Commercial Commendation

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DESCRIPTION
The "sustainable sheds for tourism" project is located in an area with a high level of nature conservation value, that is also of significance to the Aboriginal community - to the extent that Mount William National Park has been recently recommended to be returned to the Aboriginal people. The cultural, natural and visual qualities of the site demanded that the building be responsibly located, constructed and operated to ensure these values were not diminished. The site, selected after twelve months of inspections, analysis and agony, is stunning. Locally described as Bayleys Hummock, it is vegetated with casuarinas which shield the building from view in all directions except for a window facing the Tasmanian Sea. Sustainability is now an often, and sometimes inappropriately, used term. For this project it was essential, and its application drove each and every consideration from siting to building form, material selection and services. A long building, it has been gently let onto a restricted footprint. A decision was made not to provide vehicular access to the site. The building is small-scale, sustainable and autonomous in providing and managing its existence. It is highly connected to its wondrous setting and is minimalist in materials and impact and maximist in terms of lightness and connection - two simple long sheds for bushwalkers exploring Mt. William National Park.



JURY VERDICT
Ken Latona’s latest eco-tourism project is located on a freehold site surrounded by the Mount William National Park in north-east Tasmania. The lodge overlooks the Bay of Fires and is the end point of two to four day camping hikes through the park for groups of ten people and two guides. Two nights are spent in the lodge which, rather than a scattering of cabins, consists of two parallel stud-framed hardwood or louvre-glazed pavilions with metal skillion roofs separated by an open central walkway. Extending twenty-seven metres, the southern pavilion contains bedrooms, bathrooms and latrine facilities (composting), and a louvred withdrawing room. The northern pavilion contains open decks and enclosures for cooking, dining and socialising, and staff bedrooms. Other building materials include laminated posts and
beams, metal roof ties and painted plasterboard. All materials were brought in by helicopter and local trades carried out the construction. As in his other eco-tourism enterprises, it is hard to separate out the parts of Latona’s impressive program, which includes high environmental settings, ecological sustainability, "touch the ground lightly" tourism and architecture, financial viability and the employment of a young and dedicated local staff.

Bay of Fires Lodge, Mount William National
Park, Tasmania.
Project Architect, Builder Ken Latona. Project Team Jono Buist. Developer Bay of Fires. Structural Consultant Gandy & Roberts. Photography Simon Kenny.

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Published online: 1 Nov 2000

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Architecture Australia, November 2000

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