Chum Creek, Healesville
FMSA was engaged by Wesley College to design a new environmentally sustainable learning centre and ‘mess hall’ at the Chum Creek Camp near Healesville after a fire destroyed the original mess hut centre.
This project was the winning proposal for the design of an environmentally sustainable rural education and accommodation facility for Wesley College. The innovative, user-friendly design and willingness to engage with the school community, including board members, administrative and teaching staff was a key factor in the success of this project.
Located at the centre of the camp, the ‘Mess Hut’ Learning Centre is the central gathering place for students. The centre houses the ‘mess hall’ and a large flexible space for social and educational uses in addition to essential amenities including kitchen, storage, first aid office, drying room and large outdoor deck overlooking the landscaped ‘quadrangle’.
Envisioned as more than a traditional educational facility, the building incorporates sustainable principles, materials and systems that allow the building to become a hands on learning tool in the ‘earth education’ curriculum delivered at the Camp.
Every component of the building was analysed for its ability to reduce energy and water consumption and minimise internal and external pollution. Core principles of sustainability and environmental conscious design ideas incorporated into the facility include:
- Sustainable principles including orientation, solar access, wind protection, water collection, passive ventilation
- Passive climate control via solar chimneys and passive evaporative cooling to provide an optimum comfort throughout the building.
- The use of low embodied energy materials, recycled & sustainable production materials
- Efficient building systems such as double glazing and heat storage for temperature control in building mass, have been fully incorporated.
- Performance monitoring as a learning tool including water collection levels, heating/cooling and ventilation
- Site excavation works planned & managed to preserve natural habitats
- Waste water biologically treated via mini ecosystems to produce by product for irrigation
- Establish landscaping to add thermal mass & support indigenous flora and fauna
The buildings sustainable systems are designed to invite user participation for their management. School students manipulate the building’s heating, cooling and ventilation systems by operating louvres, turning on the water drip system and controlling awnings all of which demonstrate how natural systems can be implemented by the use of simple physics and geometry with intelligent design.
The Chum Creek Campus is a project that demonstrates how FMSA is able to adapt a creative design to meet the designated needs of a client and promote an awareness of environmental issues among young people.
The vision for the ‘Mess Hut’ was to create a building that possessed three key elements - environmental sustainability, advanced educational possibilities for students and direct connection with the landscape.