New building is ‘disaster-proof'
ON Earth's driest inhabited continent, devastating bushfires are a fact of life.
When those fires ravage the terrain, all too often urban or rural inhabited areas are in the firing line and homes as well as other structures are destroyed.
The Xanthorrhoea 1 multi-function display building was opened at Thulimbah on Saturday and is the result of a research project started in 2005 by Cox Architects managing director David Cox which he said was intended to demonstrate it was possible to build in the line of fire.
"Every year houses are burnt out and people re-built in the same way which is dangerous as well as a gross waste of resources," he said.
"I was convinced you could build in a fire zone and this structure has proven you can."
Mr Cox said the building was constructed from inert materials which made it resistant to fire and designed to provide shelter during other natural disasters like cyclones and floods.
"It incorporates composite materials in its construction and is extremely resistant to attack which means we've achieved a standard of resistance not achieved before," he said.
"The building is designed so it can be locked down and is thermally efficient so there is the comfort of knowing occupants will be sustained in cyclones and fires."
While more expensive to build than a standard house Mr Cox said the building would pay off over time through its longevity and durability.
"We want this building to lead by example and it opens up the possibility of building in and enjoying areas you couldn't previously," he said.
"We don't see this building as an end, we are committed to continuing research and development."
The building is not open to the public but for more information on the Xanthorrhoea 1 project visit coxarchitects.com.au.