Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 27 Summer 2010 Contents 96 INSITE SUMMER 2010
River Kwai, a residence in Margaret River (due for completion this
summer), or a boutique hotel in Phuket. Local materials enhance the
seamless fusion of design disciplines, making perfect sense of the site.
“We try to make every project unique. Our philosophy is to bring all
the elements from the initial concept stage together to make sure that
everything relates well to the site and environment,” says Martin.
When the environment includes Thailand’s famous River Kwai,
nature muscles its way into the design process. Asked by a resident in
Kanchanaburi to design a six-room ‘resort’ as a place for her guests
to stay, Tierra was faced with a challenge of balance. “There were a
lot of large trees on the site, and the river was the main element. We
didn’t want the architecture to overpower it,” says Martin.
Their approach was to create a series of open pavilions in the
garden, using simple concrete floors and timber screens to provide
both privacy and access to views. Local ceramic tiles topped the
roofs of the meditation pavilions, bedrooms and common areas.
The interface between public and private spaces helped defi ne the
all-important ‘experience’ that has become Tierra’s hallmark.
The public-private connection also figured in the 2004 design of
the Twinpalms resort in Phuket, Tierra’s first major hotel project.
While it shared the same terrain as the Amanpuri resort at Surin
Beach, it wasn’t beachfront per se; the ocean was 150 metres away.
“Our idea was to create an internalised experience, so the garden
played an important part in the design,” says Martin. “All the rooms
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