Minifie van Schaik Architects
MvS Architects
Edithvale Seaford Wetlands Discovery Centre


client:
Melbourne Water
date:
2012
location:
Edithvale Road, Victoria, Australia
map:
link to google maps
link:
Melbourne Water website



The Edithvale Seaford Wetlands Discovery Centre, for Melbourne Water, is perched overlooking the Edithvale wetlands, a remnant of the once extensive and ecologically rich Carum Carrum swamp - now recognised by a RAMSAR listing for being of international significance.

The discovery centre provides an interpretive experience for visitors to understand the vital and complex history and workings of this urban wetland in general, and its role in the water-cycle in particular.

This centre stands pelican-like above the wetlands rendering it safe from flood waters. A long ramping approach allows the visitor to journey upwards for a view the flora and fauna beyond. Entry is through an airlock comprised of a sculpted internal water storage unit.

The interior contains an interpretive gallery offering views of the wetlands through panoramic windows. The glazing has been carefully designed to minimise vision into the building, and raked to ensure that external reflections are always of the ground, never the sky lest birds terminally confuse reflection for reality.

Windows in the floor of the display centre allow a greeting with the phragmites and diverse wildlife within the fenced wetlands boundary which stretches beneath the conical legs of the building.

Solar panels, heat-pumps, floor-grate supply and passive extraction, double glazing, motion controlled lighting, high levels of insulation and thermal mass together allow building operations to approach carbon neutral. Combined with a composting sewerage system and an internal water storage, the building will attract an equivalent of 6 Green Stars.

The Edithvale Seaford Wetlands Discovery Centre was awarded an Australian Institute of Architects award for Public Architecture in June 2012, a Master Builders Association Award in August 2012 and the Premier's Design Award in September 2012.

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Photographs by Peter Bennetts.