About the project

The Astra Complex is a multi-purpose facility made up of base briefing room, military courtroom, related meetings rooms and magistrate’s chambers, as well as a store room for ceremonial paraphernalia. The project’s name pays homage to the Second World War-era Astra Theatre which was displaced by the Battlefield Airlifter masterplan and it replaces as the base’s premier auditorium.

The project was delivered as Stage 08 of the Battlefield Airlifter project under a MCC-1 2003 contract. Along with the transit accommodation buildings the Astra Complex creates a new precinct in the Amberley master plan on a leafy green-fields site with topographical and bushfire constraints that required rigorous design solutions to meet the functional requirements.

The facility is carefully sited to take advantage of its bushland context whilst providing discrete circulation routes for all parties. An undercover breezeway through the building creates a spine which ties all key functional spaces and supporting amenities together and connects to the main axis through the precinct. Salvaged timber from the heritage Astra Theatre create an entrance colonnade to the building which are displayed in a sequence that communicates the air force motto of Per Ardua Ad Astra in Morse code.