Longbush Ecosanctuary is ‘an ark in the bush’ – a predator-controlled safe haven for New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. Located just nine kilometres out on Gisborne on the East Coast of the North Island, Longbush is home to some of the country’s most treasured plants and bird species. The regenerating native bush is alive with birdsong, including tui, bellbirds, fantails, kingfishers, whiteheads and kereru.
The Welcome Shelter
The ecosanctuary is open for visitors and is attracting conservationists, school groups, and the general public in increasing numbers. The Welcome Shelter, designed by talented young architect Sarosh Mulla, will be an ‘outdoor classroom’, with a viewing tower to help visitors explore Longbush from a different perspective. The innovative design is based around a large floating roof above three wooden ‘boxes’—home to a composting toilet, water, the lookout tower and secure storage.
Holmes Consulting Group provided (pro bono) the structural designs and documentation for the canopy and research pods, working with the Longbush team to create a structure that was simple to construct. Designs needed enough tolerance to allow for human error—an important point since the Shelter was erected by a volunteer team of engineers, architects and other contributors. We were able to design the Welcome Shelter by re-purposing steel donated by another sponsor, working with the constraints of the steel provided. We also optimised the timber designed to NZS3604 standard, to ensure the most economical system for all of the building components.
When construction got underway, several of our people headed down to Longbush to help oversee the construction, as well as lending a hand with some good old fashioned labour: clearing the site, digging trenches and building manuka screens. The Longbush project is a great example of Holmes Consulting Group people providing expert technical services, as well as getting their hands dirty with the heavy lifting. Working with a collaborative team of more than 80 sponsors, this is an environmental and social contribution to be proud of.