Located at Alex Wilkie Nature Reserve, a 2.56 hectare parcel of untouched heathland in Springvale South, this small new visitor centre has been designed around providing on-site facilities for bio-diversity education to nearby residents, school groups & early learning centres.
Surrounded by suburban housing, the site is one of the last remaining parcels of land in the city with natural vegetation that once covered the Melbourne sand-belt region.
Comprising staff areas, an interpretive education space, storage & amenities areas the architecture is low-slung in the natural heathland setting. The project is designed around a disguised elevation to the suburban streetscape, but when elevated to nature, it reveals, shapes & opens itself to the expansive natural surrounds. Two leaf-like roofing shapes carefully frame the natural vistas & provide passive shading with natural light & ventilation filtering into these internal spaces.
The layered sequence of internal & external spaces, varied with areas for interpretive learning presents a focus on issues of environmental sustainability & heritage - encouraging visitors and locals to further develop an understanding of this unique place and its natural surroundings.