Sustainable rebuilding showcased at Murphy's CreekSustainable rebuilding showcased at Murphy's Creek

Sustainable rebuilding showcased at Murphy's Creek

In January 2011, floods caused widespread devastation across Queensland. The road to recovery is still ongoing and is long and arduous. For many people, the priority is to get homes rebuilt and business functioning again. At Murphy's Creek however, a community engagement project brought university students from QUT in Brisbane to rebuild an important piece of public heritage infrastructure.

The QUT Real Studio brings together students from Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design and Industrial Design to participate in trans-disciplinary practice-based projects. This is their first project. Green Cross Australia supported the project by providing valuable links to our industry partners through the Build it Back Green program.

"We were very pleased to assist Real Studio QUT through Build it Back Green to help raise awareness of the project and assist in sourcing some of the major suppliers to donate materials to support sustainable and resilient rebuilding practices," said Jeremy Mansfield, Green Cross Australia's Head of Development.

The students designed and rebuilt a facility used by the Bicentennial National Trail. It is used throughout the year by trail-riders who follow the historic coach, pioneer and stock routes, trails and country roads that run the length of Australia's east coast. The facility at Murphy's Creek includes a campsite, animal shelter, hitching rail, feed room, store room, first-aid room and amenities.

Where possible the Trail was designed as a "living history" of our country, and this philosophy has been mirrored in the building's design, which retains elements of the previous structure. The height of the retrieved river stone walls that wrap the building serve as a record of the height and power of the flood water, and many of the materials used in the structure were sourced from the site and the local region. Limited resources motivated an emphasis on recycled/reused materials, dematerialisation, generous sponsorship/donations and ingenuity ensuring the realisation of the project.

This is a good example of community engagement, with both practical and educational benefits, showcasing how built environments can be rebuilt after disasters. The project received two awards at the Australian Institutie of Architects 2012 Queensland Architectural Awards: Darling Downs Regional Commentation and William Hodgen Award for Building of the Year