META Fishing Museum + Community Centre

2011 -
Llico, Chile

Fire, flood, earthquake, tsunami, cyclone, hurricane, landslide, drought.

We shelter from all that Nature produces. Our constructed environment is our response to the reality of our human vulnerability to the natural world. After ten years of drought half of Australia has been flooded. In one month floods were joined by fire and cyclones to destroy property and take lives. In Chile earthquakes have again rocked the country on the anniversary of the 2010 tragedy. In Brazil recent floods have destroyed whole villages.

We shelter from all that Nature produces and in doing so celebrate the defiance of the human spirit and our determination to persevere in the face of destruction. Our building in Llico is proudly stoic. Its concrete vault hunkers down to ground and challenges the ocean to give it her best shot. The concrete vault is a nurturing protective shape that shelters the outdoor areas to the north and south as well as the fishing museum/community centre itself. It is deliberately sited at the west end of the proposed boardwalk to act as a destination point. It therefore terminates a run of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops along with fishing and boating facilities that can be constructed over time abutting the boardwalk. The vault is relieved in part by circular skylights to the north and a slice that aligns with the south entrance. The vault would be raw concrete inside with an outer skin of black butynol making it a simple but dramatic insertion on the waterfront. The boardwalk and the forest behind oppose the ocean in terms of scale and provide parallel lines of defence against the sea and the wind. Spaces between the forest and the boardwalk can be given over  to community activities – markets, fetes, play grounds while the area adjacent the main road and boat launch can be set aside for cars, boats trailers and so on.

The fishing museum/community centre could also have its own address on the south (leeward) side of the boardwalk. This creates an area for the community to congregate with a sheltered outdoor platform that could serve as a stage for performances, an altar for outdoor church services or seating for an outdoor cinema all with the forest as a backdrop. The detailed design of the sea wall could include beach access steps and seating nooks. All of the outdoor areas including the boardwalk could be recycled timber and the interior of the centre would be a simple palette of concrete, steel and timber together with white surfaces for exhibition and display purposes. A central store room including furniture storage enables the multipurpose space to be re-configured as required. The office gets the sea view while an ante room to WC’s provides a small space for community noticeboards and rest area for the elderly.