The Avantha Rainforest Recreation and Education Centre will be used to raise awareness of the natural world and the contribution that good forest stewardship can make to society.
Arkitrek are currently designing a renovation and extension to the site’s existing bulidings to include; a more comfortable conference room, reception area, offices, dormitories, kitchen, dining area, break out space and courtyard. It will be open to schools and the public and is accessible for the disabled.
The main attraction to this area is the Muaya Waterfall and the hiking trails through pristine forest that all start from the center. At 500m altitude, the cool night air makes the area suitable for camping and a home for sub-montane flora and fauna. The design exploits the unique characteristics of this site; a gateway and transition space to the pristine forest behind.
The structure of the new building uses a light weight steel frame with long spans On this frame wall screens of bamboo woven panels are applied for good ventilation and an impressive translation of traditional design. This method was used before at the Mantanani Kindergarten. The bamboo weaving will be done by local Murut people, providing a source of income for them. The motifs used will be the local Murut’s patterns and the construction has been designed so that they can be easily replaced in the future.
While the existing building is maintained using the original wooden structure, only a few modifications done in terms of opening the existing wall to get more interesting views and to provide sliding windows to the dormitories.
Another key element in the design is the construction of a gabion wall along rear elevation which will act as retaining walls and barrier between natural area and the building. Where possible, openings in the gabion wall are created to frame views of the forest or focal points for the visitors. Low walls are also created as a seating. This ‘green wall’ will be filled using stones collected from the surrounding area.
When finished, this Centre will provide opportunities for nature based outdoor recreation and education activities.