Orokonui Ecosnactuary Visitor Centre

Photo: David St George

New Zealand - Biennale Architettura 2016

New Zealand - Biennale Architettura 2016

Orokonui lies to the north of Otago Harbour, high on the upper slopes between two volcanic cones – Mopanui and Mihiwaka – and is generally described as a cloud forest: typically misty, with snow and ice
in winter, drought in summer and high winds all year round. This visitor centre is about the interpretation of place and the discovery of landscape as a repository of unique flora, fauna and local histories. It is also an inland island, a fenced ecosanctuary of native forest, where indigenous plants and animals live unthreatened by introduced predators. The architecture adopts small joined-building elements scaled
to the grain of the surrounding landscape. A community of shipping containers sourced from the port just over the hill are organised round a covered atrium and sheltered under a floating canopy. The building integrates primary sustainable strategies of natural lighting, passive solar design, thermal-storage rainwater harvesting and adaptive reuse with controlled views over signi cant landforms and protected regenerating flora. (text: Charles Walker, Future Islands catalogue, Future Climates)


Architectural Ecology

Project team:
Tim Heath, John Baker and Hannah Sharp (Architectural Ecology) with Hadley & Robinson, Mechanical Support Systems and Naylor Love

Completed 2010

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  • Title: Orokonui Ecosnactuary Visitor Centre
  • Creator: Photo: David St George


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