SHELTER: Permanent Camping

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Aug 12, 2013 | By Matthew Ankeny

Three hundred kilometers from the eastern coast of Australia, the Mudgee Tower sits on the edge of a ridge, surrounded only by granite boulders and ancient trees. It’s a two-story structure designed to be a permanent tent, a return to the essence of simple living.

The structure boasts panoramic views over the outback of New South Wales, and is designed to be part of the environment from which it grew. It sits on a tiny 3x3 meter footprint, and has copper panels that can be winched down to protect it from the occasional bush fire.

Inside the two-story structure are a sleeping loft, functional kitchen (with a Rais slow combustion wood stove), and an open living space. It’s equipped with passive cooling (basically, the windows all open and heat can escape through the roof), the stove for warmth, and a water-harvesting system.

When open, the copper verandas also serve as a source of shade, helping to keep the house cool in the summer.

The home was designed by Sydney-based Casey Brown Architecture, who emphasize unpretentious fuctionalism and a fidelity to climate, topography and lifestyle.

Taking those three elements into account, the Mudgee Tower overlaps with the Huckberry lifestyle nicely: warm climates, rolling, untouched topography, and the independent, self-sustained lifestyle that comes with the camping life.

One last note: despite the easy integration into the landscape, the home was made prefab in Sydney, then transported to the site. The result is a lower impact on the environment (no long term on-site construction), and an odd symmetry with the idea of permanent camping. 

The site was set up quickly, and left the surrounding area relatively untouched. Now it enjoys life as a lasting, fully integrated outback outpost, which lets the owner revisit the wilderness in the spirit of true camping—never leaving more than a trace of quiet presence.

All images by Penny Clay. Via iGNANT and Aether.