A new building for Frontier Services staff in Alice Springs was officially opened on Saturday. It has been named Centenary House, in recognition of the centenary of the Australian Inland Mission (AIM) this year, and features a unique sustainable design.
Minister for Regional Development and Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson MLA officially opened the building, located on the same site as the Old Timers Aged Care Service. The celebration took place on the verandah of the new buidling with Frontier Services staff, Board Members, supporters of Frontier Services, Old Timers residents as well as representatives from the three companies involved in the design and construction, Hodgkison Architects, BCA Engineers and Asbuild.
Centenary House will be a base for senior Territory managers and staff involved in aged and community care programs. The community will also have access to a large training room.
Frontier Services National Director Rosemary Young said planning on the building began some time ago when the Board of Frontier Services set the challenge of completing an environmental project in the centenary year.
“We looked for something we could do that would be an example of what’s possible in remote Australia,” Ms Young said. “With more and more sustainable development in the Centre, we are delighted to be a part
of this movement towards green, energy conscious architecture and construction.”
Built to the standard of a 4.5 Green Star rating, sustainable features are incorporated into all elements of the building.
“There is an indoor/outdoor working space with large opening windows, it has a beautiful north facing aspect, it maximises natural ventilation, makes the most of natural light and uses recycled materials,” Ms Young said. “We have made careful use of texture and colours so that the building is consistent with the natural landscape.”
The barn-shaped building minimises energy use with reverse brick veneer which absorbs heat in the summer and reflects it back during winter, while solar panels and water tanks will make use of natural resources. It was positioned on the block to make use of the existing gum trees for shade.
Ms Young said the building was a significant investment for Frontier Services underlining its commitment tocontinue to serve the community in Alice Springs and the Territory.
“It has long been a dream to have a home for the coordination of services in the community. Finally, we have a high quality facility not only for our own staff but one that will also be accessible by community.”
In her speech, Ms Anderson acknowledged the work of Frontier Services, adding that she was not afraid to grow old knowing Frontier Services was there.
Rev Terence Corkin, General Secretary of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church, gave a blessing for the new building.
Green design is not totally new to the organisation or Alice Springs. In 1926, the AIM opened a nursing hospital, Adelaide House in Alice Springs, which included various features such as insulated ceilings, natural ventilation and wrap around verandas designed to provide relief from the harsh environment. It was an engineering feat for the time. After serving the inland for 60 years, Adelaide House is now a museum.
Ms Young added that many of the original buildings in the community were designed to cope with the extremes in the environment.
“Today we are going back to the wisdom of that early design,” she said.
Photo captions: Frontier Services Chair Jan Trengove, Alison Anderson MLA and National Director of Frontier Services Rosemary Young.