Building with minimum impact : redevelopment of research facilities on Heron Island

Wichelhaus, Katrin (2003). Building with minimum impact : redevelopment of research facilities on Heron Island MPhil Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, The University of Queensland.

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Author Wichelhaus, Katrin
Thesis Title Building with minimum impact : redevelopment of research facilities on Heron Island
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Architecture
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2003
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Kathi Holt-Damant
Total pages 133
Language eng
Subjects L
310101 Architecture
1203 Design Practice and Management
Formatted abstract Protected wilderness areas of environmental and natural importance, known as National Parks, attract people from all over the world to travel to Australia and enjoy the richness of a unique flora and fauna. Heron Island, a small sand coral cay at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, is such a site of major tourist interest. Although it is rigorously managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to meet legislative requirements, large parts of the island have been modified to accommodate supportive structures for tourism and research activities most of which are environmentally inappropriate.

This thesis examines the architectural, social and environmental Issues that need to be addressed In relation to building design on Heron Island. The aim is to create an appropriate architecture that minimizes the impact on both local eco-system and broader environment, The results of this research have been taken into account in the architectural design for new accommodation and laboratory facilities at the Heron Island Research Station. The project is based on the actual redevelopment planning by the Department of Property and Facilities Division of the University of Queensland.

Initially, a design brief was developed which explicitly included the objective of ensuring best practice in ecologically sustainable design (ESD). Secondly, the background research comprises a detailed site analysis which emphasizes three design Issues that are analyzed in case studies, A hot humid climate, remote location and sensitive natural context characterize the fragile reef environment on Heron Island. Consequently, the objectives of this project were to:
- create thermal comfort through a climate responsive and resource saving design,
- respond to the lack of resources introducing renewable energies,
- provide flexible structures for easy transport, construction and maintenance,
- design buildings and their construction in such a way that biodiversity Is conserved and prevent user Impact through environmental education.

Based on these objectives a set of three strategies was developed which unify the design for accommodation and laboratory buildings in this thesis. Firstly, the architectural response for both structures suggested an elevated low-impact construction with minimum footprint, simplified through modular design and prefabrication. Secondly, the design focused on the human occupation of the building envelope and its interaction with the climate and the natural environment, therefore generating multiple social issues. And thirdly, environmental requirements were addressed in designing the buildings with the purpose of converting the research station into a largely self-sustaining facility in the future.

The project is presented through architectural drawings, diagrams and photographic illustrations and is concluded with a critical review by comparing brief and project outcome and testing the design by means of the Green Globe Certification checklist.
Keyword Architecture -- Environmental aspects -- Designs and plans
Architecture -- Environmental aspects -- Queensland -- Heron Island
Laboratories -- Queensland -- Heron Island -- Design and construction
Additional Notes

Variant title: Building with minimum impact

Variant title: Redevelopment of research facilities on Heron Island

 
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