Architecture

Visitor's information centre and Museum for Kanneliya Rainforest Sri Lanka

Nisali Siriwardene
SLIIT
Sri Lanka

Project idea

The project is intended to generate architectural solutions to address the climate, ecology, and sustainability-related issues. In this project, we need to link the natural environment with the built environment. This is an environmentally sensitive project. Therefore, it has to focus on how to create a built environment that blends in with the natural environment without any harm. The total floor area of the project should be around 500 Sq.m (5000 Sq.t). Site extent is given as 1000 Sq.m (10000 Sq.f)

This project is a Visitor's information centre & museum for the Kanneliya forest reserve, Sri Lanka. As the reception and experience centre at the entrance of the forest reserve, I hope to awaken the Visitors’ keen perception of nature before they enter to the forest. This museum will consist of;
1) Museum of Forest Service History-This is a collection of artefacts, documents, and memorabilia, untold stories relating to the history and culture of the Forest Service. Awareness of conservation methodologies and dedication towards how to protect nature. Ultimately it inspires the younger generation to safeguard nature. Wildlife conservation & awareness.
Objective- Awareness of conservation methodologies and dedication towards how to protect the nature. Ultimately to inspire younger generation to safeguard the nature.
2) Natural Sciences
Facilitating education about ecology & zoology by showcasing artefacts, published research papers, photographs and through technology. This will be a plus point for the researchers who are visiting the forest reserve.
Goals-
This centre aims to become a catalyst to promote wildlife conservation & awareness and to build a prominent landmark building in the country towards getting attention to the forest and to protect.


Problem identification -
The proposed site is the first place you see when you enter the Forest Reserve. What was most disturbing and disappointing to see were the buildings and the roads which never looked appropriate in the forest. Authentically it never resembled like it was built to blend with the green environment. These buildings were completely different to the reality of what is experienced inside the jungle. (Can we build a building that at least represent the part of the reality?) The above-built environment which destroys the natural harmony and peoples’ behavior which eliminates the Balance of nature clearly shows us we as humans create these problems. When you enter the reserve it gives another feeling of an Urban Context. So it is clear that there is a lack of a proper entrance. The neglected information center was a serious matter of concern there was hardly anything of value that was interesting and exciting for us to see and learn. Therefore young people seem reluctant to go to information centers Most of the visitors who visit the Kanneliya forest reserve are not aware of its ecosystem and values. To protect and conserve Kanneliya, it is important to have a proper attractive entrance which would welcome & attract visitors’ attention to visit the information centre & the museum.

As for Inspiration for the problem solving, I was distinguishably inspired by this quality of ‘camouflage ’ & the sense of belongingness. The Similar colors of the specie and its surrounding. I saw a Nollert’s toad who is an endemic species to the rainforests of southwestern Sri Lanka. Hardly anyone would notice these animals if they were not aware of the qualities of these little species. To find the specific species, we should seek out their habitat first.
Essence: NATURE HAS A WAY OF PROTECTING ONE ANOTHER, TO MAINTAIN BALANCE AND FOR THE SUSTENANCE OF AN ECOSYSTEM. BUT WHEN HUMAN ACTIVITIES DISTURB THE NATURAL BALANCE, EVEN TINY ORGANISMS WILL NOT SURVIVE EITHER. THIS REPRESENTS HOW NATURE ITSELF PROTECTS A PART OF THE NATURE. WE HUMANS AS A PART OF THE NATURE WHY CAN'T WE PROTECT THE NATURE? . FOREST SHOULD EXIST FOR THE PEOPLE and PEOPLE FOR THE FOREST.
from this inspiration, i came up with the idea of the Museum of Forest Service History. I intend to build a space for humans in this environmentally sensitive area with minimal impact on nature. Functionally it fills the gap between nature and us.
Concept - Bridging the Gap between Human and Nature.
project justification-
. As the information centre & the museum at the entrance of the forest, I hope to awaken the visitors' keen perception of nature. This Design is for the future to create a prominent landmark in the country. Creating new opportunities for the community such as they should be able to work with pride. Also, the value of the forest should be further demonstrated by the information centre/museum.


Project description

This project consists of the following parts. Entrance Plaza, Reception , ramped transitional space. which is a louvered wood panel wall continues to the next space.(starting from a shorter height and gradually becoming taller)
Use different wood species to create a feature wall. Visitors will
learn how these different tree species played a role in the
rainforest and the development of Sri Lanka, each wood panel is
an Ethnic woody plant. This space shows that tragic incidents happened in the past. Next we have another transitional space in between two solid walls, in the roof, there are a few light holes that bring light rays inside the tunnel. This is how we experience inside the forest (wheelchair accessible) forest conservation Digital learning lab , Library , restaurant are some of the spaces in this design.
The Main space of the building is the Wondering Gallery walkway, a Continuous spiral ramp upto 4 levels. A cross-section of the rainforest is represented by this spiral ramp. Through digital displays,
sculptures, and art, each level depicts biodiversity and its value.

Technical information

Material usage -
The warm timber deck in front of the building and leafy trees in and around right next to it adds a tropical tranquil vibe. Timber throughout highlights the deep connection to the palette of the surrounding context.
The main focus on the first floor is the cane and reed woven library area. Yet it is hidden and gives an outside view as a framework. It’s like a bird’s nest on a branch of a tree. The use of natural materials, like timber, for a certain area of the flooring and ceiling, enhances the calm, breathing, changing being borrowing from nature with the play of light and shadow creates by the trellis. This element combines the whole plot as one harmonious space.
structural structure is made out of steel and concrete. such as H irons and I beams.

Environmental approach -
The comprehensive environmental approach of the building is based on its orientation, flood level, sun path, and considerations for a passive ventilation system. Keeping in line with the contemporary and environmentally passive architecture, this building in the forest sensitively transitions the browns and greys of the built environment with the greens and earthy colours of the forest. The rear yard-oriented wing contains the service stretch, mainly the kitchen for the restaurant, and washrooms. The spatial design was inspired by the uniqueness of a rainforest. it has simply deconstructed the uniqueness of rainforest qualities. The user goes through a unique spatial experience. Cool breeze in from Winward’s direction. Pivoted wooden louvred screen, allows limited views. Morning soft sunlight from the east comes inside the dining area giving a breathing and living atmosphere.The Library on the edge of the side facing the river, and hidden between tree canopy levels is to support researchers who come to the research centre in Kannleiya. Also for tour guides and administrative staff, for the Interested members of the general public

Documentation

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