BlueScope helps put flood-ravaged area on trail to recovery
A campsite shelter that was redesigned and constructed by architecture students after the 2011 Queensland floods is proving very popular with visitors while also accumulating a number of prestigious awards.
The Murphy's Creek campsite near Toowoomba has experienced a doubling in visitor numbers since its reconstruction by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) students, using products donated by BlueScope Steel.
Located approximately halfway along the 5,330 kilometre Bicentennial National Trail, the agricultural shed at Murphy's Creek has been used for many years as a rest stop for walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers.
The campsite, along with nearby homes, property and livestock, was destroyed by the January 2011 floods.
Real Studio, which educates architecture students on the process of design and building, saw an opportunity to help out a community in need while enlightening students on the topics of building safety, materials, construction techniques and responsible design.
Real Studio project leader Alison McDonald, now with Griffith University, said the Murphy's Creek project gave her students a better understanding of material behaviour and suitability.
"The project has been a brilliant opportunity for the students and many have said it was the best thing they did at university," Ms McDonald said.
"The construction experience will enable the students to be better designers. They have gained an understanding of how materials perform, and first-hand knowledge of construction detailing.
"Their experience working with BlueScope Steel's materials will follow them in their careers. They also had to learn to be creative with the materials that were donated," she said.
The design incorporates recycled and retrieved materials, including materials used in the original shed's structure.
BlueScope Steel donated COLORBOND® steel for the building's 108m2 butterfly roof, rainwater accessories, end caps and overflows, and the feature V-shaped central gutter. These structures were constructed onsite by students. The feature gutter and butterfly roof are distinctive design features of the Murphy's Creek Shed.
River stone walls were built to the height of the floodwaters to serve as a reminder of their destructive power.
The Shed houses a number of amenities for the varied users of the trail including a feed room, shelter and hitching rail for animals, a tack room for horse riders, a first-aid room and a toilet.
The Murphy's Creek Shed has received a number of awards since its reopening in 2012, including the Australian Institute of Architects' state and national award for Small Project Architecture, a Darling Downs Regional Commendation and the William Hodgen Award for Building of the Year.
Ms McDonald says that more important than the awards has been the boost the reconstructed Murphy's Creek Shed has given to this part of the Lockyer Valley.
"The reaction has been positive in the community, and it's flattering that we've been invited to do more work in the area," she said.
Ms McDonald and her colleagues at Griffith School of Environment (Architecture) will continue the design-build-studio approach to education and working with communities in need.
BlueScope Steel manufactures steel building products including cladding, purlins and house framing, including Lysaght, Colorbond and Zincalume.Learn more