The NZ$ 2.2 million Visitor Centre is designed to fit in with the natural environment with minimum impact. It overlooks the Ecosanctuary itself with stunning views over Otago’s rugged Silver Peaks and the beautiful Waitati Valley.
Viewed from a distance the architecturally designed building doesn’t impose on the skyline, and its colours and materials have been chosen to blend with the landscape. The angle of the atrium windows reduces reflection and bird strike.
The building features timbers such as macrocarpa milled from old farm trees in the Ecosanctuary, rimu recycled from a town hall in a neighbouring settlement, and plywood made from sustainably grown plantation trees. Recycled shipping containers have been used in the building.
Image courtesy of Otago Daily Times
We collect, store and use rain water. Our waste water is treated to a high standard then used to irrigate plants. Even rain and spring water from the hillside is filtered through natural planting to holding ponds for use on site.
Just like plants, the Visitor Centre makes the most of the sun. The large double-glazed windows face north for maximum sunlight and the concrete floor holds heat from the sun. Solar panels heat the water with heat pumps used as a back-up. Good use of natural light reduces the need for artificial lighting and timber blinds limit glare. Artificial lighting and heating are energy efficient.
We hope that by practicing good environmental habits we will encourage our visitors to do so in their lives and homes.