Longbush Ecosanctuary Welcome Shelter architect Sarosh Mulla continues his update on the project's progress with this latest installment.
It’s surprisingly cool in a 1.8m hole on a scorchingly hot summer’s day in Gisborne. Being physically inside the earth is a nice way of getting to grips with a site for a piece of architecture. It changes your viewpoint on the terrain and makes you consider the subtleties of the topography.
Our team of volunteers has been digging holes, pouring concrete, assembling steelwork and putting in drainage lines at the Longbush Ecosanctuary for a week now. With the prep work done before Christmas, a small army of energetic and enthusiastic volunteers arrived on 4 January to begin the construction of the Welcome Shelter.
One of the biggest jobs has been preparing the foundations of the structure, which has resulted in many hours turning the sod with spades and shovels of every description. It was easy to see how fertile the ground was by the number of worms and insects that we relocated. Attracted by this bounty, several Kingfishers joined us. They stayed with us through the structural steel assembly too. Not perturbed by the rumble of the generator or the cranes, the kingfishers sat and watched as we made our nest.
Much of the Welcome Shelter was prefabricated in Auckland and as such the onsite construction has been remarkably quick. The steel for instance was delivered to site on 7 January and standing by the afternoon of 11 January.
Final details to the canopy roof were carried out onsite before it was lifted into its final position. In the days to come we will continue with the concrete pour and look towards the rigging of the tensioned fabric membrane that provides both shade and rain cover for visitors to the welcome shelter.
Over the next few weeks we will push on to complete the roof and begin the assembly of the timber structures below. Through that time we welcome all members of the public to join our team in creating a special place for all of us to enjoy this wonderful environment.