Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!
Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!

Klaudia Trębska - "Tjukula Jukurrpa. A rehabilitation center for Australian koalas"

03 of March '22
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2021
Author: Klaudia Trębska
Wydział Architektury Politechniki Wrocławskiej

Dr. Marek Lamber

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture".

Industrial development and human territorial expansion in Australia have contributed to the loss of natural habitats. Intense deforestation has deprived animals of home and shelter. In addition, areas of the eastern part of the continent are ravaged by massive bushfires every year. It is therefore inevitable to protect species at risk of extinction, such as koalas. The project will establish a veterinary clinic and a temporary habitat for the affected animals so that they can return to the wild after a period of rehabilitation.



© Klaudia Trębska

The study area is located on the Tamborine Mountain plateau, inhabited by indigenous peoples. At the time of early European settlement, the area was occupied by the Wangerriburra people. The etymology of the name "Tamborine" comes from an Anglicized version of the Aboriginal word Jambreen, which means the wild linden trees formerly growing on these hills.

The title of the project refers to the Aboriginal belief system known as Tjukula Jukurrpa ( Dreamtime), which encompasses religion, law and moral systems, and defines the relationship between people, plants, animals and physical features of the land. Aborigines are spiritually strongly connected to the land they inhabit. Their beliefs are passed down from generation to generation through numerous stories, known as Dreamtime stories. They have a very widely developed symbolism that used to help them survive, and is now mainly manifested in art and culture.
The work also draws inspiration from the commensal relationship between koalas and eucalyptus trees. The trees provide food and shelter for the animals that live and rest on them, without doing them any harm. The idea of the project is to look for the role of humans in this ecosystem.

schemat leczenia koali schemat konstrukcji

Left: koala treatment diagram; right: construction diagram

© Klaudia Trębska

The project involves the creation of an object that, by its form, will enclose an area intended for a temporary habitat for koalas undergoing rehabilitation. The form of the ring allows observation of the animals in the inner courtyard and at the same time provides a panoramic view of the hill. It creates a transition structure between the rehabilitation stage of the animals and their release into the wild, which is reflected in the functional purpose of the facility.

rzut parteru rzut 1. piętra

Left: first floor plan; right: 1st floor plan

© Klaudia Trębska

The building consists of three floors raised above ground level and founded on wooden pillars to allow free flow of rainwater. Each floor has a separate function. A veterinary clinic and necessary technical rooms are planned for the first floor. Injured animals are brought to the clinic by special rescue services or volunteers. If they require immediate surgery, they are transferred to the operating theater, if not - they are placed in the intensive care room or in isolation rooms (veterinary incubators), where they are under constant supervision, hydrated and treated. When their condition improves, the animals are placed in height-restricted cubicles. In the next stage of rehabilitation, they are moved to an inner courtyard, where their progress in regaining mobility is monitored, which determines whether koalas are released into the wild.


elevation and cross-section

© Klaudia Trębska

The upper floor can be divided into four functional zones: office-administrative, didactic, diagnostic and koala box area. The didactic block is equipped with a seminar room, an exercise room and social areas for students. The diagnostic zone, on the other hand, houses three research laboratories: biochemistry, andrology and parasitology, along with reagent storage.

The top floor serves as a museum and is entirely open to the public. Both on this floor and a floor below on the outdoor terrace, a koala box area is set aside to provide near-natural conditions for the animals.

wizualizacja interiorwizualizacja interiorwizualizacja interior

interior visualization

© Klaudia Trębska

It was decided to use wood in the construction of the building due to the renewable nature of the raw material and its numerous advantages obtained after processing into CLT panels. A distinctive element of the project are façade panels that acquire condensed water vapor, the so-called fog catchers, which will allow efficient water storage due to the high humidity of the air (70 percent per year). The panels are modeled on the "Fog Harp" project developed by scientific researchers at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, USA. In addition, with reference to traditional methods used by Aboriginal people, rainwater storage wells have been designed in the inner courtyard. Meanwhile, on the roof, which is the fifth elevation visible from street level, it was decided to place photovoltaic panels, which will be the main source of electricity supply and allow the building's installations to be hidden.

The unusual shape of the building and the distinctive exterior cladding that creates the illusion of a form growing out of the ground will have a significant impact on the attractiveness of the facility among tourists visiting Tamborine Mountain in large numbers, which will contribute to raising funds to help animals.


Illustrations: © Author

The vote has already been cast