Arts cen­tre’s in­no­va­tive de­sign wins over judges

North West Telegraph - - North West Property - Louise Alling­ham

New­man’s East Pil­bara Arts Cen­tre took out the top award for pub­lic ar­chi­tec­ture at the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects’ 2017 Na­tional Ar­chi­tec­ture Awards last Thurs­day night.

The Sir Zel­man Cowen Award for Pub­lic Ar­chi­tec­ture was awarded to Fre­man­tle-based Of­fi­cer Woods Ar­chi­tects for New­man’s art cen­tre.

The jury said the cen­tre’s “mas­ter­stroke build­ing-withina-build­ing con­cept” ex­ceeded the client’s brief for a 500sqm art cen­tre and en­abled “a group of re­mote indige­nous artists to make a sub­stan­tial and tan­gi­ble con­tri­bu­tion to a town cen­tre, thereby ex­em­pli­fy­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in this coun­try”.

“The large shed pro­vides pri­vate spa­ces with gen­er­ous con­nec­tions to the sur­round­ing land­scape and out­door ar­eas for artists and their fam­i­lies to paint and spend time in — a de facto com­mu­nity cen­tre,” the jury said.

“Artists and their fam­i­lies can shower, do laun­dry, play and spend down­time next to a tow­er­ing steel wa­ter tank that sits as an icon to out­back life un­der the en­velop­ing roof.”

“The in­ven­tive­ness of the ar­chi­tects’ bold proposal has yielded a huge ad­di­tional ben­e­fit to the artists, staff and the gen­eral pub­lic.”

Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Terry Hill said the na­tional ex­po­sure would bring more peo­ple to the Pil­bara to visit New­man and ex­pe­ri­ence its unique Abo­rig­i­nal art and cul­ture.

“We set out to cre­ate an in­no­va­tive arts and cul­ture cen­tre by chal­leng­ing typ­i­cal de­sign pro­cesses, and the re­sults speak for them­selves,” he said.

“Im­por­tantly, Martu were placed at the cen­tre of the de­sign, re­sult­ing in a build­ing that cel­e­brates and re­spects Martu cul­ture.

“It’s a spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence to in­ter­act with Martu and gain a deeper un­der­stand­ing of Martu cul­ture in a place where artists can come from com­mu­nity to sit to­gether, paint to­gether and in­spire one another.”

Picture: Rob Frith

The East Pil­bara Arts Cen­tre has won the Sir Zel­man Cowen Award for Pub­lic Ar­chi­tec­ture.

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