Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitor Centre / Architectural Ecology

© Patrick Reynolds

Architects: Architectural Ecology
Location: Dunedin,
Structural Engineer: Hadley & Robinson Ltd
Mechanical Engineer: MSS Ltd
Contractor: Naylor Love Limited
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Patrick Reynolds

© Patrick Reynolds

The Otago Natural History Trust is focused on providing an area of native forest where indigenous plants and animals can live in the wild without threat from most introduced pests. The Trust has established a mainland island and sanctuary just north of Dunedin.

© Patrick Reynolds

The client asked for a truly New Zealand building – something that fits into the landscape. This visitor centre is about the interpretation of this place and the discovery of landscape as a repository of unique flora, fauna and histories of local people.

© Patrick Reynolds

As with all New Zealand landscapes, microclimate defines not only the soil types, plants and animals but also how we live and build. The Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitor Centre is located on the upper slopes of Mopanui and Mihiwaka. The site is typically misty and the vegetation is described as a ‘Cloud Forest’. There can be high winds throughout the seasons with snow and ice in winter. In summer, droughts are not uncommon.

The design and construction of the visitor centre is an attempt to respond to these conditions and to answer the user needs.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitor Centre / Architectural Ecology" 19 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=135934>
  • Małgorzata

    nice but too modest in colour.

  • Rube Brian

    Beautiful. Those screens are awesome and as soon as the bush grows up around it, it will look wonderfully ‘settled’.

    • http://www.sammyxu2011.blogspot.com Sammy Xu

      Yes, using screens as a kind of vine/plants extension area (growing area) makes sense for an architectural firm that deals with ecology. And a great eco-design. Shows you how much nature means to the people of New Zealand.

  • donnie darko

    great shape.. i like it

  • http://www.sammyxu2011.blogspot.com Sammy Xu

    Great cultural piece. I could imagine the Maori people’s canoe when I see this architectural piece. The reason for this architecture’s brilliance is it’s cultural relevance and the good combination of depth and three dimensional space; the structure seemed to jump out at you. The depth because this isn’t some flat ground building. Great piece.

  • Leslie138

    I agree, this is a awesome project. Both functional and visually pleasing. Its interesting how the slight overlapping of the screens gives this project the visual impact.