2014 Inception Award | Kieren Guerrero

Sanctum by Kieren Guerrero from Monash

With the potential for severe consequences to occur and the impacts of natural disasters to escalate not only within Australia but also around the world, and have negative human implications within short to prolonged time periods, how can the integration of interior architecture into a community lifestyle mitigate the effects of a bushfire crisis pre, present and post event?

Climate change has long been acknowledged to be an ever-increasing global concern and with the growing population comes continuous urban development that dramatically influence the rate of emissions being expelled into the atmosphere, ultimately impacting the environments biodiversity. Unfortunately despite changes made by the Australian Government and the United Nations to decrease climate impact, it has nonetheless come too late. It has then become important that these climatic changes are not only looked on as a response, but also integrated into our everyday lifestyle and propose a new type of building response. This project shouldn’t be looked at as a solution, rather as a direction as to where interiors should be strategized and considered within events that are fast approaching to be as common as rain or sunshine.

From precedents stemming from Aldo Rossi’s Architecture of the City to strategic program planning like military bases, Sanctum operates within a flexible skeleton that plays with an interchangeable program adaptive to community requirements and natural changes. The design uses 6 motifs – protection against the elements, direction for those in a panicked mindset, navigation for information, temporary accommodation, integration between fire, lifestyle and building and the idea of rejuvenation.

All these motifs are achieved through the final proposal’s main design systems:

1. Floors and walls act like compass points and navigational tools that are constantly informing visitors which direction to go and where the fires are situated within the surrounding mountain ranges.

2. The walls defence mechanisms include fire retardant materials and a sprinkler system allows the building to separate itself from the fire surrounding it by clouding the interiors in a mist of water.

3. The transformation of the interior surfaces where the site needs to accommodate a large influx of users through retractable floor surfaces that reveal pockets of upholstered surfaces for inhabitation.

All in all, Sanctum is a responsive direction from previous catastrophic bushfire events that took place within the Marysville area, namely the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, and will continue to take place within these areas in the future, it has then come to attention that interiors need to act as a catalyst for transformation and adaptability and well integrated within community lifestyle and these types of strategies and planning to become a new vernacular to the way we design.