Situated in the beautiful coastal township of Byron Bay, Elements of Byron is a unique eco-resort destination. RPS Landscape Architecture was engaged to seamlessly integrate the new resort with the forests, dunes, beaches and creeks that make Byron famous, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the natural landscape.
Landscape design with nature in mind
The team’s design for Elements was based on the careful consideration and subtle integration of facility operations with existing natural features.
More than 570 mature trees within the central facilities, pool, accommodation cabins and foreshore fringe areas were retained, and the existing landscape significantly influenced the positioning of built form elements.
Each cabin has been carefully positioned among established trees, and RPS’ landscape designers adopted the same eco-sensitive philosophy when it came to other landscape elements.
Locally-sourced endemic plants and materials are a key feature of the design and have helped to create a resort experience that’s in tune with the Belongil Beach location.
Rehabilitation and habitat preservation has been used to provide subconscious natural learning experiences that guests take home with them, while simultaneously enhancing natural eco-systems.
Elements of sustainability
Much consideration was given to the site’s position within the local hydrological network of Belongil & Cumbebin Swamplands, Belongil Creek and the Pacific Ocean, and the landscape design allows Elements to contribute to the restoration and support of this local eco-system.
Existing water bodies were maintained and fauna movement within these water corridors is encouraged. Land manipulation necessary for the development of the resort conformed to these natural corridors, ensuring the overland flow continues to follow natural rhythms.
To ensure the focus of Elements remains on the natural environment, functional amenities are well integrated and carefully planned.
Permeable pavement and gravel surfacing provide visual cues for environmentally conscious behaviour, while the design of vehicular and pedestrian paths ensure minimal impact on the natural environment and guide environmentally-friendly behaviour.
Construction strategies included the careful reclamation and storage of rich and fertile onsite topsoil resulting in far less soil being transported to site. Combined with the ‘source local’ strategy adopted for materials, this approach resulted in a much reduced carbon footprint for the project overall.
Partners in great design
An in-depth community and local authority consultation process was adopted by RPS when developing the design for Elements of Byron.
Byron Shire Council was presented with a clear summary of the landscape vision for the site and several question and answer workshop sessions were undertaken to maintain an open dialogue and seek valuable feedback.
An informative website was also developed with key information on the landscape and environment integration strategy for community feedback, and a public exhibition was undertaken which facilitated informal discussions with local business, local community and tourists.