Kangaroo Valley Outhouse, Madeleine Blanchfield

Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh

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Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh
Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh

One of the basic principles of Tiny Trends is a deep respect for nature. A concept that in the design is developed through both complex systems that can allow the tiny houses a complete autonomy of water and electricity, and with houses immersed in wonderful natural landscapes and often isolated. In this perspective, the world of design does not only stop at the construction of small and eco-sustainable houses, but also of different spaces, designed to involve all the senses and embrace the surrounding nature.

Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh
Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh

Usually the idea of a dependance is not associated with a luxurious and sensory bathroom experience. Yet it is precisely from this concept that the Australian firm Madeleine Blanchfield Architects (MBA) wanted to create a new project. The background is the Kangaroo Valley, about two hours’ drive from Sydney.

“We wanted to create something that made the most of the incredible site and secluded nature of the cabin,” says Madeleine Blanchfield, founder of the studio of the same name. “And we were mindful to not just replicate the home’s style or introduce an architectural folly that would serve to interrupt the serenity of the landscape.”

Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh
Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh

Thus was born the Kangaroo Valley Outhouse, a cube set in the bush like an architectural illusion, an ethereal space that redefines luxury through its continuous appearance. This surreal structure hides inside the bathroom of a cabin about 30 meters away. The service has been deliberately separated from the small cabin to imitate the immersive experience of camping. Visitors must walk along a path along a low hill and cross the dense landscape before arriving there.

“Using the outhouse is an experience of being completely exposed however because of its siting there is no risk of being seen. The journey down a path to the outhouse heightens the experience of being in the bush, especially so at night.”

Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh
Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh

The outhouse was designed to create a minimal impact on the territory in which it resides to embrace man’s connection with nature, and Madeline Blanchfield Architects worked on a concept that aims to highlight the wild beauty of the existing space.

“The outhouse applies sustainable technologies such as natural ventilation, solar powered lighting and grey water recycling / septic tanks. It has minimal contact with the natural ground and can be easily removed and the site returned to its natural state at any time.”

Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh
Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh

Sitting at the bottom of a slope, the Kangaroo Valley Outhouse takes the form of a mirrored cube that seems to rise up from the earth itself and, during the daytime hours, disappears almost completely among the vegetation. Only the fine lines of the cube’s corners are visible, with the surfaces reflecting the lush forest.

“The outhouse required careful engineering to ensure that the structure was completely invisible externally. The large sheets of glass mirror, their fixing details, elevation above the natural ground and waterproofing were all significant challenges resolved with the engineer. The surrounding natural landscape was subtly modified to create the path and hide the columns upon which the outhouse sits.”

Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh
Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh

The reflective material was used to make the structure invisible and further reduce the obvious presence of the architecture in the natural environment, as well as thinning the boundaries between inside and outside. The outer shell is entirely made with mirrors, but from the inside, in reality, it is possible to enjoy this spectacular and evocative landscape, thanks to the use of the unidirectional mirror. An effect that vanishes once the internal lights are switched on, making the reflection of the mirror ineffective.

Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh
Images courtesy of Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Photography by Robert Walsh

“The client’s desire to create a haven that not only provided a connection to the landscape but a place to truly escape was met through design,” says architect Madeleine Blanchfield. “The outhouse heightens the sense of place, and makes one consider their location and the vulnerability of humans in the uncontrolled landscape.”

http://www.madeleineblanchfield.com