Unique in design, the building features three hipped roof forms that grow in height toward the lake’s edge - almost like a hipped roof mini ‘Sydney Opera House’ in rural New South Wales.
Our inspiration for the roof came from expansive farmhouses seen from a distance on rural roads throughout the Urana region and largely designed by notable Corowa Architect A.C. Macknight.
The brief for this project was to create a landmark facility for the small rural township of 350 people. Within the region, projects of this scale and budget we're typically delivered to a Design and Construct model with little community input or aspiration to deliver something specific to the place.
The result would typically be a building that could be built anywhere in Australia or the World. In the initial stage of the project, we were engaged directly by the community (rather than local government) to help them define their brief and gain government funding to deliver their dream.
Functionally, the brief called for the delivery of a 100-person function centre, meeting / multipurpose room and community gym. Underlying the need for these uses was to deliver something for of hope and ambition to lift the spirits of community members after years of drought.
Within the building are three large community spaces that each have their own unique vaulted ceilings. The function room features a cylindrical void that meets the raked ceiling of the roof over and panoramic views to the lake and landscape.
Our involvement directly with the community ensured that we could include them on the journey of delivering a large public asset - from concept sketch to construction. We are passionate about building regional social capital to delivering meaningful public projects - educating and informing the community about everything it takes to bring something out of the ground. This project has captured the community’s hearts and their complete sense of ownership of the project has led to them applying to become the operators of the building.
The building is formed of three connected rooflines inspired by expansive farmhouse roofs that hover on the sunbaked horizon. Inspiration came from the work of the notable Architect A.C. Macknight who from the 1890's to 1940's designed a majority of region as farmhouses with massive rooflines becoming a signatures style of his.
From a distance you can pick a Macknight house on the horizon. Underlying this inspiration was the reality that builders in the region love hipped roofs, farmers hate box gutters and the need to meet an extremely limited budget.
The form concept developed with the idea of one square footprint, capped with a hipped roof and 1000mm eave. The next square would increase in size to the previous eave line and add another 1000mm of eave. For the third square the same equation was repeated. With the building line defined, the three community spaces were tucked in alongside amenities and covered outdoor spaces.
This design approach results in three uniquely but proportionally scaled roof forms that in succession change in visual scale from various vantage points.
The changing scale of each roof animates the building as you move towards and around the site – shrinking, revealing, expanding, and contracting. From one angle only the smallest of the forms can be seen but within a few meters walk the additional two roof lines peep out from behind it. It is only when one passes circulates around the building that the true scale is revealed.