The Local Project – (March 21, 2023) – Only reachable by boat, Marra Marra Shack by Leopold Banchini Architects is a hidden eco-friendly timber cabin that embraces a quiet lifestyle removed from the bustle of city living.
Video timeline: 00:00 – Introduction to the Eco-Friendly Timber Cabin 00:46 – The Site and its Location 01:06 – The Brief: Simplicity and Discovery 01:30 – Working with a Remote Construction Site 01:59 – Hand Built and Off-Grid 02:32 – A Walkthrough of the Cabin 03:06 – The Feature Window 03:57 – A Timber Structure 04:29 – Custom Made Furniture 05:00 – The Materials 05:36 – Hidden in Plain Sight
As Leopold Banchini Architects’s first Australian project, the hidden eco-friendly timber cabin required only two bedrooms, easy living spaces and a connection to landscape. Using the occasion to discover the Australian landscape, the Swiss architect has used the unique crafts only available in this country. The entire building has been completed by two carpenters and using materials that required no heavy machinery.
Additionally, each chosen material responds directly to the complexity of weather, tides and floods experienced in the unique riverside location. Sitting on a slope, the hidden eco-friendly timber cabin welcomes guests with an awe-inspiring reveal upon arrival at the renovated jetty. After walking up the stairs the house tour begins at the entrance to the main living spaces, which includes the living room, dining area and kitchen. Located to the rear of the shack are two smaller bedrooms with bathrooms, both of which have been designed to offer solitude where the owners can enjoy their own space.
Finished with a large window that overlooks the river, the living room gives the impression that the home sits upon the water instead of above. By using counterweights, the opened window turns the living space into an inside and outside deck, allowing a deeper connection to the wider surrounds. The interior of the hidden eco-friendly timber cabin has been imbued with locally sourced timbers, including iron bark that is used for the pillars that hold the home together. Other elements within the home, including the stairs and flooring, are made from turpentine wood from the old jetty, while spotted gum forms the structural beams along the roof of the cabin.
Additionally, the furniture of the home has been designed specifically for Marra Marra Shack by using leftover wood from the construction. Other elements in the home, including the fireplace, sink and all steel elements, have been custom made to resolve the few needs of the owners while staying in the house. Being in the middle of an Australian national park, the architect had to respond to certain elemental outcomes including floods, fire and tide heights. Built up on a slope to respond to the conditions, the exterior of the home has also been covered in fibre cement and plaster board to address fire safety in the warmer months.
While the exterior of the hidden eco-friendly timber cabin appears to be made of other materials, it is evident when entering the home that the interior is entirely made of timber. Elevated and surrounded by trees, Marra Marra Shack does not transform the landscape but becomes one with it.