Charles Wright Architects
Charles Wright Architects was established by Director Charles Wright in 2004. As a north Queensland-based firm, it is interested in creating innovative buildings that are sympathetic to the region and ecologically sustainable — it is working to develop a new vernacular for tropical architecture. The firm represents a shift towards innovation, research and experimentation within tropical architecture, with a strong emphasis on open design processes with the client. The Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre is a perfect example of this, combining environmental design with innovative materials and technology.
Given a brief that the building should blend seamlessly with the environment, Charles Wright Architect’s design takes on a chameleon-like camouflage. Using a mirrored surface, the building reflects the tropical green foliage of the surrounding botanical gardens. The result is stunning — the building is transformed by the reflection into a moving, living image.
Through the development of the project, the architects were faced with the problem that an exoskeleton of glass mirrors would be unreasonably heavy. The solution was to find a material that maintained the reflective qualities of glass, but was much lighter. The reflective cladding that was selected has never been used in Australia before, and is made from a very thin stainless-steel composite.