Norfolk pine-inspired building turns heads

Friday 17 Dec 2021

When the scaffolding finally came down from a new apartment building on the Gold Coast, social media was flooded with photos taken by awestruck locals. No one had ever seen anything like it; a building inspired by, and a celebration of, a nearby group of heritage-listed Norfolk pine trees, with a series of architectural curves mimicking their cone-like seed pods.

“We’ve been taken aback by people’s reaction to it, to be honest,” says Koichi Takada, architect of Norfolk, the 10-storey apartment block at Burleigh Heads. “It was very much designed for its particular location: a corner site facing the park, by the beach.

“We knew it looked different from most other buildings, and it does stand out, but we’ve been really pleased to hear how much people are liking it.” The 31.45-metre-high building, on a 1012-square-metre site, ended up faithfully replicating the original design scheme, with the overlapping curves and linear screening making it a standout structure at the southern end of Burleigh Heads Beach.

It’s not just for the look either. The curves are calculated to protect the residents inside from the elements, with slatted screens that can be opened to bring in the sunshine, light and air.

“The sculptural facade references the inner workings of the Norfolk pine, which is a natural icon in the Gold Coast region,” says Takada, an award-winning Japanese-born architect who lives in Sydney but works on projects around the world.

“Just like their pine cones protect its seeds from bad weather and open when in ideal natural settings, Norfolk’s architecture reacts to conditions for the people living there.”

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Source: SMH, Koichi Takada Architects

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