Coles Bay, Tasmania
The challenge for the HVAC designers of the Saffire Freycinet luxury resort was not an uncommon one for striking buildings: be effective but invisible.
The resort is located on the Freycinet Peninsula, about 125km from Hobart on the east coast of Tasmania. The area is home to one of the state’s oldest national parks; the renowned Wineglass Bay Beach; and the Hazards – Freycinet’s jagged granite peaks.
Located on the site of an old and disused caravan park, Saffire Freycinet is a boutique hotel boasting exquisite views and accommodation amid the natural splendour. Conceived as an “experience”, everything about the resort is designed to relax, beguile, and inspire its high-paying guests.
Two components make up the complex, which sits on 11 hectares. There is the main visitor facility – described as looking a little like a stingray from a distance – and a string of 20 suites.
Wood & Grieve Engineers (now Stantec) was tasked with designing a system for the uniquely shaped main building, a structure that houses three levels of south-facing double-glazed windows and is also home to pools and ponds.
“As you walk through the space, there’s very little of the systems that you can notice,” says Wood & Grieve Engineers’ Grant Holman, M.AIRAH. “It’s very understated, and we were conscious of that.
“We did a lot of work with the architects to not only get a workable solution, but also one where there is no visual intrusion. There is a mixture of some underfloor and some overhead, but for the most part, in the key areas, you can’t see the diffusers at all.”
The 20 suites all feature variable refrigerant volume connected to a series of common condensers, with heat recovery.
If you’re looking to book a room to take a squiz at the HVAC kit, you may not find what you are searching for.
In a space wishing to evoke a peaceful oasis, it wouldn’t do to have guests disturbed by maintenance staff. Rather, the kit has been located away from the suites – an example of how every aspect of the design was considered for how it would affect the guest experience.
For instance, nothing (such as a kitchen or toilet exhaust) was allowed to pop through the roof. As a result, the HVAC design solutions were managed in different ways to make them non-visual.
And although Holman says the design work was not especially complex, neither was it typical.