Blue Derby Pods Ride
Submitted by: PHILPLIGHTON ARCHITECTURE (Thomas Floyd)
Contact the designer: philplighton.com.au
The Blue Derby Pods Ride an accommodation and amenities facilitating adventures tourism and immersive wilderness experiences, constructed with a timber rich palette in North East Tasmania.
The Whole Story
Within a temperate Tasmanian Blackwood forest alongside relicts of a bygone mining industry, sits the Blue Derby Pods Ride. (BDPR) The Pods and it’s facilities are a node in the emerging adventure tourism market in regional Tasmania, offering a guided mountain bike experience, boutique accommodation and a showcase for local produce.
The BDPR is tapping into the mountain movement sweeping across the country, a new industry has been generated through the construction of world class mountain bike trails in Derby, contributing to process of renewal of the local community’s economy and infrastructure.
The hub building provides adventurers a space to relax and rejuvenate. Incorporating first class amenities for dining, staff accommodation and bike storage. The pods offer a sleeping space, wrapping the user in a protective shell for an immersive wilderness experience.
Enthusiastic clients allowed for exploration in formal and spatial qualities in the architecture and how conceptually it might resonate with their philosophies and principles of integrating experiences and the natural environment.
Conceptually the form of a pod integrated into all levels of thinking about the project. A pod working as a metaphorical expression for the sleeping quarters connection to site and the stand of Blackwood trees and their identifiable pods.
The main hub sites along contours of the landscape, the roof roots itself into the ground providing connectivity between the built form, geography and experience, as mountain bikers move through the threshold created by the intersecting elements, in both arrival and departure of daily rides.
The clients ambition was to set the bench mark for the spirit, quality, creativity and experimentation in adventure tourism in Tasmania. Their adventurous business case set the tone for an equally innovative architectural response.
Through design, fabrication, materials selection and employment the BDPR has sort to contribute to the local economy. An anecdotal story floats around the PLA office of an older member of the Derby community pulling up riders and expressing his joy to see the sheer numbers of riders, ‘this is the best thing to happen to Derby since we discovered tin!’. The encounter provides evidence of contribution to the social and economic requirements of the Derby community through the development of infrastructure to facilitate mountain biking.
Early contractor involvement created another layer of rigor in material choices, removing lengthy lead times and provided timely cost advice. Close collaboration with a bushfire practitioner and development of an alternative solution protecting a sensitive site from clearing for fire protection, nor were construction standard increased.
A cross disciplinary relationship between the architect and the contractors CAD/CNC/Joinery department, extended both parties skill set in prefabrication, while removing the pods from the critical path. Parallel construction, pods (offsite) and the hub (onsite), reduced unnecessary trade site disturbance and provided time and cost savings.