to take advantage of the strongest advantages of each material and prevention of excess. Raw materiality is promoted where possible. The idea is to have transnational materials to align with a prototypical platform. Offset 300 mm curtain wall curve around the exterior facade of the building evoking the perception walking amongst the trees. As is consistent with the identity of the field station the core is clad in gold mirror, visible from all aspects of the building, reflecting both activity and the surrounding environment. Playful expression is developed on the eastern façade with a rope barrier between accommodation and the street, the idea is that planting eventually grows.

Harriet Allan

Harriet Allan is currently completing a Master of Architecture post-graduate at Queensland University of Technology. Harriet has a keen interest in playful expression and provocation in architecture through materiality and challenging behaviours through colour and spatial values.