30.01.2023 Valentina Grossmann

Mon Repos Turtle Centre by Kirk

© Scott Burrows Photography

Australia’s most important seasonal nesting grounds for loggerhead turtles are located in Queensland, on the beach of Mon Repos and its surroundings in the protected area of the Great Barrier Reef. The new Mon Repos Turtle Centre by Kirk gives visitors greater insight into this vital research work. In nesting season, it serves as an information centre for up to 300 visitors every evening.

© Scott Burrows Photography

The new building was erected in a period of only seven months between the turtles’ annual nesting seasons. The architects chose the existing asphalt parking lot outside the national park as a location, thus enlarging the terrain around the sensitive beaches.

Because of the rough, erosive coastal environment and the weather conditions, regional wood has been used for the construction and cladding. The facade is covered with corrugated copper sheeting above and with vertical panels and screens of recycled tallowwood below. Over time, these materials will develop a patina that will let the building step back into the landscape.

© Scott Burrows Photography

The wooden superstructure consists of a 9.6-by-9.6 m framework of diagonally crisscrossing prefabricated glulam beams. Inside, the grid is expressed with cladding set into the depths of the roof and walls. On the ceiling, it resembles the pattern of a turtle’s shell.

© Scott Burrows Photography
© Scott Burrows Photography

The arrival and assembly room, known as the courtyard, is ventilated entirely by natural means. The copper of the facade is folded in the spots where air must stream through the interior spaces. A row of triangular skylights with light shields ensures air movement and sufficient daylight. The air movement was modelled using CFD analysis in order to provide the greatest degree of comfort inside the building but to prevent light scattering to the outdoors.

Architecture: KIRK
Client: Queensland Parks & Wildlife
Location: 141 Mon Repos Rd, Mon Repos QLD 4670, Queensland (AU)

Structural engineering: Arup
Landscape architecture: TCL
Geotechnics: Techtonic

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