This series of small structures form part of an environmental educational space for Longbush Ecosanctuary in Gisborne, New Zealand. The project was undertaken by Sarosh Mulla Design, with the help of 88 volunteers who provided all the required materials to complete the build.
Dubbed the Welcome Shelter, the educational site has a total area of 1615 square feet (150 square meters), with the buildings themselves occupying much less. Longbush Ecosanctuary is composed of approximately 120 hectares of land, which, over the past 15 years, have been restored thanks to the efforts of Jeremy and Dame Anne Salmond.
Access to the shelter is free, and aims to cater for school children, ecologists and tourists. Each of the timber frame structures has its own separate purpose – storage, ablution facilities, and an office for the on-site ecologist.
The three buildings are grouped together under a large steel frame that supports the roof canopy, providing shelter from the sun and rain. The approach reminds me of some modern Japanese houses, which separate living areas into their own little buildings, but then group them together through an overarching roof structure.
Each little cabin is modern in form, and aims to provide views that frame the surrounding landscape, and encourage interaction. A series of small gardens are also at hand to help facilitate the education of children (and adults) on the restoration, and recovery of the environment.
The office pod features a large fold-down wall that doubles as an exterior deck area, used for demonstrations. One of the other pods also contains a roof deck. The roof deck can be accessed by a traditionally made greenwood ladder, that’s made from a Manuka tree harvested from the site.
Thanks to the efforts of the Salmond’s, and their volunteers and visitors, Longbush is beginning to thrive again.