Rainforest House, Mapleton, Queensland, Australia : 27˚S : 1988-91
The rainforest has a sense of the primal. Everything is damp and torrential rains deluge outside areas. You must lift yourself above the rotting earth of the forest floor and look for the light.
The notion of the ‘clearing’ to let in the light goes back to our earliest time. The cleared elements : the trunks and the limbs of the forest tree are our most basic building units. The powerful column and beam platform is our first foothold upon which we build our shelter. The built structure, like the tree, becomes lighter towards the top and the roof overhangs like a giant umbrella.
These fundamentals have been in the human psyche for millennia. So it is with Mapleton and the house for my two friends. Their place is fully sustainable. It makes its own electricity from the sun, it collects its own water, it takes care of its own waste – and the building can be completely dismantled, if ever necessary, and re-used in another plac.
The house was beautifully built by Brian Paylor and Phillip Green. The platform is ironbark, the upper structure stringy bark and the walls scented rosewood, scraped not sanded.
Text and images taken from ‘Richard Leplastrier : Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award 2004’ published by Rakennustieto, Finland, 2004. Photos : Leigh Wooley and others. Text : Richard Leplastrier.