HMAS Creswell Griffith House, Jervis Bay Building, Royal Australian Naval College

HMAS Creswell Jervis Bay : Griffith House

HMAS Creswell Jervis Bay design by BVN Architecture, Australia

27 Aug 2011

HMAS Creswell – Griffith House

Location: Jervis Bay, south of Sydney, NSW, Australia

Design: BVN Architecture

HMAS Creswell - Jervis Bay Building, Griffith House

HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay

Griffiths House is an accommodation building built on the site of HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay, established in 1915 as the location for the Royal Australian Naval College.

HMAS Creswell Griffiths House Griffiths House Jervis Bay HMAS Creswell Jervis Bay
photos from BVN Architecture

It provides short term accommodation for Officers of the RAN who are at HMAS Creswell to undertake leadership and management training, and consists of 32 single bed units with shared ensuite and deck facilities. HMAS Creswell has major national heritage significance and is located on the Commonwealth Heritage List which is a register of the National Estate and is classified by the National Trust of NSW.

The site is characterised by white washed weatherboard buildings set out either in a formal manner around manicured lawns and gardens (the training precincts) or in a more organic fashion following natural contours and surrounded by native bushland (the accommodation precincts and married quarters).

The new building sits in an ambiguous zone, alongside buildings inappropriate to their location and climate (1970’s 3 storey face brick accommodation blocks), yet not sitting amongst the original graceful timber and terracotta tiled building stock of Creswell.

As such this new building has determined its own built language, in an economic and robust manner whilst being sympathetic to its environment. It utilises the weatherboard cladding and vertical proportioned windows of the original building stock and picks up the gentle curved timber ‘bell’ detail typical in the decorative verandah elements of the original buildings, yet expresses the floor structure within a grid like pattern to reduce the scale of the three level elevations.

It employs simple yet highly effective sustainable devices to create a comfortable internal environment without the need for mechanical ventilation. It is a reverse brick veneer construction which provides thermal mass to the building, with a load bearing brickwork internal skin, and lightweight ventilated weatherboard external skin.

The corridors are connected over 3 levels with ventilated skylights and voids, bringing natural light and cross ventilation to the common spaces, an initiative which required a fire engineered solution. The bedrooms are planned with a shared outdoor deck, which allows all bedrooms to be cross ventilated and in addition provides natural ventilation to the bathrooms. Rainwater capture is collected in storage tanks located underground.

The lapped white boards across the majority of building surface, the open boards over stair windows and verandahs, the curved ‘bell’ at each floor level, and the deep reveals provided by the shared decks creates a play of light and shade. This restrained composition allows the single material across the building’s facade to be modulated with texture, depth and interest.

HMAS Creswell NSW Griffiths House NSW HMAS Creswell Griffiths House NSW
photos from BVN Architecture

HMAS Creswell Jervis Bay – Building Information

HMAS Creswell – Practice Team
Abbie Galvin (Project Principal)
Christian Wild (Project Director)
Susanne Mayer (Architect)
Craig Burns (Architect)
Daniel Londono (Architect)
Marco Montevecchi (Architect)
Michael Persch (Architect)
Benjamin Donohoo (Graduate Architect)
Kim Humphries (specifications)

HMAS Creswell – Company Credits
Structural Engineer: TTW
Mech, Elec, Comms, Acoustics: AECOM
Civil + Hydraulic: ACOR
Fire Engineer: ARUP
BCA: Gardner Group
Bushfire: EcoLogical
Cost Planner: Wilde and Woollard
Managing Contractor: Hansen Yuncken
Builder: Edwards Construction
Photographs: Shoalhaven Studios and Christian Wild (BVN)

HMAS Creswell – Griffith House images / information received 050511

6 Jun 2011

BVN Architecture – Navy Accommodation Wins

BVN Architecture Award, Australia

Griffiths House a new residential building at the Royal Naval College, HMAS Creswell on the shores of Jervis Bay won a Multiple Housing Award for its architects BVN Architecture at the Australian Institute of Architects, ACT Awards held on 4 June 2011.

According to the awards jury ‘this officer accommodation is an example of responsive design producing a distinctive and particular identity within an established landscape and heritage environment.’

The site is of great environmental interest with strong heritage links for the Navy. It is on the Register of the National Estate as a site of heritage significance and is also on the Commonwealth Heritage List. Griffiths House seeks to re-establish a connection with the earlier, original, white weatherboard clad cottages and larger public buildings characteristic of the Naval site.

As the jury noted, ‘the design adopts and references key heritage details, such as the gentle curved weatherboard ‘bell’ shape at each floor level, and mixes them with contemporary devices such as a double height space to signal entry, and ‘louvred’ open boards across verandahs and stairwells to break down the scale and articulate the façade in a dynamic way.’

The project was also commended for its environmental approach with, ‘shared decks between rooms allowing natural ventilation to bathrooms and bedrooms,’ and the use of ‘reverse brick veneer that provides thermal mass and lightweight ventilated weatherboards contribute to simple but effective sustainability measures.’

This is the latest architecture award BVN has received in recent years for Defence projects, including the Robin Boyd Award for Lavarack Barracks, the Sulman Award for RAAF Richmond and the Interior Design Public Buildings Award for Puckapunyal Chapel. This makes BVN the only architecture studio that is consistently receiving notable architecture and design prizes for Defence projects.

‘It is possible to reach a high level of design excellence whilst still meeting the Defence requirements of robust, cost effective buildings,’ said Ms Abbie Galvin, BVN Principal responsible for the Griffith House design.

‘These facilities are the workplaces and training grounds for the current and next generation of Defence personnel and it is important that they incorporate innovative and advanced thinking to support these functions,’ she said.

Griffiths House now becomes eligible for a National Architecture award that will be announced by the Australian Institute of Architects in late October.

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