Synapse SAIF, Cairns

Synapse Supported Accommodation Innovation Facility (SAIF) in Cairns is the first of its kind in north Queensland. It comprises 8 individual self-contained units for people with acquired brain injury. The facility meets the platinum standards of the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines and has a 6 star commercial energy efficiency standard. The design has been developed with the client Synapse, Indij Design, and Abriculture and with guidance from the traditional owners of the region, and the landscape design has been created as a rehabilitative garden for the clients staying in the facility. The buildings are specifically designed to be non-institutional, comforting and culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The form of the individual units has references to traditional rainforest dwellings and the roof of the main facility twists slightly like a palm frond base or water carrying vessel.

The project was built by Hutchinson Builders. Project management, structural and civil engineering by Aecom. Electrical and mechanical engineering by Sequal, hydraulic engineering by H2O, building certification by All Construction Approvals. Photography is by Michael Marzik.

AWARD: Australian Institute of Architects. 2019 Regional Project of the Year, Far North Queensland.