01 / Lotus Clinic

Mount Eliza 2013

The Brief

The build was for a chiropractic practice with a very holistic philosophy, they also wanted the building to express this holistic nature.   The owners had a great passion for timber and this was to be a feature of the building.

An earth-bank geothermal reverse cycle heating and cooling system was requested. As were some rammed earth walls on the ground floor, and solar panel collectors to the roof.

A good indoor outdoor feel to treatment areas, and spaces to feel natural and light.  The spaces were to slowly unfold as you move through the building.  If two storey, the first floor to have flexibility in size or layout for varied ancillary services.

The Process

From the owners initial outline sketch to show where their conceptual thinking was up to, the first step was to provide some sketch feedback on the opportunities to maximise the use of the site, potential building footprint, integration into the public and private areas surrounding the site. Then we discussed ideas to make the building inviting and relaxing, particularly the front of house and treatment areas.

A passive solar design approach was naturally included.  The design went to and fro from single to two storey a number of times throughout the whole process.  We ended up with planning and building permits for both single and two storey builds in the end.  The reasons were mainly around cost of the build, providing ancillary services, lifestyle requirements and whether the practice was to grow or the existing size to be maintained.

The Result

The unique architectural design has a very soft, natural and organic form to the street.  The rear of the building is principally rectangular to assist with economy and articulated with different surface textures and materials.

Interestingly the geothermal went by the wayside as the providing service company went belly up, costing the owners a substantial amount in preliminary geothermal installation, which was later found to be unusable.  The rammed earth walls also lost out due to polystyrene sheet needing to be installed in the middle of the rammed earth to meet current thermal efficiency requirement.  The owners deciding for them, the cost return wasn’t worth it.

The interiors fine timber detailing is the result of many discussions with the owners, and one owner’s enthusiastic, passionate hands on approach, working closely with some fine timber craftsmen.

Many locals have praised the building’s appearance and feel, and asked why more buildings are not like this?

  • The streetscape shows the building nestled into the existing trees, with a well setback upper storey.

    The streetscape shows the building nestled into the existing trees, with a well setback upper storey.

  • Natural timber and stone greet clients at the entry to the building.

    Natural timber and stone greet clients at the entry to the building.

  • One of the treatment rooms off the curved hallway, opens onto an outdoor relaxation area.

    One of the treatment rooms off the curved hallway, opens onto an outdoor relaxation area.

  • An outdoor area adjacent the treatment room, doors at the end are to a circular room for group use.

    An outdoor area adjacent the treatment room, doors at the end are to a circular room for group use.

  • The Winding hallway with a strangler fig in the centre, artistic license for a skeletal form, is opposite the entrance to the main treatment rooms.

    The Winding hallway with a strangler fig in the centre, artistic license for a skeletal form, is opposite the entrance to the main treatment rooms.

  • Timber detailing along the sides and rear of the upper storey.

    Timber detailing along the sides and rear of the upper storey.

  • Natural timber detailing in the reception/waiting area.

    Natural timber detailing in the reception/waiting area.

  • Translucent glass between slabs of radial cut timber give a lantern effect as you enter the curved hallway running down the spine of the ground floor.

    Translucent glass between slabs of radial cut timber give a lantern effect as you enter the curved hallway running down the spine of the ground floor.