Tropical building design

Cool Homes: Smart design for the tropics

Designing for the tropics is essential in our climate. If your home is not designed right, you run the risk of having a hot home that is expensive to keep cool, particularly over the long, hot and humid summer.

Council's Cool Homes: smart design for the tropics ( PDF, 4.37 MB ) is a guidebook that takes you through the features every tropical home should have, from the contemporary block home to the popular Queenslander and everything in between. Topics include working with your designer and/or builder, orientation and shading, ventilation, building materials and colours, insulation, gardens and outdoor rooms.

The Cool Homes Plan Analysis Tool ( PDF, 0.3 MB ) is a companion to the Cool Homes Guide and is an essential tool for anyone building, buying or renovating a home in the tropics.  You can use this transparent overlay to assess the sustainability of your house plans. Print the overlay on tracing paper, or request a transparent hard copy by emailing sustainability@cairns.qld.gov.au.

Cairns Style Design Guide

The Cairns Style Guide showcases the distinct and unique character of the region's built environment. It describes in words, pictures and diagrams the tropical style that is the desired design direction for the City of Cairns.

Cairns Style is a broad concept ranging from the overall pattern and rhythm of streets to the detail of window awnings and balustrades. It is important for all building projects, from minor building renovations in the suburbs to new commercial projects in the City Centre.

Retaining and enhancing the distinct tropical style and character of Cairns - through streetscapes, housing and building designs - will improve the region's aesthetics, amenity and liveability.

Cairns Style Design Guide

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CSDG Contemporary Houses (1.7 MB)
The Cairns Style Design Guide describes, in words, pictures and diagrams, the tropical style that is the desired design direction for the Cairns region. This section covers Contemporary Houses.

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CSDG Introduction & Queenslanders (3.3 MB)
The Cairns Style Design Guide describes the tropical building style that is desired to retain and enhance the distinct tropical style and character of Cairns. This section covers the Introduction and Queenslanders.

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CSDG Landscaping, Screening & Sustainable Building Design (1.3 MB)
The Cairns Style Design Guide describes, in words, pictures and diagrams, the tropical style that is the desired design direction for the Cairns region. This section covers Landscaping & Screening, Sustainable Building Design, and Resources.

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CSDG Multiple Dwellings, Commercial & Civic (2.5 MB)
The Cairns Style Design Guide describes, in words, pictures and diagrams, the tropical style that is the desired design direction for the Cairns region. This section covers Multiple Dwellings, Commercial and Civic.

Commercial buildings

The Sustainable Tropical Building Design Guidelines for Commercial Buildings ( PDF, 5.9 MB ) is a resource for the development industry to encourage sustainable design and construction of commercial buildings in the tropics.

Tiny Houses

Tiny houses can be designed and built using green principles and provide affordable housing whilst minimising the urban footprint. Find out about Council approvals required with the Tiny House Fact Sheet ( PDF, 0.43 MB )

EVENTS, NEWS & REMINDERS STRAIGHT TO YOUR DEVICE
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EVENTS, NEWS & REMINDERS STRAIGHT TO YOUR DEVICE
my cairns DOWNLOAD IT FREE
Last updated: 14 December 2020