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Orokonui Ecosanctuary goes to Venice

Orokonui Ecosanctuary goes to Venice

Orokonui Ecosanctuary volunteer, John Chrystall, felt proud to be a New Zealander when he visited the Architectural Biennale in Venice recently. The Biennale exhibition included a model of Orokonui Ecosanctuary’s Visitor Centre designed by Tim Heath. The national anthem played in the background while exhibits were displayed on ceiling suspended, cloud-like forms.

Organised by the New Zealand Institute of Architects the exhibition was titled Future Islands and was designed to demonstrate the diversity of architectural practice in contemporary New Zealand. Designers also wanted to illustrate their belief that architecture has an important speculative role – while many of the projects represented in the exhibition have been built, others were always intended to be purely speculative.

The Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitor Centre, built by Naylor Love, was completed in 2009 and won the Southern Architecture award for public architecture in 2010. From the air the building looks like a fantail wing representative of Orokonui’s birdlife. The building’s sustainable features include water harvesting, passive solar heating, natural lighting and ventilation, and use of recycled materials including shipping containers – all in keeping with the ethos of the Ecosanctuary. Since then the building has impressed thousands of visitors and helped Orokonui win its 5 star Qualmark Enviro Green award and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

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