Rebuilding the Narbethong Community Hall after it was destroyed in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires presented an opportunity to create an improved space for the community and new typology for community buildings. The previous hall was a timber structure, built more than 50 years ago, lacking adequate facilities and not designed to capture the site's landscape views.
The community wanted the building to express the heritage of Narbethong, founded as a 'timber town'. Timber was the primary material used internally with the floor, ceiling and 4.2m high timber screen mullions, all reminiscent of the surrounding trees in the Black Spur Forest.
The new Narbethong Community Hall is designed to celebrate the history and uniqueness of Narbethong and its people as well as create an improved opportunity for income by offering a unique setting and design for events.
Due to the proximity of the bush reserve, the new hall has code requirements to meet a high Bush Fire Attack (BAL) level to ensure its longevity and to be able to be self-resistant in case of fire.
The outside of the building is made up of floor-to-ceiling double glazing wrapped in a bronze mesh fire resistant screen. Internally the primary material is local timber. The screen not only provides fire resistance but also shading, security and flyscreening. The timber floor, ceiling and curved screen are all expressions of Narbethong's history and the 4.2m high verticals of the timber screen are reminiscent of the beautiful trees found in the region, particularly the Black Spur Forest.
As opposed to the traditional hall and stage, the building is square in plan to encourage a variety of setup ways. The timber screen also creates a variety of internal spaces including nooks for small group meetings on the perimeter. The primary gathering space is located in the centre of the building with direct access to the outdoor space to the north via the large tilt up door which also acts as sun shading. Spaces can be individually heated and cooled.
Other features of the building include an externally shaded facade, recycled timber, double glazed high performance glass, water capture and reuse, low energy fittings and fixtures and solar panels. Sustainable features were mainly selected to reduce operating costs.
All of the professional services, including architecture, engineering and surveying, were provided pro-bono and most of the building and materials were delivered at a reducee.d cost. In addition many other suppliers have either donated or provided (at reduced costs) a range of top quality furniture and fittings to finish the hall to the highest standards.
The previous hall was a basic timber structure which lacked adequate heating and its facilities were limited and outmoded. It was also sited with its entry fronting toa the busy Maroondah Highway and was not designed to capture the beautiful landscape aspects of the site. The new community hall is now a highly transparent building that provides outward views to the surrounding landscape, and allows residents and passing traffic to view the interiors.
IDEA Public Space Award, Highly Commended 2012
RAIA National Public Architecture Award 2012
RAIA (VIC) Public Architecture Award 2012
CRIMSAFE, 0.9mm STAINLESS STEEL MESH
VIRIDIAN NEW WORLD GLASS
LOCKS & DOOR HARDWARE
ECOMAXX, BREATHE EASY FREE STANDING WOODSTOVE
ACOUSTIC PANEL LINING
AUTEX, QUIETSPACE ACOUSTIC FABRIC
STEEL ROOF CLADDING SYSTEM
STRAMIT BUILDING PRODUCTS, SPEED DECK ULTRA