The Willis Island Meteorological Office is located 500km east of Cairns in the Coral Sea. The station is staffed by four meteorologists, on a six month rotation, providing general weather observations and advanced cyclonic weather warning capability.
As a part of the Department of the Environment, Heritage, Water and the Arts, the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology’s brief placed significant emphasis on the sustainability of the facility design, services systems and infrastructure.
GHD Woodhead was engaged to develop a design concept that links a series of wings providing working, living, personnel and maintenance accommodation via an internal street that emulates the form of the island rising above the surrounding sea.
Passive environmental design features include: maximising the potential for natural lighting, minimising solar gain through orientation and shading, and cross ventilation to exploit the benign weather conditions for most of the year.
A hybrid energy system integrates four sources of power generation including photovoltaic panels, vertical axis wind turbine, battery bank and diesel backup generators. Water is provided by desalinating sea water and sewage is treated using an enviro-cycle system with wastewater used for garden watering.
GHD Woodhead based material selections on long-lived finishes using a combination of stainless steel, western red cedar and aluminium. Low VOC materials and finishes were specified for internal spaces.