Mon Repos Turtle Centre

KIRK Architects

The structure and building fabric were designed to withstand the corrosive sea air and seasonal cyclones for a lifespan of over 40 years. The building was primarily constructed using glue-laminated timber for both structure and linings. The prefabricated, locally sourced, glulam timber diagrid superstructure, external copper folded panels and internal plywood linings removed waste for both manufacturing and onsite assembly while having an enduring lifespan. Mixed mode, naturally ventilated and daylighting strategies were employed throughout this state-of-the-art centre, reducing reliance upon energy consuming man-made systems.
Externally the form is a direct volumetric expression of the mono-pitched diagrid structure. The angular forms are clad in a bespoke folded copper sheeting and where protected, recycled tallowwood cladding and screens. The skin allows the façade to breathe while avoiding light spill outside. The building skin will develop a patina over time along with its surrounding landscape immersing itself into relatively non-descript landscape of grassy, dune forms and trees, ensuring it is a demure addition to this sensitive and ancient home to the turtles who travel around the world to nest each year in the same place.

Photography: Scott Burrows