Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the surf pod

Today we have a special "guest", Tom the island architect, with a word about tropical architecture. Take it away Aquaman:

The Surf Pod was conceived as a separate bedroom/ dressing room with an outdoor shower as an extension to the original house. The pod is modular in nature, and the design is also being applied to several other projects in the neighbouring villages.

The Surf Pod aims to be utilitarian yet poetic, lightweight yet strong, with a satisfying balance between the sense of being firmly planted, and the ability to move on. It’s form is guided by ease of constructability and the fundamentals of good tropical design. It speaks of a humble footprint in the community. It opposes the palatial, air-conditioned, concrete compounds, but does not sacrifice harmonious proportions, nor become prosaic. The occupiers are here to surf and develop relationships with people, and a modest dwelling is able to facilitate this.

Aesthetically, the Surf Pod derives inspiration from the temporary, yet long-lived, fishing shacks that used to be found nestled into the sand dunes along the Australian coastline. Small ‘villages’ of these shacks developed in places away from the towns. These were places where town dwellers seeking to escape the mundane would occasionally integrate with the fringe dwellers who semi-permanently resided there. The environs seemed to afford the occupiers an abundance of time for creativity, as often evidenced by the ornamentation and arrangements of found objects, typically flotsam-like in material. Therein lay parallels with why people are drawn to the island.

The Surf Pod is also partially of bucolic influence, with references to the Australian shearing shed, for example its raised timber deck, oiled and with gaps between.
Of its vernacular elements, the most obvious is in the coconut-palm leaf roof. It is a significant element in its function of insulating from the sun, as well as providing a visual blending with the surrounding palm canopy, and a link to the local beach shacks of the indigenous people.

Photos below are of recently completed Surf Pods for a couple of expat clients.


  1. Since when did Tom get so smart/articulate/productive? Must be all that healthy living. Don't fret Sal, I'll do everything I can while there to revert him back to the bloke we've come to know and love.

  2. I agree with the above he has come over all down right frigging erudite !

  3. I didn't think there was anyone out there... Architectural guff has a time, a place, and a reason. Obviously I seriously missplaced my guff. I retract my previous statements and grunt in your general direction. My current standing is that the pods are good for a giggle. :)


thanks for taking the time

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