Text description provided by the architects. The fundamental response to emergency situations is to save lives – complexities are stripped down to the basics and response is instinctive. Engaged by the ACT Emergency Services Agency to create a new, purpose-built facility dedicated to the training of its Agencies, HBO+EMTB’s Outdoor Training Centre (OTC) responds with elemental forms and materials.
Occupying a greenfield site set back from the Monaro Highway in Hume, the newly completed OTC is a robust facility constructed with pragmatic materials for a practical workforce. Restrained forms accommodate the diverse training needs of the Fire Brigade, the Ambulance Service, the Rural Fire Service, and the SES.
The project involved the construction of a new training facility building, car parking, and an external “props” area to be used for training of existing personnel and new recruits to ACT ESA. Key elements include an administration and teaching building, a striking vertical rescue tower, training building hot house, training house and provisions for storage, as well as an outdoor training area (drill yard) and various stand down areas/structures.
Interfacing directly with the administration building is the parade ground which provides an area for setting up vehicular accident training scenarios. Other purpose built elements include the hot cell training building for fire and rescue training, a house for suburban dwelling access training scenarios, and dedicated suites of fire training props utilising natural gas as the propellant. These props simulate domestic fire situations, vehicle fires, fires on water, subsurface leaks and fires, as well as back draft and radiant heat training.
With a view toward minimising the environmental impact of training activities, HBO+EMTB’s design incorporates a number of sustainable initiatives. During training, all water and contaminates are contained on the site and treated for re-use in further training. A retention pond captures treated water and all storm water and runoff is also contained within the site and is directed to the pond. Such solutions reflect how careful analysis underpins the OTC’s effective resolution of highly specialised technical requirements within a formally restrained and elemental design response.