Bana Yirrigi Wujal Wujal Arts and Cultural Centre
Bana Yirriji is situated on the Bloomfield River at Wujal Wujal in Far North Queensland. The place has great natural beauty.
Bana Yirriji has an art gallery, workshop and café with a trade training kitchen. They are productive, creative and inspiring spaces.
The spatial design of the building was carried out in conjunction with the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council representatives. The design supports the economic, training, employment and art and cultural needs of the community, as well as the funding allowance constraints, remote location, life cycle cost, maintenance, and tropical conditions.
The building won the regional Queensland Building Designers Association regional award for best public and institutional building and was a finalist in the Australian Building Design awards.
Funding and contracts
The project commenced with the Queensland government Q150 funding in 2009. A lump sum (design & build) contract included Thirkell Consulting Engineers & Building Design. The first land chosen by the Council was on a hill slope and required engineering solutions secure development approval from the Cairns Regional Council and the Douglas Iconic Panel. The project cost supplied by the contracted builder exceeded the funding. For a period the project struggled and was re-designed to reduce costs. The contracted builder did not deliver a proportionate and reasonable decrease in costs. Independent advise from a Quantity Surveyor confirmed this. Time was of the essence and the contract was brought to a close. Another site was chosen on land part of the DOGIT lease administered by the Wujal Wual Aboriginal Shire Council. The new location had positive costs implications as the cyclone rating requirements were also reduced.
Thirkell Consulting Engineers & Building Design was contracted to design and engineer the building by the WWASC within a tight time frame. The building contract was then tendered out by us and contractual matters administered by the Quantity Surveyor and Project Manager at WWASC. The building costs secured by tender was less than the funding budget and allowed for extras and increased contingencies.
The initial brief included a sketch layout provided by the project officer at WWASC. Our brief was to develop the sketch design and produce architectural, structural and civil engineering drawings and specification documentation.
The commercial kitchen and servery for the café were designed specified and fitted by Earle Church. All other interior design and specifications were carried out by Thirkell Consulting Engineers & Building Design.
Environmental Impact and Sustainability
The impact on the environment has been assessed in consideration of the health and well being of the builders, building users and the surrounding environment. The ‘green’ design features deliver a sustainable building for this tropical and remote environment as follows:
Planning and Passive Design
- The proposed building site was existing cleared land minimizing earthworks and further vegetation clearing.
- An existing nearby public toilet block is incorporated into the design and refurbished saving the project money.
- The building is orientated to make the best use of the constraints of the land and allows for passive design and natural ventilation. The southeast facing front elevation has a large verandah that also wraps around the east and north elevations. The western elevation is insulated.
- The roof has large 900mm and 1200mm eaves. The upper roofs of the design allow for high internal raked ceilings with clerestorey storm louvers to ventilate internal spaces.
- Large door openings have roller doors and bi-fold doors to maximize the openings when open.
- The roof sheeting is Colorbond steel with a thermatec coating and a light Dune colour. The light colour reflects the heat and reduces R values by 0.5.
- A thermal reflective insulation E-Therm, is a closed cell extruded polyethylene layered between foil. This insulation blanket will repel primarily radiant heat and is used in the roof and walls. This product also acts as a thermal break against the steel frame.
- The glass specified to external areas reduces heat transfer.
- The building is raised from the ground to allow for under-floor ventilation.
- Air conditioning is supplied to the kitchen; offices, training rooms, staff dining, and retail area. This represents about 50% of the usable floor area. Much of the usable floor area is open verandah essential for tropical living. The air-conditioning that has been specified is energy saving 6-star rating split system units.
- The hot water supply is a Rheem Commercial Heat Pump with electric booster enabling 80º C water for the commercial kitchen supply.
- The commercial kitchen has a number of energy saving areas, mostly concentrating on efficient hot water use through self turn off hot water tapware and automatic as needed wall mounted water boiler.
- Water efficient dishwasher that has the capacity to wash large pots and bowls. Refrigeration for the cold room efficiently employs a unit that only operates 18 hours of the day instead of 24 hours and saves energy by replacing cold air quickly. A refrigerated preparation cabinet has hinged lids rather than a door to retain cold air.
- Food heating is provided by infrared heating elements rather then heat lamps and servery displays are double glazed for temperature control and reducing condensation.
- 6,000-litre water tank plumbed into the laundry.
- All water fittings including taps and toilets to have a minimum WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme) 4-star rating.
- Uriden waterless urinals are specified for the men’s toilets.
Lifecycle Cost and Maintenance in a remote location
- The main structure is a steel frame. The steel is recyclable, lightweight, transportable and suitable for this remote location.
- Colorbond metal sheeting has used for the upper roof walls and walls to the rear and south east elevations. The metal is durable and requires little maintenance.
- The Dulux range of acrylic paints is easy to wash hard wearing surfaces. Paints will include mould inhibitor additives where appropriate.
- High quality protective coatings for the steel posts and frames, Dulux Aqaugalv is exceptionally hard wearing, resisting damage during transport.
- Floor surfaces throughout have been selected for high their high durability and easy maintenance. Bamboo floorboards have a very high Janka rating of 8 representing good resistance to dints and scratches. The floors through the workshop and amenities areas are ‘Granito’ commercial vitrified tiles. The tiles are highly resistant to chips although should this occur, the tile has the same colour through it, camouflaging the chip, unlike normal ceramic tiles that only have the colour to the surface. The Granito range comes with a coving allowing for easy cleaning. The ‘Tarkett’ commercial grade vinyl has a recycled content selected for the kitchen is hard wearing and easily cleaned.
Health and Wellbeing
- Paint: Dulux range of low VOC (toxic fumes) paints that include low VOC tints. The interior paints are EnvirO2 Low Sheen White Base with low VOC tint. The enamels for skirting and frames are the water-based ‘Aqua enamel’ High Gloss Low Odour. Decking timbers are coated with ‘Intergrain’ water-based low VOC coating. It was also specified that the Dulux EnviroSolutions systems were to be used by the painting contractor.
- Protective coatings for the steel posts and frames is Dulux Aqaugalv, a water born inorganic zinc silicate that is exceptionally hard wearing, resistant to damage during transport and suitable for coastal environments.
- Floor surfaces: Bamboo floorboards come from fast growth sustainable bamboo plantations. They are coated and cured at the factory VOC’s (toxic solvent fumes). They are very hard wearing requiring little energy to maintain. Floor tiles are long lasting and do not emit toxic gases. The Tarkett commercial vinyl has a recycled content of up to 36% and is recyclable at the end of its life. In all instances, it is specified that adhesives are low toxic, low VOC solutions.
- Cabinetry and joinery including toilet partitions: The Laminex Group ‘Green First’ range is specified. The medium density fibre board has very low VOC’s and is partly made of recycled timber.
The building was formally opened in 2012 and has established itself as cultural centre for the town and a key attraction for the region. Local artists are commissioned to sell their art and craft. The commercial café and trade training kitchen have provided skills training and earnings opportunities. The centre is a major asset to our community.