The Mon Repos Turtle Centre took out building of the year at the Central Queensland Regional Architecture Awards. Picture: Scott Burrows
The Mon Repos Turtle Centre took out building of the year at the Central Queensland Regional Architecture Awards. Picture: Scott Burrows

Turtle centre makes a splash at architecture awards

A BUNDABERG tourist attraction has taken out the top prize at this year's Central Queensland Regional Architecture Awards.

Judges at the Australian Institute of Architects' Regional Architecture Awards last night named the Mon Repos Turtle Centre as Central Queensland's Building of the Year.

The honour is officially known as the JW Wilson Award.

In a first for the Queensland Regional Awards that boasted an 81-year history, the ceremony was celebrated virtually.

The judges described the centre as a delight to visit and praised the use of coastal colours, textures and materials within the internal spaces and dimmed light at the entrance to enhance expectations.

They also applauded the use of sustainable, recyclable and long-wearing materials that could withstand corrosive sea air.

"The copper cladding and timber help tie the building into its setting naturally," the judges said. "As the landscaping matures, this facility will somewhat disappear, leaving elements to project onto pathways, enticing visitors to enter." The centre, located near Bargara, features a timber diagonal-grid superstructure for cyclone and climate-change resilience.

The building was designed by KIRK Architects and deployed an innovative crosshatched frame - similar to the plate of the loggerhead turtle.

The centre was built using renewable, locally sourced glued-laminated timber.

"The client requirements are creatively achieved throughout the facility, ensuring the turtles remain the hero," the judges said.

KIRK Director Richard Kirk said it was both a privilege and a challenge to craft the globally recognised research centre in the marine conservation area.