Rainforest Kitchen


February to May 2019


Following dreams and conversations about what an ideal rainforest kitchen could be, we chose a place without too many trees and with lots of rocks to become foundations. Designing began sitting on one of the rocks with clay and bamboo sticks. After modelling several versions of the structure, the design continued to be refined as we built full scale beams and lifted them into place. 


As we were entering the rainy season, the process of construction became a little bit wilder. Between torrential storms, a great team spirit carried us through most of the substructural work. Five on the roof, with drills, dowels and pulley buckets, were supplied with splits cut to length by one wading through the mud on the ground. It was a comical experience for all, especially the onlooking monkeys! 


Interior spaces, such as dining areas, storage nooks, preparation surfaces and cozy hang outs, emerged from the structural clusters of bamboo columns. A triangular central platform is defined by 15 columns that define a tetrahedral space with a faceted oculus. Above these are nine curved beams that define the perimeter of three interlocking roofs. Geometrical symmetry is found in the central triangle six metres in the air. The softness of form emerges as this symmetrical pattern flows down to align with the unique form of the land. 


The intention was for the roof to feel like part of the hillside, and the space we inhabit beneath to be like an opening with the landscape continuing above. Misty sunrises and wild stargazing can now be experienced from the kitchen's roof garden. 


This whole process was informed by our experiences of preparing food in our initial temporary tarpaulin-covered kitchen space. This we were able to adapt each day to our growing understanding of rainforest living. A result of this is a kitchen with a very soft boundary between inside and outside, the activities spilling out into the surrounding rainforest gardens. The whole cycle of the kitchen is alive: nutrition and life-filled qualities of food flow directly between the human and the land, nourishing both. Preparing, eating, cleaning, composting, watering and growing are all connected in the same food cycle that moves though this kitchen.


A fresh interior is the result of natural light and a gentle breeze generated by the openings between the roofs overlapping above. This atmospheric flow is also visually experienced as an interior ceiling finish of vortexing bamboo splits.


Created in collaboration with Joaquin, Medardo, Dorance, David, Sandra, with visits from Amy and Suzi


Dwelling in Symbiosis