Wind & Fairy Cave Nature Reserve
Bau, Sarawak, Malaysia
Wind Cave Nature Reserve
Wind Cave Nature Reserve and Fairy Cave Nature Reserve.
The main task is to upgrade and improve the facilities of the existing venue to ensure the venue is tourist friendly. The design and materials used in both venues have been carefully considered with sustainability and ease of maintenance in mind. Since these are nature reserves, showcasing the natural beauty of these sites and their surroundings was one of the main goals.
"Elevated on high stilts due to high flood level."
Existing cave trails have been rehabilitated, the cave entrance has been improved and part of the cave entrance area is sloped for people in wheelchairs. Due to the undulating terrain, the cave trail is currently not wheelchair accessible.
"To create an immersive and informative experience."
This site is where the Park Management for both Wind and Fairy Cave will hold office; once construction is complete. This project consist of:
Wind Cave Site 1
A New Customer Service Centre, elevated on stilts due to the high flood level in the area with an open platform to enhance visitors’ experience. Stepping on a delicate site lightly, the facilities included are food kiosk, mini park-shop, public toilets, Surau, Open covered gallery, Park Warden office and associated facilities and open areas for briefing in small groups with the creation of an tiered platform, which is part disabled ramp cum amphitheater. The kiosk is planned around the platform and surroundings to create an immersive and informative experience. Working with the client to showcase their research and development on Glulam timber and sustainable timber species; these materials are included in the design of the building.
Wind Cave Site 2
This site has a new elevated and ramped public toilet and a new BBQ pit will be constructed for the convenience of the public as it is a popular spot for picnics by the river.
Fairy Cave Nature Reserve
The Fairy Cave Nature Reserve project is one part of the Wind and Fairy Caves Nature Reserve re-development. Funded by Ministry of Tourism under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the project is instigated and implemented by Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC for short.)
Fairy Cave site was designated as an extension to Wind Cave site. With minimal building programme for Fairy Cave, visitor experience without excessive building was optimized. We wanted to promote the Fairy Cave as an attraction for everyone, and not just for the ‘fit and adventurous’.
Design approach :
- To provide essential spaces which are interwoven with the Exhibition Design and Content throughout the site.
- The exhibition design team decided to feature the unique flora and fauna for Fairy Cave and the unique mammals for Wind Cave.
- To have a holistic approach in enhancing the visitor experience; in the form of an open-air ‘natural history museum’ concept.
The project is broken up into 4 segments:
1. The Entrance pavilion - ticketing booth and control point, toilets and an sheltered space for tour guides and rangers to brief visitors.
2. The Access tower - the only access to the cave entrance at about 23m from the ground, was modified to become an open exhibition-information spiral, topped out with a viewing platform.
3. The Fairy Cave Chambers - comprising the main daylit chamber and the cavern which is named the Dark Trail, which takes you to the opening on the other end of the caves to the new Summit Trail.
4. The Summit Trail - a guided trail with the Summit Platform at the apex.
THE ENTRANCE PAVILION
The ‘big hat’ roof design at the main entrance pavilion provides shelter and legibility - a landmark raised on stilts to avoid disrupting the natural stream below. Leaves collected from site were used to create floral relief on both the new and existing concrete floors.
THE ACCESS TOWER
It was a challenge to improve the ‘accessibility’ of the existing RC tower structure, which was unfriendly and poorly lit. The climb to the top was daunting. We decided to convert it into a exhibition-information spiral, intended to distract visitors from the laborious task of climbing the stairs. The original tower roof was removed and replaced with a viewing platform with a daring outward spiral staircase design. Externally, the new expanded mesh screen acted as a rain-sun screen while giving the existing a new dynamic outlook.
THE FAIRY CAVE CHAMBERS
The original entrance to the Cave Chamber is via a long and steep ladder to the first landing within the cave chamber. We discovered an alternative route during the initial cave recce, which allowed us to direct the traffic flow into and out of the cave. The minimal physical intervention in the cave chambers were made based on legibility and safety aspects. The choice of building materials used were selected for suitability on site, durability and ease of maintenance. We placed information panels to inform the visitor about the unique features in the cave chambers, some in form of QR codes accessible by phones to improve the visitor’s experience.
The original access trail to the summit trail walk inside the cave was redeveloped as the ‘Dark Trail’. Certain section of the trails are lit to showcase the cavern’s magnificent limestone formations.
THE SUMMIT TRAIL
The hike along the summit trail is kept as natural as possible and made more accessible by inclusion of ropes, bridges and platforms constructed at critical areas. The summit platform built at 274m above sea level allows successful climbers to enjoy the magnificent view from the other aspect at Gunung Kapor summit.