At Tectvs, we believe architecture should reach as wide an audience as possible. Over the decades, we have chosen projects that have tested our ability to translate our design philosophies to communities beyond the confines of the cityscape. Regional development is necessary for Australia's States to survive in increasingly competitive times. Projects have emerged from a willingness on both ends to seek the best solutions and draw on each others relevant strengths and skills.
The harsh and remote eco-tourism destination of Seal Bay is one of the few places in the world where people can walk at close quarters among animals in the wild. Each year 100,000 visit the Kangaroo Island coastal wildlife sanctuary and its sole amenity, the Seal Bay Visitor Centre. At peak periods up to 1000 people a day use the Visitor Centre’s facilities and seek out information on the local wildlife and environs. Tectvs was engaged by National Parks and Wildlife SA to design an upgrade of the Visitor Centre that maintained its environmental integrity while improving its operational efficiency and the visitor experience, and better protecting the physical structure. It would project a new, confident identity and highlight the park’s core roles in wildlife conservation, education and interpretation.
Tectvs’s approach was to consolidate and refine the existing built infrastructure to improve interpretive displays, retail areas, visitor flow and external appearance. It maintained and expanded on the existing architecture, materials and finishes to ensure the built forms remained sympathetic to the natural environment of Seal Bay. Timber finishes matched the existing and, where possible, were sourced already weathered; paving was concrete, glazing set in timber frames and XSE decking used over existing pergolas. The interiors featured polished concrete, organic-base paints, limestone tiles, eco-ply and galvanised steel. Tectvs enclosed the existing breezeway area to expand the retail/interpretive display area, and rationalised the Visitor Centre internal layout to form one large space, providing for flexibility in interpretive/retail displays and multifunctional use of the interior. A stronger entry statement with new signage was designed to draw visitors into a free-flowing configuration that interacted with the displays and merchandising; a new, separate exit promoted circulation through the retail area and eliminated foot-traffic bottlenecks. The design improved counter, administration and storage efficiencies and staff amenity. It also upgraded services, and added a layer of environmental protection by covering existing pergolas to form verandas around the building. The upgrade was completed in 2001.
The existing site of the Whyalla Special School comprised a mixture of semi-permanent, transportable buildings originating from the mid-1970ʼs. Tectvs was given the task to start fresh on the site to create an exciting and safe learning environment. The choice to redevelop from scratch was chosen to avoid long term issues regarding the costly removal of asbestos from existing structures - and given the delicate nature of the client - enabled the project to adopt a safety-first approach. Therefore, the project brief focused on creating both a sense of place within the community and a learning environment that would allow for increased student growth. A simple, safe, cost effective structure was required to serve as a gathering place for families and the community.
To create a sense of place, bricks were cleverly used as a repeatable yet decorative element. Finishes and colour selections brought indigenous aspects into the design that were extended to the surrounding landscape, engaging various sustainability principles. The school now presents itself as a striking place of learning within the community.
Cleland Wildlife Park is one of South Australia’s most popular tourist destinations, especially with overseas visitors seeking the up-close-and-personal experience with some of the iconic life-forms of Australiana. Popularity, encouraged by ever-cheaper travel, has its downside: visitor traffic wears out destinations – physically and conceptually. Such was the case of Cleland Wildlife Park Visitor Centre by the late 1990s. Tectvs was asked to design an upgrade to revitalise the centre; to successfully assess and balance the often conflicting interests of people, wildlife and an eco-sensitive environment.
Tectvs managed to apply environmentally sustainable design principles in meeting the expectations and needs of visitors and operators alike. At this time, most of the major South Australian wildlife destinations still suffered from the Victorian-era legacy of the ‘turnstile and freak show’ approach to their customers. The redevelopment of the Cleland centre was the first of a number of projects Tectvs undertook for National Parks and Wildlife SA to treat visitors to a more ‘human’ experience in every aspect of their contact with the centre – right from the point of entry, through to the way merchandise and food was displayed and sold, to the staging of the interpretive experience. At Cleland, as with the other National Parks and Wildlife sites, total shutdown for the duration of the redevelopment was simply not an option. The project management challenge was to work around this constraint without compromising either delivery program or budget. The early influence of the ‘slow’ approach to sustainability through project and process can be found here. Think global, act local and others will follow.
Port Lincoln Fire Station is one of 17 regional stations operated by the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS). Tectvs was asked to stage the construction to enable the station to become operational – initially part-time – as soon as possible. It split the building into three components: the appliance bays and canopies, a services corridor, staff services. Each was separated to form independent corridors of services, allowing different sections to grow and contract without impacting on the others. The design of the building form developed from concepts of protection and human spirit associated with the fire-fighting service. Images of strength and durability were translated into robust forms contrasted with refined elements and detailing. A butterfly roof was set above the colonnade glazing to create the impression the great expanse of roof was being held up by the glass and, at night, that it was hovering impossibly above the vehicle bay.
Stuart Range Outback resort is a mainstay of Cooper Pedy. To capitalise on increased destination tourism, Tectvs has been asked to transform the predominantly caravan based accomodation into a precinct worth of the name 'outback resort'. Presently, the project has a completed reception area and pizza bar, with further stages of development unfolding throughout the year.