Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve wins 2018 AIA Award for Sustainable Architecture

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve wins 2018 Australian Institute of Architects Award for Sustainable Architecture

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Cafe (lower level), and viewing deck (upper level)

Guymer Bailey Architects was announced as the winner of the coveted 2018 Australian Institute of Architects Harry Marks Award for Sustainable Architecture, for the design of the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, an iconic conservation, recreation, education and tourism asset located in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

The Award, which recognises projects that excel as architecture, and also displays innovation and excellence in terms of environmental sustainability, was awarded to Guymer Bailey Architects in design collaboration with local Designer Norman Richards Design and Interiors.  The new Discovery Centre and Café was designed for the Sunshine Coast Regional Council to strengthen the role the Reserve plays in the conservation and display of local flora and fauna.

The Discovery Centre, which also received a commendation in the Public Architecture category, nestles sensitively into Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve’s complex nitophyll vine forest, one of the last remaining examples of this vegetation community that once covered the Blackall Ranges. Inside, the Centre contains innovative rainforest interpretative displays and has two frontages to provide spectacular views of both the Glass House Mountains and rainforest reserve.

Outside, a long timber boardwalk loops around the building allowing scenic access and learning opportunities for visitors with informative signage featured along the way. Sensitive to the heavily protected forest, the boardwalk was threaded through the existing flora to minimise the building footprint. To further minimise disruption, plant species endemic to the area were used for additional landscaping, and most of the design materials were sourced locally.

Phil Jackson, Director and design architect of Guymer Bailey Architects on the project has this to say about the project and win.

Mary Cairncross is an incredibly important project to us, and everyone involved. With such an amazingly beautiful and well-loved site, we were conscious of the responsibility the team carried to the community to create a special building and landscape. 

The design and delivery was genuinely collaborative from start to finish, and we wish to thank all those involved. We are humbled by the recognition the project has received, particularly for sustainability, as it reinforces our commitment to responsible, sustainable design for the community.”

To view the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve project click here: