Berry Sports HallEdit profile
The centre is located on 60 hectares of lush rolling agricultural land, the majority used for grazing. The centre proper is composed of a collection of early to mid 20th century institutional buildings, within an established landscape of gardens and mature trees. Primary school children are the predominant users, engaging in various recreational activities. The brief was to design a simple robust multipurpose recreation hall within a tight economic constraint, providing an enclosed area for children during wet weather and evenings. The site was located on a gentle downward incline of farmland at the edge of the established built area. The building was cut into the hill, reducing its visible scale and grounding it into the landscape. The resulting building has a simple form and scale, similar in appearance to an agricultural farm shed. For longevity and robustness, heavier solid materials were used, relating to the adjacent site buildings of masonry and concrete. From the centre proper down to the new building, access can be gained by stairs or the accessible path, which gently cuts across the downward incline within an array of native grasses and trees. The path terminates at the building entry where the cutting has been extended to create a lush oval of grass, surrounded by pastoral grasses and a grove of evergreen trees, which are planted to screen the western sun. Roof rainwater is harvested to irrigate the landscaped areas. Prefabrication was utilised for a cost-effective high quality result, consisting in a combination of precast concrete walls, self-spanning composite roofing and structural steelwork. This enabled an accelerated program, outstanding quality and cost control. Hence, the finished building falls within the client’s original budgetary constraints. It was decided to transform the heavy off-form concrete by perforating the walls with an array of ‘starlight’ holes, thus giving an otherwise hard-line structure a playful edge and a new found lightness and life. Internally, the holes provide: • excellent daylight, in conjunction with the heat reducing skylights, reducing the need for artificial lighting, • abstracted views to the lush countryside, • shafts of sunlight which change in intensity and colour throughout the day. In the evening, the light source is reversed. The building itself becomes a glowing array of starlights reminiscent of the country sky above. A restrained pallet of materials and colours has been used to bring focus to the play of light created by the starlights. The concrete walls have been used to assist ventilation and comfort. In summer the higher section of the northern wall (above the ground) is used to create heat, which in turn produces a thermal chimney effect. The roof ventilators extract the high-level hot air, drawing cooler low-level air through the louvers. This heat is tempered by the deciduous trees planted along the north façade. In winter the roof vents can be closed to heat the hall. This, combined with effective roof insulation, maintains the building at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.