Flowerdale Community House is the new home for the enormous range of programs run by the residents of this small Victorian town. Located an hour north of Melbourne, the project is on the site of the community house and kindergarten that was destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009.
For a building which hosts everything from belly dancing to psychological services, its flexible halls and consultation rooms are drawn together under one large roof. Located low on the site, this roof is the prominent image of the building, and bears (along with over 100 people in the town) the ‘tattoo’ of the Flowerdale logo. This logo was created after the bushfires and was designed to represent the regeneration of the town following this disaster. (Image01)
The corrugated metal of the roof folds down over the façade like the many rural sheds located in the region.
In further reference to the surrounding buildings, the printed roof mirrors the over-sized text on the roof of the Flowerdale Hotel. External cladding and materials continue the building envelope inside, expressing the separate rooms within the large interior, while the open structural space of the roof gives volume and connection to the flexible spaces below. Unpainted timber trusses, galvanised steel beams and recycled brickwork reinforce the rural quality within a building type that can often seem institutional. (Image09)
Where the roof peels back, there are moments where interior elements such as the trusses and tiled amenities block are revealed, connecting external pockets of space to those of the interior. (Image08)
The building uses technically simple environmental design features, such as natural ventilation, deep eaves, low-emissivity double-glazing, and an insulated slab, complimented by solar hot water and solar power systems. In addition, water for both fire fighting and general use is supplied by rainwater collection, and the septic system uses an organic process to produce water to irrigate the site.
Importantly, the community clients saw this project as an opportunity to go beyond the simple replacement of facilities lost to the fires. It was their ambition that the Flowerdale Community house set a new benchmark, in design and environmental performance, for the public buildings of Flowerdale.