Ayers Rock (Yulara) Resort

Uluru, Northern Territory

Ayers Rock Resort (nee Yulara) was developed as a cohesive township and resort to prevent degradation of the desert environment around Australia’s iconic Uluru (Ayers Rock) by haphazard tourism development. The site for the township was selected some distance away from Uluru, in a valley masking views from the rock by sand dunes.

The plan follows the serpentine shape of the valley. At each end are hotel resorts, linked by a pedestrian spine with town and visitor facilities, shops and housing distributed on either side. The architecture is mostly derived from the need for the township to be environmentally self-sufficient, much of the roofscape being covered by solar collectors. Outdoor spaces are protected by a system of hyperbolic fabric structures which also extend over some roofs to provide a cooling layer.

In the larger resort, the public spaces are canopied by dual fabric membranes for climate control, this system allowing changing daylight to permeate the interior. Water is drawn from artesian bores as well as from run-off roofs. Colours are derived from the surrounding desert which, surprisingly to many visitors to Uluru, are extraordinarily vibrant, particularly in the wet season. Carparking is restricted to hidden areas on the township perimeter, beyond which is a ranger’s residence, further housing, police and service stations, and a sewage treatment plant.

Ayers Rock Resort is often cited as the archetypical contemporary Australian township, and it is the culmination of much of the practice’s earlier small scale projects seeking to define an unmistakable Australian architectural typology.

Ayers Rock (Yulara) Resort
  • Awards
  • Technical Information

Designer Award, Design Institute of Australia 1998

Architecture of the Decade Award, BHP Bluescope Steel Awards 1991

BHP Australian Steel Award, BHP Bluescope Steel Awards 1985

Tracy Memorial Award, RAIA NT 1985

Sir Zelman Cowen Award, RAIA NSW 1985

Designer Award, Design Institute of Australia 1984

Urban White Industries and the Northern Territory Government
Project Status
Completed, 1984
Site Area