Architecture: Sparks Architects
Builder: Altum Constructions
Engineer: Sean Sharp – SCG Engineering
The building has been designed to accommodate many and varied activities. It incorporates a highly flexible plan with two lineal arrangements of spaces hinged either side of a breezeway / gallery space.
This breezeway is the primary circulation space for the building and runs North East / South West – channeling cooling summer breezes into the various office and function spaces. The space terminates at a covered deck and (soon to be) lush garden and water feature – an area that will be used for informal meetings and function receptions.
The primary space of the building is a flexible hall, which can be further sub-divided into two or three smaller spaces. The hall is naturally lit through large wall planes of twin wall polycarbonate and naturally ventilated through systems of doors and high louver galleries.
An entire longitudinal wall of the space can be completely opened to the garden where it addresses a small-scale amphitheatre. It is envisaged that this could accommodate theatre and children’s plays. The entire building is structured on a 1200mm grid. This dramatically reduced the cutting of hardwood ply sheets to the hall floor and FC and Polycarbonate sheets to the external walls.
95% of the building’s timber structure – both concealed softwood and expressed hardwood was recycled. To minimise the need for steel in the building, the large internal volumes and spans apparent in the hall where achieved through a series softwood trusses and purlins. The horizontal bottom cord to the truss also allows for the custom retractable walls.
All lighting in the building is either LED or compact fluorescent. This coupled with ceiling fans in lieu of air-conditioning and a 3.5 kilowatt photovoltaic array ensures that for most of the year the building is actually returning energy to the grid. All paint and sealers are 0 VOC.
A wind sock, which is positioned on a recycled ‘cane-train track’ column, allows for the users of the building to best trim the various windows and vents to suit current wind conditions. It is also, apparently, greatly appreciated by local surfers. An extensive car-park, also designed by Sparks Architects is currently under construction. The car-park will consist entirely of grass with sub-grade re-enforcing. The car-park will be irrigated with water collected from the building and stored in tanks concealed under earth berms. The berms, planted with dunal grasses, also help to aesthetically tie the building back into the landscape.