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[ THE BRIEF ] The client’s brief called for “a building that will provide for multiple uses serving the ‘working’ maritime life of Ulladulla Harbour”. Therefore, is multiplicity the key? The building will accommodate 3 main uses: 1. a boat repair facility 2. a multi-purpose rental space 3. caretaker’s apartment During the preliminary design stage, element no.2 elaborated to the following, as advised by the clients: a. reception - 20m² b. port manager’s office - 15m² c. meeting/lunch room - 20m² d. tea room/kitchenette - 5m² e. store - 8m² f. public toilet + shower - 40m² g. service cupboard - 5m² There are 2 characteristics we can observe her. The rental space has a very public nature, while the caretaker’s apartment is very private. 2


[ ANALYSIS ] An analysis would prove futile. It was attempted nonetheless. A six-man group was assigned to study the site. We took into consideration zoning, circulation paths, weather conditions, community concerns, vegetation, historical aspects and so on. Such topical analysis was difficult to prove a point, much less prove a 4-dimensional holistic analysis, seeing that we would not be able to observe the site during summer. Much was left to consider. The challenge lay in the ability to construct a coherent fusion of all the considerations and being able to pick out certain topics at the same time. Even if an exhaustive thorough analysis were to be completed, the next challenge lies in how these considerations would affect the design. In short, it was safe to say that due to the multiplicity and unprogrammed nature of the site, it was difficult to predict or outline a pattern on how the harbour works. A different approach is necessary. And this would involve actually implementing the analysis directly into a built form or environment. Diagrammatic representation can only depict this much, but a built form can directly manifest a solution or reaction toward an analytical consideration. The next phase involves the evolution or metamorphosis of a built form in relation to a site analysis.




[ DESIGN PROCESS ] The design or rather, planning process starts off with a simple division of zones. The rentable areas would be the most public of zones, followed by the semi-privacy of the workshop + slipway and then the very private apartment of the caretaker. The rentable areas would also house public toilets and showers. Therefore, they would be positioned near the fornightly market’s site, facing the rest of the harbour establishment, the entrance and the fisherman’s co-op. On its side, with separation would be the workshop and slipway. It isn’t clear how these two would be programmed to work together yet. Further towards the east would be the caretaker’s apartment. For further privacy, the apartment would be elevated to have the same roof level as the 6m high roof of the workshop. A jetty would have to be positioned in between the rental areas and the slipway for yatchs to moor before bring pulled up the slipway. Considerations have been made to perhaps shade the rest of the western breakwater and accommodate MV Banks. This was scrapped. It wasn’t the client’s concern.


The design starts off as a tabula rasa, open to external forces to react upon it. A grid structure is introduced, making it easy to morph. Ulladulla’s harbour is a subtle, nonextravagant zone, encouraging breezy walks by the water and fishing at the piers. The design aims not to jeopardise this serenity, but to introduce an insertion that blends in, functions well as well as exhibit the magnificent beauty of timber, a local resource.


The grided tabula rasa is morphed along the z-axis first, pushing and pulling the surfaces like an undulating water surface. These forces come informed from a processed site analysis, highlighting its opportunities and constraints, like desirable heights, heritage restrictions, entry demarkation, accomodation for public access, caretaker’s apartment properties, community concerns, building regulations, safety concerns and so on. It is then morphed in the x-y axis based upon the same factors.




VASJ - The Variable Angle Steel Joint is a generic joint that can angle its 4 “arms” in different degrees, and will be manufactured using an advanced computer software used to cut and weld steel members.

The joints at the workshop’s long-span plywood box beams will involve steel joist hangers to hold secondary structures; handwood beams, for lateral support. Box beams are 700mm deep.

The roof will consit of the VASJ uniting 4 primary beams to a column. And from these beams, joist hangers hold the rest of the seconadary beams. This is repeated throughout, forming a rigid structual network.

Roof detail 20

The plywood box beam was a solution to the 12m clear span across the workshop, where work can be carried out freely around boats or yatchs, with enough room for a crane. These beams are 700mm deep with 150 x 50 mm blackbutt flanges inside. Spotted Gum plywood boards are attached to the flanges with screws. At the ends, the beams are attached with a larger piece of blackbutt and then bolted to a modified VASJ. The design of the box beam allows it to resist bending, tension and compressive forces efficiently. It is also considerably lighter than a hardwood equivalent and more versatile and easier to handle.



TURPENTINE (Syncarpia glomulifera) Use Marine piles / columns and timber decking (external). Availability Turpentine is readily available and commonly found from areas near Bateman’s Bay all the way to north Queensland. Properties Used mainly for marine applications, Turpentine barks possess considerable amounts of silica that resists marine organisms. Therefore, the barks are left on when piled underwater.


BLACKBUTT (Eucalyptus pilularis) Use Columns, beams & plywood frames. Availability Blackbutt is found in abundance in NSW and southern Queensland. It is a major species for building structure and plywood. Properties Blackbutt is hard and strong, achieving SD2 and Durability Class 1. Its heartwood is pale brown, with sapwood being significantly paler. It is hard to burn, and after bushfires, its butt will turn black, hence its name.


SPOTTED GUM (Corymbia maculata) Use Timber floors (internal), plywood (walls & box beams). Availability Spotted gum is readily available in NSW and Queensland, it is the main Australian species subject to high impact forces and is used for heavy engineering construction, making it very suitable for box-beam applications. Properties Its wavey grain contributes to its SD2 strength. High extractives in its sapwood makes it attractive to lyctids and termites. Must be treated accordingly.


RED IRONBARK (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) Use Considered application to replace blackbutt. But unfavourable because it is very hard to work with and only moderately available. Availability Found stretching from Sydney to Cairns and as deep as the western slopes. However, its availability is limited. Properties Very hard to work with because of density and interlocking grain. Mainly used for structural applications. Strong and extremely durable. Heartwood is dark red, hence its name. Not suitable for application in this project.


[ TIMBER SELECTION PROCESS ] The selection of timber used is done meticulously based on the species available in the native forest roughly 10km south of the site, managed by Forest NSW. A mill is located 2km to the north, while a workshop lies 1km to the north. With such facilities, it is possible to lower the total embodied energy to produce the timbers. It is possible to build the building entirely with native timbers. The most common timber in this forest is Spotted Gum, therefore used in abundance for timber decking and flooring. Bruce, our guide in the forest mentioned that an increased and proper use of local hardwood would increase its demand and encourage a bigger hardwood growth (after felling) and market here. Therefore softwoods such as Radiate Pine are not favourable. Timbers are also chosen for their properties; Turpentine for its marine qualities, Blackbutt for its structural strength and Spotted Gum for its versatality in plywoods and flooring. When piling underwater, the Turpentine must not be debarked so as to retain its resin contents and to prevent attacks from Teredo borers. However, this practice is not proven to work, and remains highly theoretical. It depends on how long the bark would remain attached to the pole. Nevertheless, its application in relationtion to wet and marine environments is reputable and will still be used in this project as piles in addition to external timber decking (which in this case doubles up as roofs). As for the rarity of these timbers, they remain fairly common near the Ulladulla regions, in native forests, where the ecosystem is preserved naturally, and the timbers harvested responsibly. To support these practices, this project will only use native forest timbers and not planation timbers. Timbers that are relatively less common, will not be used in the hope that it will increase its abundance naturally.

[ USE TIMBER TO ITS HIGHEST AND BEST USE! ] - Peter Graham Tables and grain charts from Information from Keith Bootle “Wood in Australia: Types, Properties and Uses Second Edition� 2005, NSW.







The Ulladulla Project