Waterfall Valley Hut – Overland Track

Green Design Architects

The Overland Track in the Wilderness World Heritage Area of Cradle Mountain / Lake St Clair is one of the most iconic bushwalks in Australia. Waterfall Valley Hut is the first of three new huts along this memorable six day bushwalk to replace the existing dilapidated huts. This new remote unserviced hut was required to safely accommodate 34 bushwalkers and two wardens overnight in a challenging alpine climate. The new rangers’ hut accommodates up to four rangers.

The complex brief incorporates protection from wild weather and bushfire, minimal impact on the sensitive natural landscape, a robust interior to endure high levels of public use, low construction cost, a healthy indoor climate, prevention of condensation, visual subservience, and longevity with minimal ongoing maintenance.

The hut was designed with an emphasis on sustainability and simplicity. The construction crew only had a narrow summer weather window to install the buildings, so they were partially prefabricated before being delivered in parts by helicopter to the remote location. Highly insulated timber construction methods were used to minimise weight and embodied energy and to allow for deconstruction.

The roof forms of the building reference the nearby heritage hut and the modest character of other remote Tasmanian huts, while creating a generous communal space which frames views of Barn Bluff nearby. The external materials and colours were selected to blend into the natural bushland, while warm plywood interiors provide a welcoming sense of warmth and comfort after a strenuous bushwalk on a challenging track. Interpretive alpine flora artwork and quotes of early explorers aare carved in to the plywood walls to heighten the experience of a visit.

The construction and detailing of the building set a new benchmark for high-performance buildings in remote alpine areas.

Photography by Green Design Architects (1, 2), Phil Cook (PWS) (3, 4).