From its inception, Saffire was imagined as an iconic project to redefine tourism in Tasmania, which predominately relies on the state’s incredible natural beauty. The site, when Circa Architecture inherited it, was scarred from its previous use as a disused caravan park so the project became a mechanism for repairing and interpreting its unique qualities as well as creating a tourist destination.
The desire to create a unique experience and ultimately positive lasting memory of the resort was a key aspiration of the design. With this in mind, the architects shaped the main building as the end point of a continuing journey, in which views of the Hazards Ranges are shielded and revealed and finally presented inside the building as a panoramic overview of Great Oyster Bay.
The resort is organic in its relationship to the site. Its shape is suggestive of coastal land forms, dunes, waves or sea creatures. The suites, more intimate and personal in nature, are arranged on the site as if marking the tidal shoreline and appear like small creatures or waves from the main sanctuary building. The guests' journey is a deliberately extended special sequence in which guests move from the monumental resort building, through the site, to the private space of the suites.
The passage between the units is a metaphor for a beach, the suites moored like small craft run up onto the sand. Each suite is enclosing and private, yet opens to an individually personalised view that is much more intimate in scale. Colour and materials were also carefully considered - the pallet for both external and internal materials was referenced directly from the local environment. At times the roof matches the colour of the water in the bay further suggesting a relationship between the building and the water. Likewise, the colours of the local sands, drift wood, leaves and bark are alluded to in the colours of the walls and screens.