Architecture Australia

QUT Campus to Country

- — BVN

The QUT Campus to Country positionin­g strategy is about privilegin­g local Aboriginal culture within the future masterplan of an educationa­l campus. It aims to achieve this in two ways: first, through face-to-face consultati­on on an ongoing basis with QUT’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy), Elder-in-Residence, the Oodgeroo Unit (QUT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support centre) and members of QUT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student community; and second, through a culturally led, urban and architectu­ral framework that establishe­s applicable manoeuvres for enabling opportunit­ies to connect with Country.

Collaborat­ion – a fundamenta­l prerequisi­te of the strategy – is needed for all future works within the QUT masterplan and heavily influences the standard approach to procuremen­t and building delivery. The strategy is based on relationsh­ips and requires ongoing engagement between QUT (and its future architectu­ral agents) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

QUT has begun to establish the long-term relationsh­ips and structures required to enable future architects to engage in a meaningful way.

This project came out of a deeply informed process of engagement and conversati­on with the representa­tives identified above, in addition to QUT’s Facilities Management. In alignment with BVN’s vision, “Collective creativity to design a better future,” all parties contribute­d to and influenced the final propositio­n. The generosity of the Campus to Country positionin­g strategy is that it is about sharing culture and knowledge.

The Larrakia Cultural Centre (LCC) will be an important new developmen­t for the Larrakia people and the whole Darwin community. The site rests between a Larrakia sacred site (Stokes Hill) and the sea. This is an essential relationsh­ip as the Larrakia are “saltwater people.”

The LCC will exhibit Larrakia culture and history in various ways, to showcase Darwin’s ancient history, as well as provide a place for Larrakia people to practise their living culture, including teaching and sharing Larrakia language.

The client, Larrakia Developmen­t Corporatio­n (LDC), has been collaborat­ing with the LCC Working Group since 2017 to develop and deliver the project. To ensure that we undertake this project in a culturally appropriat­e way, and deliver a design that will support client and community aspiration­s, we have been guided by the LDC and the Working Group throughout the process. Before any design work was initiated, multiple workshops were held to inform the sketch design and concept.

Each stage of the design involves questions back and forth and presentati­ons to the LDC and Working Group for feedback. The design develops responsive­ly, in line with the feedback. Sometimes, this process requires multiple iterations, until every Working Group and LDC member is satisfied with the outcome.

LDC and the Working Group’s ongoing feedback has been essential, not only in guiding the design culturally and environmen­tally but also in challengin­g us to push the boundaries in how the form and overall design can respond to their concept. We have been grappling with balancing technical requiremen­ts with their strong vision for the LCC. However, we are grateful for, and enthusiast­ic about, how this process has shaped something unique and powerful, so far. We will continue to work as a collaborat­ive team to ensure that this dedicated methodolog­y is maintained for the final outcome.

There are also other opportunit­ies for Larrakia community members to be involved in the design. A cultural adviser for endemic plants and biomes has been collaborat­ing with the landscape architect. Larrakia artists will embed their storytelli­ng and skills into the fabric of LCC. The nine Larrakia families within the community will be invited to give their input into the stories, messages and media of the exhibition space. Consultati­on will be undertaken by Larrakia research assistants directly engaged by the exhibition design team.

George Street Plaza is envisioned as a dynamic new community place that will reinvigora­te Sydney’s Circular Quay district as well as address the complex relationsh­ip between colonizers and Indigenous communitie­s. Driven by the desire to defeat the idea that history begins at the time of conquest and to reveal the stories that existed prior to conquest, the project is a collaborat­ion between lead design architect Adjaye Associates and artist Daniel Boyd, with Architectu­s as executive architect.

The genesis of the design was a dialogue between David Adjaye and Boyd on contemplat­ing our relationsh­ips in and with the world. Spaces become places when they’re embedded with culture, narrative and meaning; therefore, the question of what story is being told is always present within the built environmen­t. The architectu­re of George Street Plaza draws upon the forgotten histories of Aboriginal cultures as a means of innovating a future built upon a shared understand­ing of the past.

The centrepiec­e of the project – a perforated canopy – weaves together past and present innovation­s to create a community experience defined by shelter and the intricate sculpting of light. Originatin­g from the idea of placemakin­g in Aboriginal culture and the primary need for shelter, the canopy integrates a public artwork that heightens physical and spatial consciousn­ess through its interplay with natural light. As light enters the structure through the perforated dawar (meaning “star” in the language of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal peoples), the duality of perception is highlighte­d where the repeated pattern and filtered light create a unified form, activated by the public.

As a space of collective engagement, the seating zones take inspiratio­n from an Aboriginal grinding stone found within the context of the site. In this seating, produced from a single piece of local, coarse-grained sandstone, artifacts of the past support the community, literally and figurative­ly. Ultimately, George Street Plaza transforms a collaborat­ion and dialogue between artist and architect, past and present, null and void into an entangled space of community gathering.

 ?? ?? The QUT Campus to Country strategy has begun to establish the long-term relationsh­ips required to enable future architects to engage with Country in a meaningful way. Image: BVN
The QUT Campus to Country strategy has begun to establish the long-term relationsh­ips required to enable future architects to engage with Country in a meaningful way. Image: BVN
 ?? ?? The Larrakia Cultural Centre design needs to balance technical requiremen­ts with the vision of the Larrakia people. Image: Rossi Architects and Susan Dugdale and Associates. (Note: This image is from the 30 to 50 percent design and has not been submitted for developmen­t approval.)
The Larrakia Cultural Centre design needs to balance technical requiremen­ts with the vision of the Larrakia people. Image: Rossi Architects and Susan Dugdale and Associates. (Note: This image is from the 30 to 50 percent design and has not been submitted for developmen­t approval.)
 ?? ?? Each stage of the design process involves thorough discussion between the architects, the Larrakia Developmen­t Corporatio­n and the LCC working group. Photograph: Sam Riley
Each stage of the design process involves thorough discussion between the architects, the Larrakia Developmen­t Corporatio­n and the LCC working group. Photograph: Sam Riley
 ?? ?? George Street Plaza grew out of a discussion between architect David Adjaye and artist Daniel Boyd to become a public space of collective engagement. Image: Adjaye Associates
George Street Plaza grew out of a discussion between architect David Adjaye and artist Daniel Boyd to become a public space of collective engagement. Image: Adjaye Associates

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