In 1992 three forums were held to investigate socially, environmentally and aesthetically appropriate housing for the Sunshine Coast region. The Cotton Tree Pilot Housing Project was one of the outcomes. It was designed to provide a flexible alternative for medium density subtropical housing in older suburban and urban areas on the coast. The commission came from the owners of adjoining sites: the Department of Housing and the Beecham family. The land, in close proximity to public facilities, shopping, employment and recreational areas – was considered ideal for a pilot project. Both clients wanted to build affordable housing. The development consists of a series of attached and detached dwellings, stepping from one to three storeys to optimise summer cooling from the prevailing sea breezes and northern winter sun. Shared boundaries were adjusted to preserve a stand of paperbark trees. Subsequent environmental studies by the University of Queensland have found a substantial reduction in ‘heat island effect’, owing to the siting, permeability, shading, rientation and landscape strategies in the design. The private development component is a series of townhouses made of lightweight timber- framed construction. The public housing component is a combination of lightweight reverse masonry veneer construction whereby the masonry is weatherproofed and shaded by a skin of corrugated iron or fibre cement board. Apart from the insulating qualities of reverse veneer, this construction technique also allowed the language of materials and the aesthetics of assembly to be used across the whole site.