Just on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, between the 74 islands that make up the archipelago of Whitsunday, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can be found Hamilton Island. Facing the coast of Queensland, Australia, it is the archipelago’s largest inhabited island, has its own commercial airport and is just a short boat trip away from Shute Harbour.
In 2011, Renato D’Ettorre Architects completed a beautiful villa that its owners called Casa Azuris for use as their second home in Hamilton. The building has very simple, clear lines, and seems to disappear into the surroundings. Thanks to the materials chosen – concrete, stone and glass – the house blends in with the Coral Sea, and with the natural rocky landscape with abundant vegetation.
Thanks to its spectacular location, near the edge of the ocean on a raised site with unbeatable views, the building has all of the luxury that its owners asked for and the delicate purity needed to respond in a way that was respectful of the surroundings. Casa Azuris brings together the three most beautiful elements of this dream location: the sun, the sea and fresh air.
Inside, the space was divided into large, open rooms with a clean aspect, as low-maintenance materials were used for the surfaces of the floors and walls. The internal spaces also wrap themselves around the outside to place the water on centre stage. Casa Azuris enjoys impressive views of the ocean and has a spectacular pool inside, in addition to a number of water lily ponds that can be seen from several of the rooms in the house.
Casa Azuris was designed to withstand the sub-tropical climate: high levels of humidity and intense sunlight. Generous overhangs, cross ventilation and the presence of the water afford extremely comfortable interior living spaces, which mostly face the exterior. The white masonry that reflects the sunlight and the stone walls that lock the house into the land lend it the character that makes it stand out on this Australian island. Casa Azuris recently won an award from the Australian Institute of Architects.
At the end of August, the island hosts Hamilton Island Race, an annual sailing regatta in which more than 150 yachts from all over Australia and New Zealand come together to race around the archipelago.
Photograph: Francesca Giovanelli