Camera Botanica

Camera Botanica is an architectural intervention under construction on Content Too, Ian’s study site at Point Henry, WA. This design research seeks to question how the kwongkan heath of Content Too might provide a catalyst for rethinking an architectural response to biodiversity and bushfire.

Camera Botanica involves the relocation of a 60 year old hardwood house frame from the agricultural landscape of Ian’s childhood. The extraction of the structure from a once highly biodiverse and now degraded site to one where the botany is celebrated (on Content Too) provides opportunities to question notions of place, aesthetics and functionality.

Camera Botanica is built to Bushfire Attack Level of BAL-40, the second highest BAL level in the Australian Standard AS3959:2009. But is it not merely a technical solution, it also embraces the cultural dimensions of the agricultural landscape of the Bremer Bay hinterland which was itself cleared by fire and developed, first as the last and largest of Australia’s War Settlement Schemes and then as a part of the state’s ‘Million Acres a Year’ agricultural development program. 

Camera Botanica is clad in a shield of heavy gauge galvanised steel, with 13 operable bushfire shutters, each protecting apertures of stainless steel mesh and glazing. Fixed wall panels are lined internally with fire-proof sarking which provides a second line of defence. Roof, wall and floor insulation is mineral wool and fire rated batts. The hardwood frame (Jarrah and Wandoo) thermal conductivity from high temperatures, this frame being lined with low VOC hardwood plywood as the very last line of defence.