Architect Sarosh Mulla recently designed and built the Longbush Ecosanctuary Welcome Shelter with the help of 88 volunteers—the largest and most diverse group of volunteers to ever build a piece of public architecture in New Zealand. The minimalist timber structure serves as an environment education space in New Zealand’s 120-hectare Longbush Ecosanctuary, a haven for rare and endangered flora and fauna. The yearlong project was made possible thanks to a passionate volunteer group and charitable contributions, including the shelter’s construction materials.
The handsome and low-budget Welcome Shelter was constructed using very simple construction techniques. The building was designed to sit lightly on the landscape and use minimal architectural resources. The Welcome Shelter promotes active stewardship and conservation of the environment and its facilities are free of charge to visiting school groups, ecologists, and tourists.
The Welcome Shelter comprises three structures comprising a demonstration platform, ecologist’s workshop, washroom with toilet, outdoor classroom, a presentation platform, and an amphitheater. An open lawn for group work is located at the center of the three enclosures, which frame stunning views of the valley landscape below. A large steel and fabric canopy protects the spaces from the elements.