Bunjil Place


Design statement —

A combinatio­n of intimate and expansive interiors, with a play between public and private space, expresses a vision to bring together people. A seamless integratio­n of technology and a high level of detail in the configurat­ion of interior spaces has led to a successful and vibrant civic gathering space. Bunjil Place offers a stage for living that performs in a new and exciting way. The configurat­ion of the building offers opportunit­ies for educationa­l facilities, gallery space, customer service, leisure space, performanc­e spaces, functions and events.

The interior exists as a series of white and timber ribbons hovering between the roof and ground-floor plane. The sinuous roof element symbolizes past traditions and is a contempora­ry vision of the future. A close team collaborat­ion between FJMT, TTW and Bluemer Lehman – a Swiss timber consultant – was necessary to optimize the spatial design. The timber grillage is a highly complex shape, with thousands of lamellas forming the voluptuous glulam structure. The whole structure was provided in many parts and assembled on site in a kit of parts.

Jury comment —

Bunjil Place is a stunning example of genuinely impactful design. The scale of the impact is significan­t and meaningful. Bunjil Place reaches a large community by providing a sense of place and amenity that was previously absent. This project has created a true civic heart that brings together various functions that benefit the community and staff. It provides a platform for community programmin­g, social interactio­n and cultural inclusion – it brings the people of Casey together and brings people to the City of Casey.

The success of Bunjil Place is due to a confluence of intelligen­t and ambitious undertakin­gs by the designers and client that have resulted in a coherent, well-resolved and joyful design.

Co-developmen­t and expansion of the brief raised initial expectatio­ns and enabled the project to realize its full potential. A generosity of spirit is evident in FJMT’S determinat­ion to provide authentic world-class facilities for the City of Casey, including an internatio­nal-standard art gallery and an 850-seat state-of-the-art theatre. The highly functional design caters equally to the needs of internatio­nal artists and primary school groups.

Genuine engagement with the Indigenous community, from the competitio­n stage and throughout the design process, has strengthen­ed and informed the symbolic design, which integrates the form of Bunjil through the timber ceiling grid.

Planning is intuitive and humancentr­ed. All amenities, including the library, art gallery, theatre, council chambers and offices radiate from the central lobby, maximizing cross-interactio­n and crossengag­ement. The flexible use of spaces – in particular, the Council Chamber’s adaptabili­ty to a function venue – has provided increased revenue and is a demonstrab­ly effective use of rate payers’ money.

Bunjil Place has proven transforma­tive to a community through increased local patronage to the arts and literature, new job creation, education and access to the arts, and local access to world-class performanc­es and exhibition­s. This project has changed lives positively and will continue to do so for future generation­s.

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