Truly immersed in the natural environment, Kangaroo Valley Outhouse by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects is a mirrored cube that sits nestled deep in the bush.
Servicing a small cabin used as guest accommodation overnight stays, the Kangaroo Valley Outhouse is a bathroom in the bush, designed empathetically to mimic the experience of camping by separating the bathroom from the cabin. The outhouse is located 30 metres from the accommodation and can be accessed via a pathway that cuts through the dense landscape. Heightening the experience of being in the bush, getting to the outhouse at night becomes an adventure of its own.
Nestled in vegetation and lush greenery, the outhouse is a mirrored cube that vanishes from sight during the day. Reflecting its surrounds, only the subtle lines of the cube’s edges can be seen. The mirrors, however, are only one way – while the exterior remains highly reflective, it is ultimately transparent from the inside. The architects conceptualised the project after careful consideration of the landscape, driven by the desire to ensure that the design gives the user a true sense of being outdoors, explaining that “the outhouse heightens the sense of place, makes one consider their location and the vulnerability of humans in the controlled landscapes.”
Working with large sheets of mirror, fixings, the elevation above the natural ground and waterproofing all initially posed challenges but were resolved with the engineer to achieve a bathroom like no other. The luxurious interior of the outhouse features a freestanding bath, shower and toilet. It has also been fitted with sustainable technologies such as solar-powered lighting, grey greywater recycling and natural ventilation. There is minimal contact with the ground, and the outhouse can be dismantled at any time.
Designed as a haven that provides a strong connection to the landscape and in doing so encourages people to unwind, Kangaroo Valley Outhouse achieves this aim through a simple yet powerful gesture. Elegantly enfolding the structure into the surrounding bushland, Madeleine Blanchfield Architects designs not only a building, but an experience.