Leif Canuto - Research Booklet - Bower Studio 2020

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leif canuto




01. Research BOOKS + ESSAYS

- The Dreaming. Stanner, WEH pg. 1 - 2 - Building Visibility. Findley, L pg. 3 - 4 - Dark Emu. Pascoe, B pg. 5 - 6


- The Australian Dream. Grant, S. Gordon, D pg.10 - 10 Canoes. De Heer, R. Djigirr, P pg. 11 - Freedom Rides. Living Black SBS pg 12

02. Kalkaringi

History + Contemporary Society - Gurindji People and Culture pg. 15 - 16 - History - Colonisation / Invasion: pg 17 - Post Colonial (Pre Walk-Off Era) pg. 18 - Walk-Off Era / A Handful of Sand. Ward, C pg .19 - 20 - Kalkaringi Today Overview pg. 21 - Kalkaringi Today Arts and Culture pg. 22 - Kalkaringi Today Recreation pg. 23 - Kalkaringi Today Development pg. 24 - Kalkaringi Today Economy / Industry pg. 25

03. Documentaries -

Conversation - Alexander Giles pg. 29 - 31 Meeting Structure pg. 32 Research Reflections pg. 33 - 36 Cultural Competency pg. 37 -38 Cultural Centres - International pg. 39 -40 Memorial Landscapes pg. 41 - 42 Cultural Centres - Australian pg. 43 - 44 Re-edit Process pg. 45

04. Design Esquisse -

Design research pg. 49 Materials + Methodologies Research pg. 50 Design Process pg. 51 – 55 Presentation + Feedback pg. 56 Class Discussion + General Feedback pg. 57 – 58

05. Engineering + Preparation


Design Introduction pg. 60 Structural Presentation pg. 61 Key Consideration pg. 62 Governing Criteria pg. 63 Column Design pg. 64 Pre Transport Preparations pg. 65

06. Covid 19 -

Project Pivot

- Reflection pg. 68

BOOKS+ ESSAYS The Dreaming - W.E.H Stanner - 1962

The Australian Dream Stan Grant - 1962

Building Visibility - Lisa Findley - 2005

Dark Emu - Bruce Pascoe 2014

“Our own intellectual history is not an absolute standard by which to judge others. The worst imperialisms of all are those of preconceptions.” - WEH Stanner

The Dreaming’ - WEH Stanner I found this essay to an interesting introduction to

“Our own intellectual history is not an absolute standard by which to judge others. The worst imperialisms are those of preconceptions.” The above line has power to serve as principal moto to underpin all forthcoming study.

some of the fundamental differences in thinking that one is faced with when tasked in the study of indigenous history, culture, knowledge and thought. The absence of ‘time’ and ‘history’ as abstract concepts within indigenous language certainly introduces an immediate complexity. Leading one to feel that we must shed off much of what we hold to be givens within previous cultural, historical study if we are to even begin to comprehend the modes of thinking of indigenous people. To this, Stanner suggests learning how not to “impose western categories of understanding”.

Here I note a significant connection to the driving idea of Bruce Pascoe’s central argument in Dark Emu. The author also draws attention towards the intricate social orders which at first glance appear simple are in fact often ‘cyclical’ on generational terms and displaying a myriad of deeper and at times obsequious meanings.

Teachings in the dreamings, whilst holding total conviction in guiding one to navigating how and why, is not the solution but perhaps, the key. This thought I feel may have direct significance to the general philosophical underpinnings of our projects. Stanner puts forward the notion of the indigenous people directly practicing their philosophy in everyday life. 1.

Above: William Edward Hanley Stanner was a highly influential Anthropologist who wrote extensively on Aboriginal Affairs

On page 69 I note an aberration in the otherwise respectful and humanistic tone of the essay. In this passage Stanner provides an assessment which when compared to the modern research compiled by the likes of Bruce Pasco, seems a touch dismissive and misguided.

Here I ask myself, how would the author of changed his tune on account of a more contemporary perspective? In the closing of the essay, Stanner articulates another fundamental point relevant to dealings with indigenous people and material outcomes. This is the firm notion of sharing, and egalitarian practice. Reflection: Dreamings, much like our projects are not solutions on their own. Though they may be able to project certain truths that could stimulate further acts of self-determination. Observations on egalitarianism in aboriginal culture excites me as I feel it is a value which is increasingly eroded in the western world but one which I believe we ought to cling to for the benefit projects. During consultation and functional design phases, preconceptions must be eliminated. Also ackowlding that the deeper meaning of things takes time and effort to understand. 2.

Building Visibility - Findley, L Below: Aerial photo of Uluru Kata Tjuta Visiting Centre. In its undulating form one percieves a quality sympathetic to the form of Uluru itsefl.

Findley reaffirms the idea of history, memory and identity to being innately tied to the landscape and nature more broadly.

the custodianship of the Anangu to the non indigenous visitors. I am very interested in Findlay point on visual representation among aborigines being flexible and full of changing abstract metaphorical meaning. Objects has being crafted fit to function but nothing more and the importance of reciprocity within indigenous culture are two additional points which fascinates me. Here I feel there is much to learn.

‘Process and relationships’ are indicated to be most important to Anangu culture. Our attention is drawn to the Burgess’s approach to consultation. The necessity to build relationships and connect to the community in often informal ways underpins his ambitions towards creating meaningful architectural outcomes. On pages 89 – 90 there is a synthesis of idea which struck a notable chord in me. The author clearly articulates the path in which aboriginal culture naturally gravitated towards non material ideals based on the fact that the landscape is sacred and all materials come from the land. Going on to state that all post colonial interventions are therefore the absolute antithesis of this mode of thinking and thus being. 3.

Above: Early Diagram of the Visiting Centre in the form of two snakes glaring at each other. These snakes represent two characters in the traditional stories of the Anagu.

Findley introduces the ‘Sorry Movement’ as a concept disparaging feeble past attempts to reconcile the level of suffering inflicted upon indigenous people which have resulted in continued racism and lack of opportunities. The author states the projected outcome of the architecture as making tangible the transfer of knowledge and wisdom embedded within

Reflection: Process and relationships as being central to anangu culture seems to sit in parallel with the emphasis of the studio. This journal as process, and the relationships created in consultation and developed with our final presentations will be key to our success. The regards of all materials as sacred because they ultimately come from the earth speaks directly to the ESD principals which underpin my design. 4.

Dark Emu - Bruce Pasco “Adjust your perspective by a few degrees and the view changes”. -Bruce pasco pg 32. An integral text towards a shift in conventional understanding of indigenous people, history and society. This reading serves as a consistent comparison to many common conceptions circulating still today.. Through researching public available records of the early settlers diaries, Pacoe paints a vastly different picture of that which our country is founded upon. The case is made that the people inhabiting the land for tens of thousands of years pre-colonisation were not merely hunter-gathers but managed the land and employed sophisticated agricultural, engineering and building methods.


Pascoe seems to echo Stanner when he writes about the dangers of operating on assumptions. It is these tendencies which lead the perpetuation of ignorance and consistent undervaluing of indigenous knowledge.

Right: Illustration of Yam Daisy - Essential food crop managed by many aboriginal people until the arrival of sheep farming in 1840s

Below: Restored Photo of ‘Brewarrina Fish Traps’ at Barwon River

In the later chapters of the book, a strong argument is made in how the contributions of specialised indigenous know how could benefit the economy and modern food systems. Highlighting the inherent sustainability that arises from farming practices which operate so seamlessly with the natural cycles of the land


‘A jigsawed mutalism’ is the term Pascoe applies to the interwoven nature of indigenous social systems, politics and above all else, land sharing. This is where each collective would preside over their area and take from it only that which they needed whilst respecting the resources required by their interconnected neighbours.

The importance of sustainability and working in harmony with the land remains heavily imprinted in my ambitions for the social club.

Supporting these ways of being, the author states the 5 precepts of aboriginal philosophy as being: Continuation, Constancy, Balance, Symmetry and Regularity

Indenous knowledge has much to offer. Pascoe reminds us to never operate on assumptions and to consider information at hand from multiple angles. Worthy advice for the early information gathering and analysis phases of our design work.

The five precepts stated to me have architectural implications. In my scheme I aim to incorporate them. Not in a rigid western way but in an abstracted interpretation based primarily on the patterns and structures found in the land.


The Australian Dream - Grant. S & Gordan. D The ability of an event in pop culture to be the watershed moment in public discourse. The distillation of years of societal conflict and murmurings burst into prominence in perhaps the most unlikely arena. Yet the precedents was there, in the 1968 Black Power Salute and the stand of Robert Muir.


The film also highlights what I feel is a general theme across Australian national identity. And that is the distaste and mistrust of politics. A sentiment of not wishing politics to play an integral role in everyday life. Especially in recreational areas such as sports. I believe I can empathize on a basic level in that in personal life, often I have received pushback from even my most progressive friends in relation to the subject of politics brought up in social contexts. And yet just as posited by Goodes in this film, It is in this realms that structural change can occur. Implementing far reaching change at a grass roots level. By turning not to politicians or the general powers that be. Instead turning to this around you

in your innermost circles to address the insidious effects of casual racism. Reflection: Bringing people together through common interests such as sports and culture at the social club has the potential to aid the breaking of boundaries in order to reduce ignorance and racism still so present in today’s society.

Above: Goodes calls out perpetrator of racist comment


Freedom Rides - Living Black SBS A commemorative piece celebrating the 50th year anniversary of the Famous Freedom Rides conducted by 29 students from Sydney University led by prominent indigenous activist Charles Perkins. The ambitions of this group was to publicly demonstrate the level of discrimination experienced by indigenous people around the country. Watching this was the first time that I heard about such actions of Australian individuals following the inspiration of similar deeds undertaken by the civil rights movement in the south of the in US 1961. Immediately this raises the question for me. Why is it that I would of learned about the apartheid in South Africa and the civil rights movement in the US through schooling and the general exposure to mainstream media and yet feel quite differently in terms of awareness and knowledge to the role of social rights activists in Australia? This leads me directly to feel that despite the work 9.

Ten Canoes - De Heer. R & Djigirr. P of so many inspiring leaders of social justice, there is still so much work to be done to shine a light on indigenous issues both past and present. Reflection: How might I as a uni student myself add (however small a contribution it may be) to this body of work and movement towards improving awareness and recognition of indigenous issues? Below: Charles Perkins desribes the actions of the Freedom ride as “One of the most important moments of my life”.

Below: Tribes work out ‘Makarrata‘ (Yolngu for ‘peace negotiations’.

This film By Rolf De Heer Peter Djigirr provides a compelling introduction to means of story-telling and traditional customs such as interpersonal and gender relations to the brokerage and maintenance of peace within different tribes. To me this work raises interesting questions whether it is right for a non-aboriginal person to tell an aboriginal story and if so what are the conditions that would make it appropriate? What emerges from background research about it’s makings, reveals a seemingly exemplary practice of community consultation and honest inter cultural exchange. Another prominent success of this film is avoidance of the sentimental and exclusionary nature of revering the ‘noble savage’. Using narrative techniques such as the humanity of humour reminds us that despite a vast chasm of distance between the contemporary non-aboriginal audience and the lives and customs of those on screen, shared universal qualities exist between all races, genders ages and cultures.

Reflection: If we are to be the ones retelling the story of another people through our own projects, this surely places responsibility on us to ensure the process behind this comes from a place of mutual respect and sharing. Not simply us benefiting from their knowledge. We must remind ourselves that the aim of our final projects is regularly about giving something back to the community. Not simply making ourselves an interesting portfolio filler. 10.

Black As - Batty, D Black As provides a witty description of some of the daily misadventures of 4 friends living in and around remote community in the NT. Interesting to note the 3 aboriginal men are Yolngu, just as those depicted in Ten Canoes. To me this offers an interesting lense towards comparison through the ages. From how life was in precolonial times to today. Here I feel one cannot help to notice both disturbing differences but also warming similarities. Principal amongst these are the principals of kinship and the tone of humour The success of this show proves to me that conveying a sense of culture and the everyday lives of aboriginal Australia does not have to be singularly through objective, cross referenced academic exploits. And that seeing the fun in some things goes a long way in engaging people and bridging cultural divides.


Above: The four friends embark on a hunting trip facilitated by a hybrid of traditional and technological means.

Reflection: The coldness and impersonal aloofness of certain architectural projects ring in my head. I see value in taking a lesson that my scheme and presentation should include moments of humour and joy. As the purpose of the club is for recreation, it seems only fitting.


Above: Residents march to commemorate 50th year anniversary of the Wave Hill Walk Off (image source abc.net.au)


The Gurindji People and Culture ‘Gurindji’ represents an indigenous language group coming from the upper Victoria River area in the Northern Territory. The Gurindji are part of the Ngumpin-Yapa group (or in today’s communities) ‘one mob’ with neighbouring Bilinarra, Nyininy, Mudburra, Malngin and Ngarinyman people. In fact ‘Ngumpin’ is the Gurindji word of aboriginal person. Warlpiri people have also lived with the Gurnidji since the Walk Off Era. Language and culture is shared between the various groups residing together today. (Reference source: Index, A Handful Of Sand, Ward, C)

Language is tied to land. Songs hold the keys to the stories and are used to pass down knowledge through complex social structures. (Reference source: pg 7- 8 Still In My Mind, Croft, B)

Creation stories told by the Gurindji tell of ancient beings traveling across the land creating tracks and songlines. Gradually these beings took the forms of the people, plants, animals and the land itself. The act of caring for these paths and maintaining the stories embedded in the land is highly important to traditional culture practiced through the ages and still today.


Above: Gurindji Women pass on knowledge through song and dance (image source abc.net.au)

Following tradition, everyone born in Gurindji country is given a skin-name. These names denote much of how people will relate to each other as family groups. Today the majority of Gurindji people (700 odd people) live in either Kalkaringi, which is the site of the first welfare settlement or Daguragu, the site of the first and-rights hand-back. The Gurindji are very proud of their traditional history but also the history of their land rights movement which, beginning in the 60’s paved the way for similar acknowledgments made by the Australian government in recognising indigenous people as the traditional owners of the land. These events are marked by the annual celebration of the Freedom Day Festival which is the highlight of contemporary life Reflection: Capturing the pride of the local people within our schemes and celebrating their history will hopefully lead to a successful and well received project. Additionally, whilst knowledge of the complex social structures are usually reserved, maintaining an awareness of these cultural

factors will be useful when we think about the appropriateness of our design work.



Above: Aerial showing location of Kalkaringi and Daguragu


Post - Colonial (Pre-Walk Off Era)

History - Colonisation / Invasion When the Gurindji first settled in the lands of the upper Victoria River is not precisely known. Yet it is suggested that it has been done so continually for tens of thousands of years. Like in all cases for the first nations people of Australia, colonization had devastating effects on the Gurindji people and lands. Explorers first arrived in the area in 1854. In 1883 the government of the Northern Territory granted a white drover Nathaniel Buchanan 3000 square km of land without the knowledge or conception of the local people. 1894 saw 13,000 cattle grazing. This completely disrupted the Gurindji methods of land management which was crucial to their subsistence. The increasing forceful presence of European workers further disrupted traditional ways of life and resulted in disputes and conflict between the Gurindji people and their white invaders.

Early records tell of massacres during the founding times of the Wave Hill Station. Gurindji elders recounted stories of how their people were shot mercilessly, raped and the women and children kidnapped during encounters with the encroaching pastorialists.

Below: Gurindji rest briefly in the heat of the working day. (image source: archives of the NSW art Gallery

The cattle associated with these stations caused immense damage to the carefully managed ecosystems within the area. Thus making living off the land impossible and further forcing the Gurindji to settle and work amongst their invaders. For almost a century that followed, aboriginal people become a vital part of the running of these remote cattle stations. This was the case for many of the aboriginal people of northern Australia. Conditions were very harsh and work life was dangerous. Accommodation consisted of scavenged materials and whatever could be thrown together to provide a minimal amount of shelter.

(Reference source: pg 11- 12 Still In My Mind, Croft, B) 17.

After the wholesale slaughter and dispossession of the land from the native people. The pastorialists such as Vestey’s forced groups of the surviving Gurindji to work in slave like conditions of poorly (or often free labour) on their cattle stations.

Above: map of recorded massacre sites

Reflection: We must pay respects to the legacy of atrocities committed and strive to memorialize the immense resilience of the Gurindji to survive and adapt to the hardships of post colonial life. Referencing their resourcefulness architecturally is a path I wish to explore. 18.

History - Walk-Off Era A Handful of Sand - Charlie Ward

Below:Vincent Lingiari and his fellow leaders discuss their plans

Charlie Ward’s book serves an as invaluable source on understanding the history of the walk off and the long struggle for Gurindji land rights and self-determination that followed. Published on the year commemorating the 50th anniversary of the walk off, A Handful Of Sand begins with the events of August 23rd, 1966 that saw Vincent Lingiari and his fellow Gurindji elders lead their people to walk off from their posts at Vestey’s Cattle station at Wave Hill. The authors then details how the Gurindji walk-off became a monuments event that inspired indigenous resistance to the oppression inflicted by the white man all around Australia. The readers attention is brought to the fact that the movement was supported crucially by the union movements, it was with the help of Individuals such as aboriginal and workers rights activist Dexter Daniels from Darwin that Lingiari and others such as Lupngiari became increasingly 19.

vocal in advocating for the fair treatment of Gurindji stockmen. When numerous attempts to negotiate increased pay were treated with contempt by the station managers of the area, the group of Gurindji leaders finally decided to take a stand and cease work.

Gathering support from workers rights and various other groups from around Australia, the next step was to begin the road to recognition that the Gurindji were the rightful owners of the land which they resided upon. However this was to be a 10 year ordeal that took it’s toll on many involved. Ward describes the immensely fraught political nature of the situation in which various government, legal, business, religious and advocacy organizations tussled between themselves whether to grant land and in which conditions this would occur.

The events that followed as described in the text, involved the trials and tribulations in the Gurindji attempt at autonomy. These included an emerging rift between the generations, a vast shortage in skills and knowledge and the fine line between support and dependence on kartiya assistance from down south. In the later chapters of the book, the delusions of the Gurindji old men in living out their ideals with future generations are laid out. This is as the horrendous effects of alcohol begin leaving their ugly marks on the community.

As well as the documentation of political turns of fortunate, the book also sets out many pressing issues faced by the Gurindji people during this period. These were unprecedented times that saw upheaval as Lingiari and company sought to establish a viable settlement of their own even after the symbolic gesture of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pouring a handful of sand through the fingers of Lingiari in 1975 to signify land rights hand-back.

Reflection: Many relevant lessons are to be learnt from the recent history of the Gurindji. We must note the continued resolve of the people towards self-determination and be mindful of employing strategies within our schemes that encourage community participation and building of skills and knowledge whilst being mindful not to perpetuate a legacy of dependence of assistance from outside. 20.

Kalkaringi Today - Arts and Culture

Kalkaringi Today - Overview May 2014 proved to the be the final culmination of the Land-rights Movement. With the federal court determining Native Title over the town of Kalkaringi to the Traditional Owners. It was then that the Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) was set up to be the ‘prescribed body corporate’. Though the town still falls under the jurisdiction of the Victoria-Daly Shire Council located 460km north in Katherine, this is a major step in the process of self-determination.

Today the town is home to around 350 people. With a community owned and operated store and petrol station. There is also a school, caravan park, police station and meat works. Daguragu, the site of the first handover, lays approximately 7km to the North-East. (See booklet part 2 for maps).

There are numerous successful artists in the town with the Karungkarni Art and Culture Centre being an important part of the community. Artists meet there to create work such as painting, wood carvings and screen-prints. Their work has been exhibited all around the country and sales contribute to their economic returns.

Reflection: Working on the club has the potential to give GAC another tangible success story. Something to show the powers that be that they can achieve powerful positive outcomes. Each project completed is proof to another step forward for the community. This serves as a motivating in my design process.

Above: Advocacy that has resulted in a successful return of the club to the community (image: GAC)


Above: Local artist paints a depiction of significant flora (I: Penny Smith)

The center also serves as a place where younger generations come to learn about traditional stories, culture and ceremonial history from their elders. Understanding and connection to country is still a big part of the lives of the Gurindji residents though non-indigenous ways are certainly a major part of day to day life. In consultation Double R spoke of young people being less interested in the old ways. Looking instead to the modern ways seen on television and their smart phones Reflection: As is the case all around the world, the continuation of knowledge and practice of traditional culture poses a significant challenge between generational divides. Here though I believe architecture can play a key role in creating the appropriate environments that facilitate this exchange. Instilling pride in history and connection to country through the spaces in which individuals interact is a key ambition of my scheme. This can be done by making architecture and landscape that brings joy and capture curiosity. 22.

Kalkaringi Today - Recreation

Below: Freedom sees a range of traditional and comporary performances

Kalkaringi Today - Development Below: Wave Hill ‘Bough Shelter’ pavilion.

Recreation activities include playing cards, camping and fishing trips, as well as keen participation in footy which benefits from a newly renovated oval. The basketball courts also provides a major source of activity with games under lights happening well in to the night. Gathering at the Warnkurr Social Club also provides a key social outlet for people all around the area.

GAC operates it’s own construction company and is expanding to be able to bid for and take on larger projects within the area. The recent Kalkaringi Multi-Purpose Court is a major achievement in partnership with outside assistance.

The annual Freedom Day Festival marks the high point for the life of the town with visitors coming from around the country to commemorate the walk off and origins of the Indigenous Landrights Movement. The weekend program attracts prominent musicians, artists and performers. The route of the Walk-Off itself is heritage listed and a project completed in 2016 in connection to Bower serves to mark it out to visitors


Above: The basketball courts are almost constantly active in the night..

Reflection: Care must be taken to preserve elements of the much loved exisiting club. Expanding it’s scope in order to facilitiate other recreational uses and events such as freedom day.

Previous projects in connection to Bower include an entrance to Karungkarni Arts, Shade structures and Bough Shelter Pavillions along the walk off route. There are new plans for a Cultural Centre and also a Family Centre.

Refection: Continuing the successful working relationship with the GAC building company means to me keeping the scope and detail of our main projects to something that is achievable yet detailed enpugh so as to offer an opportunity to expand skillsets and knowledge.


Kalkaringi Today - Economy / Industry

Below: The national park holds much potential for Eco-tourism

A large proportion of the area surrounding the town is used by cattle stations. Whilst providing the town’s main industry, it’s impacts on the environment are profound. Roaming cattle are the cause of soil erosion and wide scale damage to the local ecology. Annabelle, Emma and James shared anecdotes of just how notable it was to observe the difference in the landscape between areas where cattle were allowed to roam and where they couldn’t. Annabelle also recounted a memory of Double R explaining the difficult situation of having to decide whether to expand grazing area over sacred land. An unfortunate position which lead him unable to deign the economic necessity. Positively though, the town serves as access to the large Judbarra / Gregory National Park near by. This park is managed by Gurindji Rangers and the locals intend on encouraging a fledgling Ecotourism industry.


Reflection: The move to providing a base for Eco tourism could be a great source of economic diversification which may help to elevate the pressures of a destructive agricultural industry in the area. The redevelopment of the social club could serve as a key part of this process. Thus, whilst not the primary focus, it is important to ensure the design of the club appeals also to visitors.


Community Consultation Techniques Group 4. Canuto, Martin, Roper

Conversation - Alexander Giles

Conversation Summary

During the production phase of our documentary I was fortunate enough to have a contact with a friend who has worked in community consultation for the past 6 years. I firmly believe it is one thing to read things in academia but the clarity and honesty of being advised informally by someone cannot be beaten in it’s efficacy of conveying such subject matter as this so highly steeped in nuance.

Essential Within Consultation •Ascertain who will be making decisions; Individuals and Community group •Identify early the key stakeholders / who to consult •Establish a working group for continued consultation or work with an existing group •Where the funds are coming from is often a defining factor in who should be involved in the decision making

I would go on to suggest this idea has direct parallels to the very nature of successful consultation with indigenous people as advised in the literature and in in-class conversations. Where as the more official meetings are directly supported and complimented by informal conversations emerging from respectful and friendly relationships built over time with individuals and communities. What follows on the next few pages are a summary of our conversation and the pointers towards best practice.


Above: Alexander Giles has worked with the Central Land Council in the Northern Territory as a facilitator for consultaion for the the last 6 years

Best Practice •Be clear about the spectrum of involvement and encourage the highest level of control. A high degree of control (often) inevitably engenders more sense of ownership of the project •Approach of consultation: a mix of in meetings and out of meetings consultation can be very effective. •Out of meeting (sometimes “Pre Meeting Consultations”) are more casual, less politically charged and gives more time for questions. •Allows participants time to consider content of meeting and form positions before being in the space where the decision is ultimately made.

“No two consultations are the same. Each one requires a different approach.” - Alexander Giles Relationships Consultation by its nature emphasizes relationships. •Strong relationships develop; trust, comfortability, more inclined to ask questions, more likely to show up to meetings. •Embeds oneself in a social network which grants knowledge of what they are up to and where other key people may be. Gives a sense of whether you have the right people at the meeting and cultural reasons behind this. Communication Strategies •The most fundamental thing is to make sure everyone understands / is comfortable with language. if not get an interpreter. •Work out simple language to communicate. gives an example of realising organisation that he was working with had been using words for 1.5 years that the local people did not understand. •During questioning: Importance of silence / time to think of an answer. 30.

Conversation Summary •Move the power to the community Asking: “How, when, where do you want to do this? - to multiple people. Gives people control of all elements of the process. •Value of visual material: Maps, drawings (models). •Include photos of relevant precedents. •Map out step by step basis Be clear about all stages and the timeline. (serves to mitigate frustrations) Reciprocity • Ties in to the concept of demand sharing. • Being willing to share things again helps embed oneself into the social fabric. •Obligation to share on demand can also create issues. • Creating strategies for example where individuals don’t have access to funds directly but can only unlock these through a community benefit project decided upon by the various groups.


“No two consultations are the same. Each one requires a different approach.” - Alexander Giles When Things Go South •There is inevitably going to be difference in opinions. •The meeting can become a forum for airing grievances. Direct such moments towards the ‘Any Other Business’ section of the meeting. •Refer to ‘meeting terms’ stated earlier. •‘Risk Assessment’: TO’s will often be able to advise on broader community issues which may affect consultation. •ASK: “Is this a good time to have a meeting?” or “Should we have some smaller consultation?” Tips • Avoid ‘pre-designed’ projects • Try to be firm about decisions •Keep discussion on track. Stay on the program

Reflection: I found this conversation very useful in it’s personal, clear confirmation of much of the research undertaken by our group. I now believe I have a decent standing from which to undertake future consultations relating to my project.

Meeting Structure - Adapted From Central Land Council 1. Encourage attendees to inform if all relevant are present and if not where they may be. “Do we have all the right people with us today before we start?”

(If digression / other matters are raised not pertaining to the agenda of the meeting, refer to ‘Any other business’ at the end of the meeting. “We will deal with this at the end of the meeting.”

2. TO’s Welcome. Introductions who you are and where you come from. (often taken for granted.)

7. Actions. State summary of the meeting. What was discussed and decided

3. State Agenda for the day. Ask if good order?

8. Next steps. “We have a goal to now proceed in doing...”.

4. Chair for the day Often TO. Leader / Key facilitator. Work closely with the Chair to keep things on track. A mindful chair may start to swing direction. 5. Meeting terms. “What does a good meeting look like?” Leads to rules such as: speak one at a time, respect each other, don’t use the phone. What happens if there is an argument? 6. Core section of meeting. Go through the order of discussion points as stated in Agenda. Crucial to showing progress and maintaining interest.

9. Any Other Business 10. Close Meeting 11. Meeting feedback.

Reflection: Given the nature of consultation techniques being mainly based on principals, I feel it is very useful to have a structured framework to help understand how these may be actioned directly. 32.

Below: Previous Bower students present their designs to the people of Kalkaringi

Research Reflections Given the challenging and somewhat ill defined nature of the topic, the required research was certainly vast. To include all which informed our documentary would be an exhaustive process Therefore what follows is thus a selection of points in the research that shone through to me as most relevant to my project and process. Engagement Experience suggests that it is often best to start with small and achievable objectives, rather than trying to take on too much too early. Early successes often have a “ripple” effect, inspiring community confidence and motivating service Staff. https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/7d54eac8-4c95-4de191bb-0d6b1cf348e2/ctgc-ip05.pdf.aspx?inline=true

Reflection: Hence the benefit and opportunity to test ideas and presentation techniques via the design esquisse. Engaging successfully with Indigenous communities requires an appreciation of—and the cultural competency to respond to—Indigenous history, cultures and contemporary social dynamics


ahead, David responded with something along the lines of: I have made a deal with the people of Kalk and everything is set up. We will do everything we can and at least send the materials. It might not get built in April but we will build it at some point. I keep my word.

and to the diversity of Indigenous communities; valuing the cultural skills and knowledge of community organisations and Indigenous people

Reflection: Given the fact we will no longer be able to visit the town and learn from the people directly, this places empathises on the background research and absorption of culture through books, films, music etc. Additionally we must cherish what correspondence we do have RR, Phil, Penny Etc. Developing Relationships Ongoing connection, attending festivals, community events. Off - duty relaxation with Aboriginal people can help in the development of relationships which make work easier.

Reflection: This is a point also raised by A. Giles. However clearly our abilities to form these kind of working relationships have been all but removed. This being the case, it is clearly important to hinge on the connections already established by both the tutors and student mentors.

Building trust Consistency, follow through with promises, Keep your word long-term relationships of trust, respect and honesty as well as accessible, ongoing communication and information https:// www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/7d54eac8-4c95-4de1-91bb0d6b1cf348e2/ctgc-ip05.pdf.aspx?inline=true

Reflection: his makes me recall a conversation had with David just as we found out our plans were changing. When asked if the project would go

Time One of the most significant impediments to effective cross-cultural consultation is the limited time made available for consultation and decision making. The numerous constraints on effective cross-cultural communication including language, traditional restriction of information, unrepresentative opinion and cultural protocols necessitates a consultation process that is significantly longer than in more typical practices familiar to design consultants. Reflection: How might we reconcile this fact given the limitations of working within a constrained studio semester? The answer that comes to mind is simply what we must prioritise is not rushing the research phase and ensuring consultation is as thorough as possible. 34.

Research Reflections Reciprocity to achieve this, support agencies and Aboriginal people need to enter into a partnership where a balance between ownership and responsibility have both a public and a private benefit. Such a partnership needs to define common goals, to contribute knowledge and resources to the project and to provide all stakeholders the opportunity to be involved in decision-making

Reflection: It will certainly be my ambition to attempt to ‘design in’ reciprocal partnerships into the architecture of my scheme. At this stage I do not know what this may entail other than avoiding overly prescriptive and rigid features. Perhaps there will be a drive to propose multipurpose flexible elements which considers a variety of users and uses. I very much look forward to developing my ideas along these lines. Communication There is no literary tradition in the desert regions of Central Australia. Traditional communication is based on a complex oral culture, sophisticated 35.

sign and body language and limited graphic media including rock art and sand drawing (Walsh and Mitchell 2002).

Reflection: Here I perceive the directive towards using clear and straightforward language. Avoiding architectural jargon and also developing the simplicity of representation in drawing. Other than benefitting my work in this studio, I do feel this will be very effective training for my extended professional career.

Representation These techniques are effective in communicating the quantitative, physical and temporal relationships that pervade non-Aboriginal managerial systems. Of particular relevance are physical modelling techniques which are very effective in conveying planning and spatial concepts in consultation aimed at improving built environment outcomes (Gutteridge Haskins & Davey 1997).

arranging colored cards and boxes representing room layouts. Tangentyere Design established early on, a participatory planning approach to Aboriginal housing design. This practice advocates decision-making and control vested in the user/ client group, and focuses on the architectural design process to inform the product.

Reflection: Through the course of my education I have also come to the belief that it is definitely physical models that people from a nonarchitectural background are able to connect with most. Obviously the distance factor may effect this as a photo of a model tends to loose something. However, I am interested in how the physicality may be conveyed through video format.

Reflection: How might we establish a semblance of participatory design via distance? Perhaps we could organize some sort of simple design activity that members of the local people might enjoy engaging with without us needing to be there. I will pursue this idea and maybe run it by RR to see what he thinks.

https://www.ahuri.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/2829/AHURI_ Positioning_Paper_No72_Best_Practice_Models_for_Effective_ Consultation.pdf

Participatory Design: Memmott refers to the work of Tangentyere to participate in housing design through sketching in the sand and graphic techniques such as 36.

Cultural Competency

Below: Cultural Competency demands an understanding of a broad cross section of aboriginal societies

Cultural competence requires that organisations have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviours, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively cross culturally.’ (National Centre for Cultural Competence, 2006) Cultural competency considerations: • Restriction of information between genders. • Mixing with or approaching the opposite gender is disapproved of. • Avoidance relationships may exist between people that prohibit people from interacting and inhabiting the same room. • Eye contact can be considered rude • Human interaction and genuine connection is valued highly • Responsibility is shared amongst a variety of people. No one single person has the power to make decisions for the whole community. • Understand that silence is not a bad sign, respect it. Allow for silence to enable someone to think and make decisions. 37.

Additional factors identified in the documentary research we must keep in mind include:

Reflection: An understanding of cultural competency goes beyond the simple recognition of difference and asks us display the nous to operate between cultures and people with disparate values and ways of being. A firm degree of responsibility is placed on the individual to educate themselves about those you are consulting with beforehand. What this entails for us again goes back to ensuring the background research on Kalkaringi and the Gurundji is comprehensive. However, we must also prove we’ve learnt from this research and hence the value of this booklet and in-class

• Traditional hierarchies, and the decisionmaking processes they support, are linked to restriction of information between genders and between various levels of initiates (Gambold 2002). Meetings with groups or communities need therefore to achieve a balance between the old and the young and between genders. • The powerful people in the community will generally: • Not reveal their opinion until they have seen what the position of others are; • Make a final speech stating what they are prepared to accept and when appropriate make a call for action; • Remain silent if they think their views are unlikely to be accepted. Their silence will be noted by others in the community; • Remain silent if they don’t like an idea; and • There are exceptions to every rule and you may find that in fact, some powerful people in the community will challenge you immediately and expect immediate responses to their requests.


•You should not expect too many questions from people at public meetings. The reason for this is that in Aboriginal society, it is bad manners to be too curious or inquisitive. Aboriginal people resist answering too many questions because it goes against their idea of independence and privacy. Don’t make assumptions - and clarify throughout the process. Do not pose hypothetical questions. Aboriginal people deal in practical real issues. https://www.datsip.qld.gov.au/resources/datsima/peoplecommunities/protocols-aboriginal/aboriginal-protocols-forconsultation.pdf

Representation of one person is unlikely to be that of the whole group. This requires the participation of all family groups in any consultative process likely to affect it – a process intended to seek the opinions of all involved.


Cultural Centers - International The Cultural spaces doco by Alexia, Andrew and Sarah opened with a very clear introduction which set up their discussion points succinctly. In this regard I take note for our own doco. The Women’s centre by Yasmeem is an interesting example of architect as advocate for the improvements of impoverished people through a community space. This is achieve with engagement and understanding clearly the people, their requirements and local building techniques and materials.


Thread Artist’s Residency in Senegal appears as the direct antidote to the outcome of Piano’s project. The continued success of the community centre in adapting to local and visiting artist’s requirements is suggested to be routed in high levels of representation through all stages of design and construction. As well as the clever function of the building as a collection of water ensures the building remains a part of daily life for the villagers separate to the activities of the artist and community events. Renzo Piano’s Jean-Marie Tjibaou cultural center is especially useful to my own project as an example of how the complexities of catering to local needs and those of tourists can be balanced or in this case as Andrew suggests, imbalanced.

Reflection: The deep understanding of peoples needs, materials and building techniques should be applied. Whilst overstating the ability of iconic architecture to connect with diverse groups is to be avoided. beware the fine line between catering for local, goverment anwd tourist demands.

Rubin Rotman’s Annischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute appeals to me primarily for it’s ability to pay respect to traditions through it’s architecture whilst also facilitating contemporary activity.

Reflection: I think the incorporation of the double function of community space and essential service is a clever and I’d love to work something like this in to my own scheme.The balance of respecting traditions whilst allowing modern pursuits is an applicalbe aspiration


Memorial Landscapes


Damien, Gaby and Shalini’s useful breakdown of what creates the various subcategories were defined by: Historical events, physical intervention and temporary intervention aided my understanding.

Ngarara Place by Jefa Greenaway is an urban example of how aboriginal motifs may be represented in a constructed landscape. The endeavor to combine references to traditional aboriginal elements in a contemporary scheme is well worth noting in regards to my own project.

The Wantangi Treaty Ground example interested me for it’s value in becoming not only a place of commemoration but also continuing debate regarding indigenous, colonial issues.

In class discussion David raised the interesting point of the apparent theme of journey and movement in ideas of aboriginal landscapes.

Wave Hill Welfare Settlement, whilst generally evoking positive associations as the site of the land-rights claim and victory, I appreciated Shalini’s point that to the locals their on-going struggles remain deeply embedded in the landscape.

In using the example of Alianait I appreciated the recognition of a the idea that a cultural landscape can also occur in metaphysical space such as an arts festival where physicality if a factor yet not the defining feature. Relating to Freedom Festival and the social club in Kalkaringi.

Refletion: How might we seek to imbue our projects with some of the underlaying qualities of Kalkaringi which both capture the essence of historical events but also spark persistent reflection of present issues?

Reflection: Avoidance of clichés in representative design is useful in order to convey aboriginaity in non-culturally appropriative ways. Considering the metaphysical landscape of events will serve in the design of the social club for Kalkaringi 42.

Cultural Centres - Australian Bronte, Caleb and Hermione’s documentary seeks to explore the balance between architecture that is exclusionary to other cultures and one on the opposite side of the scale which becomes a pastiche of stereotypes capturing only the superficial attentions of tourists. Garma cultural center by Build Up Design is an example of architecture articulating an aboriginal narrative. As put forward by Caleb, this was facilitated by the high level of control granted to the Yolngu elders in the design process. In the example of the Karijini Cultural Centre however, consultation in the early stages of the project has not resulted in continued engagement. Becoming almost elusively used by tourists.

Reflection: It will be difficult to navigate granting the people of Kalk much control over our projects due to distance though understanding what it takes to translate consultancy in to on-going participation will be a key factor. 43.

Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre is one such examples where as the lengthy consultation period of 5 years has developed into a building which would appear to well appreciated by visitors and nearby residents alike. It is interesting to speculate if there is anything in the architecture that creates as opposed to Karijini or if it’s due to external factors such as full aboriginal staff employment or the balancing of professional and personal relationships through the process of design construction and occupancy. As studied previously, the Uluru Kata Juta visitor centre has not been so successful in achieving mutual engagement by all. And I note with interest the suggestion that the metaphoric quality of the building is missed by the common visitor.

Reflection: A primary emphasis on process and building relationships over time can be effective, yet the success of a project can only be measured post occupancy relevant to all intended parties. Additionally, metaphoric concept directives abound though these do not always translate. 44.

Re-Edit Process

Below: The Bower approach to consultation

Annabelle, Emma and I benefited greatly from a feedback session with James. He helped us understand that despite the subject being quite dense there could be a way to distill the key information put forward in our first draft. The importance of adding a personal angle on the topic was crucial to our reevaluation. Because of the overly objective tone, the result was rendered dry and thus difficult to absorb. Moving forward, rather than attempting to summaries the full breadth, we honed in on what we thought was particularly prescient to our own goals within the Bower studio scope. These included fostering relationships, collaboration and communication.

Reflection: The re-edit process was a great lesson in how to curate information and to present it in an evocative manner so that it is engaged with by a broader audience. I note significance to how the narrative will be constructed for my final presentation 45.

Below: Previous Bower students present their designs.


A R T C A R T - Karungkarni Art Centre

Design Research My research begun by identify and defining the needs. These were stated in the brief quite simply as a way to store and display the art of Karungkarni art centre. My immediate thought, like many of the other students was to combine these functions in to one design response. Before launching in with development I recognised the need to further understand the additional defining parameters. These were considerations such as, what type of art is produced within the centre, what is it about and how should it be stored safely.

Reflection: more time should have been spent in this section in order to limit the amount of assumptions I was working with. For example, are the canvases all framed? Is the work finished? Would it be useful to be able to store and display other items? Additionally, in my rush to start designing I perhaps overlooked looking in to the history of the art centre. I do wonder how it may of changing my thinking 49.

Below: Current conditions of the Art Centre clearly showing the necessities of the brief.

Material + Methodologies Research

Below: Entry to Karungkarni Art Centre Bower 2016

The brief, born out of the Karungkarni Art Centre engaged with in the 2016 Bower Studio Trip, naturally it was the place to begin with in researching relevant materials, technologies and cultural appropriateness. Successful approaches / features identified early within individual and in-class examination included: Modularity / simplicity - Ease of construction and reproduction, Below: Material and structural simplicity Durability / strength - Given the tough conditions and shortage of skills and materials to repair things, it is an imperative that elements are built to last. Flexibility - As a remote location lacking access to many of the goods and services we take for granted, If our designs can serve multiple functions and be adapted for future and perhaps unforeseen uses, this will naturally be appreciated. Restrained use of materials - Less varied components hopefully limits margin for error. 50.

‘Art Cart’ Design + Process

The enclosure of which could be opened and manipulated to suit the needs of displaying the artwork in the location of the artists choosing.

Based on the research and my desire to combine the functions of storage and display I came up with the idea of a flexible all in one unit. A kind of trolley that could be wheeled around as needed.


The hinged doors extend out into a variety of arrangements

When not in operation, this unit could be closed and locked up to provide secure and organized storage.


Below: It is proposed the Art Carts could be moved from the Karungkarni Art Centre on their wheels to and rearranged through the landscape to create many varied spatial experiences for the display and appreciation of the art.

‘Art Cart’ Design + Process The next step of the design process was to work out how this would function technically and what materials should be used. A simple material palette of perforated steel, plywood, hardwood and hinges from a conventional gate system were developed into a kind of abstracted interpretation of the bower art centre entry. It was my intention to think of the ‘Art Carts’ as continuation of the building in to the landscape

Extending the idea of abstracted forms in the landscape, I realised the ‘Art Carts’ could also serve a a organising spatial device. Allowing the flexibility for the artists to arrange the flow of their exhibition in whatever way they thought fit the work. Additionally it is hoped this could allow the viewer of the work to further their understanding of the subjects depicted



‘Art Cart’ Design + Process

Presentation + Feeback Usually I am quite confident in presenting my work yet this time presenting to penny I do feel as though I let myself down somewhat. Frustrated by the similarity of work across the studio group I let it effect my convictions in the merits of my design. Having said that, I do feel I managed to convey something of the qualities and points of difference that set my esquisse apart. This was its capacity as a spatially ordering device and also my inherent desire to extend the art in to the landscape. Engaging directly with the context that defines so much of life in Kalk.

The art was an abstraction and continuation of the landscape and the ‘Art Cart’ as an abstraction and continuation of the building 55.

Although feeling a little disappointed after the presentation, on my own reflection and the feedback from David and George, I do feel there are certainly ideas developed here that I shall take on and refine in my proposal for the social club. 56.

Class discussion + General feedback Over the course of the presentations, overall I was impressed by the quality of the designs and visual representation. Although there were noticeable similarities, each had a certain quality to it. Annabelle’s effort to produce 4 different ideas displayed the benefit of familiarity. As did Emma’s transportable modular unit. Yet here Penny raised some pressing issues such as fixing methods for the artwork Damien’s theatre inspired hanging piece was in my mind the most ambitious. Though whilst impressive, it perhaps suffered from being overly elaborate for the purpose and context of Kalk. I do however reflect that at this early stage, it does not hurt to have grand ideas and bring them back down to earth. Bronte’s consideration of adaptability was a strong point. Also Penny indicated the function 57.

of the draws to store other material such as paint would be a great feature. At this point James raised an important consideration of our assumption the art was all framed. This I believe would be the exact time of thing we should be eliminating in the design research phase. Indeed to the effect, Caleb’s incorporation of ledges for the display of other artifacts was certainly thoughtful. Gaby’s idea to combine the storage and display unit with a third function as a workspace was clever. Tyeing in to the need for maximum flexibility as identified in the research. Shalini’s collage style representation worked remarkably well and George picked up on this

stating the value of using the colours and textures familiar to the people of Kalk. Also alluding to the sequence of images from resolution first to development drawings second as being most effective. Both I will be mindful of in future presentations of my work.

metal in the hot climate. Effectively rendering the ability to touch a surface impossible without hand protection. And without a doubt a key consideration to take over to subsequent projects, especially the low lying social club, is the awareness of massive flooding.

I also noted the favorable quality ‘roughness’ to hand sketches. Suggesting room for additional external input and change. In the closing feedback David and James both highlighted the benefit of pragmatism and resolution relating of the buildability of the designs. Obviously a key factor in both my own design thinking and the principals of the studio. Penny in closing, again raised some telling issues that might of otherwise been overlooked such as the practicalities of using 58.

Design Introduction


Today we were introduced to the design of the shade structures intended to be built in the course of our visit to Kalkaringi. The idea of which as explaned by David, was somewhat derived from the pavillions at Wave Hill. Whilst the pavillions were about enclosing the story of the the Gurindji, these shade structures are about opening up and welcoming people to the future community centre.

Although a little rough, these models did a great job of helping me understand a little more of the scope of our project and also the kind of materials and structural technology that are appropriate and applicable for use within this studio.

Below and Across: Photographs of the models convey form, materiality, struture and the quality of shade.


Structural Presentation - Arup Engineers

Key Considerations - Arup

Following our introductions to the design, we were joined by Engineers from Arup who gave a presentation explaining their calculations and specification of structural members. Something I found intriguing was their considerations of both buildability and transport in their thinking. Taking into account the difficulty of construction within a short time frame and in such an inaccessible location for machinery. An example of this were the concrete footings. Which, given their requirements responding to high wind loads in the openness of desert, had to be quite substantial. Recognizing the time it would take the student workforce to mix the concrete on site, curing and quality control issues, it was decided to specify precast concrete pads. These would be transported ready to placed and fixed in to.

• Maximum member size for design intent (150EA) • Construction process - Manual labour to be considered - Weight of members to be as light as possible - Pad footings to only extend 300mm into ground to minimise digging - Concrete pad footings to be precast to avoid mixing large quantities by hand

Reflection: Overall I left the meeting feeling as though I had a new understanding of some of the complexities both of designing and building in tough conditions. 61.


Governing Criteria - Arup

• High wind loads due to terrain category resulting in: - Large overturning moment - High lateral deflections • Screens removed on the top face and permeability of material increased for the remaining screens to reduce the wind load


Column Design - Arup

• Central columns support the largest tributary area of load hence are required to be larger than the edge columns. • Instead of using a 200EA member, we designed the central columns to be 2 sections welded together. This allowed us to keep the weight of individual steel elements down and also maintain the design intent of having the maximum section sizes to be 150EAs.


Pre Transport Preparations Our next task was to prepare our materials for transportation. Cutting the large quantity of steel taught me a new practical skills but also gave me an insight in to the clever thinking required to get things built in the outback. First the dimensions of a shipping container determine the maximum dimension of members and secondly, as we would be constructing this largely by hand, elements must be kept light and easy enough to maneuver. Reflection: Although only a few hours of work, my awareness to factors impacting design outcomes certainly increased.


Left: Container filled with structural steel and perforated mesh for the shades. Centre: Labour of cutting steel to size. Right: An informal design meeting. Thinking on the fly.

Covid 19 Reflection


Despite the lack of physical contact I felt there was certain type of bonding between students and tutors that came from our being invested in our task beyond simple self centered educational interest. Perhaps the notion that we were endeavoring to make a tangible contribution to the lives of others aided this process Regarding my general outlook I unfortunately could not erase the thought that there is a certain type of understanding of a person or cultural situation that one can only come to understand from being in a place physically. I can relate this feeling to my previous international travels. The experience of which I believe grants one a special kind of lense in which to perceive ones first hand perspective but also through which to analyze secondary information such as books and films on related topics.

of conversation. I think this speaks somewhat to how much is communicated beyond the usual senses of site and hearing. A reduced sense of body language is one that stands out to me. Despite the difficulty posed from not being able to visit the community ourselves, I do feel fortunate to have been pared in a group with both Annabelle and Emma at various stages. Their first hand accounts and knowledge have provided a welcomed perspective and a sense of the issues at hand that I simply could not ascertain without being amongst the people myself .

Whilst online consultations with Phil, Penny and Double R have been both enlightening and entertaining, I felt there has been something very important missing from the subtleties and nuance 68.




leif canuto




01. Targeted Research

04. Precedents Presentation

- From Hunting to Drinking. McKnight, D pg. 4 - 5 - Teaching ‘Proper’ Drinking. Brady, M pg. 6 - 7 - Outback Architecture. Iredale Pedersen Hook pg. 8 - ‘Country’ excerpt from Still in my mind: Gurindji experience, location and visuality. Croft, Brenda pg. 9

02. Initial Brief + Consultancy -

Project Partners - Stakeholders pg. 11 Meeting with Phil Smith + Double R pg. 12 Initial Brief pg. 13 Initial Consultation - Reflection pg. 14

03. Precedents Studies - Yulara Resort pg. 18 – 21 - Naidi Community Hall pg. 22 – 26 - Group Discussion – Gaby pg. 27 Group Discussion – Annabelle pg. 28

- Preparation - First presentation pg. 32 - Preparation - Second presentation pg. 33

05. Site Analysis - Site Analysis Overview pg. 35 - Site Analysis Surrounding Club pg. 36 - Site Analysis - Existing Conditions pg. 37 -39

06. Schematic Design -

Finding Inspiration in the landscape pg 41 First Thoughts - Arrival pg. 42 Reflecting History & Place pg. 43 Shade Structures - Sketch Model pg. 44 - 45 Spatial Planning pg. 46 -47 Spatial Planning Existing pg. 48 Experiential Qualities pg. 49 Spatial Planning Continued pg. 50

07. Concept Presentation -

Concept Diagrams v1 pg. 53 Development - entrance pg. 54 - 55 Concept Diagrams v2 pg.56 - 57 Concept Presentation - Group pg. 58 Concept Presentation - Reflection pg. 59 Presentation Exercise Model Development pg. 60 - 61

08. Design Development -

Developing Spatial Resolution pg. 63 Family Cooking and Games Area pg. 64 Interim Presentation Reflection pg. 65 Design Workshop pg. 66 - 67 Design Workshop Expressive Architecture pg 68 - 69 - Blade Walls pg. 70 - 71 - Inspiration - Victoria River pg. 72 - 73

Country pg.74 - 75 - Spatial Planning Continued 76 - 77 - Arrival pg 78 - 79 - Family Games / Cooking Development pg. 80 - 81 - Redevelopment - Existing Areas pg. 82 -83

09. Engineering + Construction -

Engineering / Construction Workshop pg. 85 Workshop pg. 86 Workshop Fixed Furniture pg. 87 Workshop - Tensile Membrane Structure pg. 88

10. Design Presentation -Design Presentation 91- 111

From Hunting to Drinking - McKnight David Anthropologist David McKnight here details an account of the ‘devastating effects’ alcohol can effect on a aboriginal communities. Whilst focusing on the local people of Mornington Island QLD, themes raised have relevance to similar historical and continued legacies in places all around Australia. The author begins by chronicling the history of aboriginal people being removed from their traditional ways of life, controlled by paternalistic missions and exposed to the detrimental habits of non-aboriginal fellow cattlemen. The massive rift caused by disrupted family and cultural lives led to something of an identity crisis for many aboriginal men and women. Systemic generational issues such as lack of parenting skills and self reliance resulted. Since the 1960’s when aboriginal people where (supposedly) given more control of their lives, alcohol restrictions were lifted including within missions and government settlements. McKnight marks this time as the turning point that paved the way for drinking becoming the main social activity and remaining traditions to weaken. Going on to 4.

highlight the connection to increased violence, rape , self-mutilation, murder and suicide.

In the example of Mornington Island, it is clearly shown how the unrestricted availability of alcohol can largely destroy or deeply effect almost all aspects of life within remote towns and settlements. From child rearing to health outcomes and interpersonal relationships. Highlighted within the text are certain glaring roadblocks that prevent or minimize the incentives to take meaningful action in order to improve the situation. These include conflicts of interest resulting from ownership on behalf of the council which in many places comes to rely on the income generated by the sale of alcohol. Towards the later chapters, Mcknight suggests that decentralized regulation and management by aboriginal people themselves, could have potential positive impacts. If only as an experiment , it can only be better than what still plays out in contemporary times

Reflection: The problems of alcohol abuse and resultant issues within aboriginal communities is a truly vast and complicated matter. Attempting to summaries this topic would be an onerous task. Yet forming an instructed understanding of the complicating factors is without a doubt one of the most important tasks towards our process of designing a socially sensitive and appropriate redevelopment of the social club. As raised in the text, if we manage to reorient the focus of the club such that individuals from Kalkaringi can take an interest beyond drinking, The delivery of the project could lead to positive hard and soft outcomes.


Teaching ‘Proper Drinking - Braddy, M This book by Maggie Brady details the history and outcomes of certain strategies developed intending to reduce the detrimental effects of over consumption of alcohol In aboriginal communities. The idea that rather than an outright ban on alcohol, controlled sales could serve to improve unhealthy relationships with consumption begun in canteens and clubs in the 70s and 80’s. It’s central tenet being that regulation could assist in suppressing binge drinking and teaching so called ‘modern’ drinking habits. Underpinning the strategy of having licensed clubs and hotels within aboriginal settlements, aspirations of ‘social enterprise’ was intended to also benefit the community by controlling the income generated by alcohol sales. Which in turn could be reinvested in increased services and development. Brady suggests that the notion that aboriginal people could be directly involved in control, rules and the shaping of environments conducive to social drinking habits represents ‘self-determination’. Despite well-meaning intentions, these strategies also led to problematic outcomes highlighted by certain flaws. These included failures to consider issues such 6.

as disproportionate gender representation between drinkers and non-drinkers, and crucially that clubs were being shaped by drinkers to suit only drinkers rather than the larger community.

The example of the Murrinh Patha Social Club in Wadeye serves as a distinctly relevant case study to our own projects. It’s foundation was based on the ideals of creating a place that combined music, entertainment, food and family areas with restricted sale of alcohol that ‘created pride in something good. (Leary et al 1975). The author goes on to explain that in early years the club functioned well as a social hub under committed management and rules set out by local aboriginal people. Yet over time relaxation of these rules and changes in management led to deterioration of the atmosphere in which binge drinking became a regular occurrence and it’s associated detrimental effects on violence and social cohesion. This ultimately led to such resentment that the club was destroyed by the community. Reflection The ideas within the text have direct relevance to the brief and concept directive imparted by both Double R and Phil. Creating family friendly atmosphere and an environment that shifts the

singular emphasis of the club from providing alcohol towards a place of inviting surroundings with music, entertainment, food and the social functions associated. The book further supports plans to interweave social enterprising aspirations from the profits towards broader benefits for the people of Kalkaringi as an example of selfdetermination. However as in the case of the Murrinh Patha Social Club in Wadeye, well-meaning intentions, management and spatial interventions must consider sustainability over an extended timeframe. This reminds me that architecture is never entirely the solution to complex social issues. Though it can go a ways to create the environment that encourages positive engagement and a lasting sense of responsibility through pride taken by the individuals in key management roles.


Outback Architecture: Iredale Pedersen Hook This essay by the founder of Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects shares some lessons from their projects undertaken for aboriginal communities in the outback.

Country - Croft, Brenda L The concept of cultural surveillance also connects to Annabelle and David’s observation about people at the club. I will be sure to factor this in to my spatial planning.

The authors start by linking cultural competency with empathy. Speaking to their ambition to always begin with spending time to become aware of language, custom and culture of their clients before engaging in their design work. This they say helps to avoid unhelpful assumptions about how people will want to use their buildings. Which of course determines the success of the finished product.

Country represents many things. Encompassing locations, laws and customs, language, cultural and spiritual beliefs and practises.To Croft Country also represents someone’s place, home and very identity. Country also stores all knowledge and holds the key to physical and emotional wellbeing. It is a living breathing thing which nutures all things in all time.

The IPH then go on to explain a range of observations they’ve made regarding culturally appropriate design. Principally of interest to me was the idea of ‘cultural surveillance’. This is the act of watching the comings and goings. A practice that seems to be ingrained in aboriginal people from all around the country.

Reflection: Whilst I may have only gathered an very basic understanding of the importance of connection to country, through this semester at least I I feel I have a conception of just how significant it is. My design thinking therefore extends to: Creating any oppurtunity for the Gurindji to keep that connection strong is surely a worthwhile endevour.

Reflection : Much of what is discussed from the architect’s experience confirmed to me lessons learnt whilst researching our doco. With the added value of it coming from a design professionals perspective. 8.

Brenda L Croft is an Aboriginal women of Gurindji heritage. She works as atist, curator, writer and educator. In her essay on country she seeks to give an explanation of this term so regularly used by the indigenous people of australia.

Above: Walumba Elders Centre (image: LPH)


Project Partners - Stakeholders


In the development of our social club project, the main body we were to collaborate with is the Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation (GAC). GAC represent the native title holders of the surrounding area. It is their central ambition to improve the social and economic wellbeing of the community whilst maintaining Gurnidji cultural heritage. GAC are a relatively new body founded after the Federal Court Hearing in may 2014. Through the management of native title agreements and collaborations with outside agencies there aims include upgrading community facilities enjoyed publicly by the townspeople. This in our case is represented by the redevelopment of The Warnkurr Social Club. Bower have a well established working relationship with GAC them having undertaken projects with them in 2016,, 2018 and 2019.


Initial Meetings - Phil Smith + Double R

Initial Brief

Our consultation process begun with our meeting of two key figures Phil Smith (CEO) and Rob Roy (Double R) involved in the running of GAC. These were Phil Smith the CEO and Rob Roy (Double R). As well as being employed by GAC Both are passionate members of the community and also quite importantly, frequent patrons of the club. As was highlighted by my research into community consultation for the doco, it can be highly beneficial to the process and outcome of the project to involve people with ‘skin in the game’ as Noel Perason (prominent aboriginal rights activist) says.

Three Key Points From the client:

Our projects coincided with a move by GAC to take over the ownership of the club from the Victoria Daly Council and so both Phil and Double R were very excited at the prospect of improvements. Both had numerous initial suggestions and so from this process of conversation we were able to formulate a brief of functional requirements. (see page over.) 12.

- Must serve Alcohol - Must serve Food - Ensure security

Secondary points:

Family friendly threshold between drinking area and outside area for children, located behind the pub. To erase the ‘prison feel’ that currently surrounds the space Ability to temporarily shift to host the Freedom Day Festival Sign-age for tourism A little stage that’s indestructible, with built-in equipment inaccessible to public Needs to deal with yearly flooding. External Space Behind the Club: Second eating area for children Access to the food servery Shade Seating

“Making it not just a place about alcohol, but rather linking it into the broader community” - Phil Smith Table tops Games (eg. playground/ping pong) Needs to be ‘bulletproof’ Run down bitumen tennis court behind the bar Views from the northern side quite good


Accessible by both the drinking area and the children’s area Needs to be able to be managed by 2 people at once Security box Sign in Breath test Staffed by two people Freedom Day Festival Club acts as toilets, meals, and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the festival Double gates toward oval open up People don’t usually hang around for too long around the bar during freedom day festival. 13.

Initial Consultation - Reflection What stood out to me from Phil was the pragmatic requirements of ensuring toughness and durability were prioritized. In response to my question regarding having flexible and movable components within the scheme, he stressed the prevalence of low maintenance budgets, shortage of staff and the somewhat inhospitable weather conditions of Kalkaringi. All are factors in things often being broken and thus rendered useless. These comments supported some of the learnings from the Design Esquisse in earlier weeks and affirmed my path in beginning to think about appropriate materials and technologies. Double R’s perspective was particularly useful in developing my idea of what might be culturally appropriate design strategies. At one point in the conversation he made clear the directive to ensure spaces where open and not overly restricted visually. Explaining that jealous can be an issue within the community. The theme of people observing one another and the general comings and goings of the club was supported by Annabelle’s observation that at the club patrons 14.

generally rearranged the furniture in order to sit along the perimeter looking inwards.

Double R also imparted some valuable insight into the kind of aesthetic direction which would be likely to be appreciated by the community. This included the interplay of light and shade and the mixing of modern sensibilities and the veneration of historical structures from the walk off era. These ideas would go on to be the foundation of much of my design thinking

Yulara Resort - Cox Architects Yulara, NT - 1984


Naidi Communti Hall - Caukin Studio Naidia, Fiji - 2018

Yulara Resort - Cox Architects

Left + Rught: Sketches produced by the architects convey the manner in which the form and layout of the planning derives from the patterns and contours of the sand dunes surrounding the site.

A problematic yet intriguing example of architecture for outback conditions and it’s sociopolitical and economic outcomes for the local people

in describing the walk off and ambitions of the people to start their own cattle business, effectively co-opted and reversed their dispossession. (Refer pg 39)

Originally intended almost exclusively for the recreation of tourists. Whilst this largely remains the case, Yulara has increasingly become a space adopted and used by indigenous people. From the kids using the public pool to the near 50% employment of staff.

Granted the fraught nature of it’s initial development on effectively stolen land, the design and construction of Yulara also holds within it some well meaning and thoughtful intentions relevant to our own social club project.

Despite these apparent improvements I am predominately interested in the idea reversing the realities of the resort and asking; ‘What if the Kalkarinji Social club was primarily for the local people yet gradually encouraged visitors to stay a while longer in town?’ Could this eventuate in notions of grass roots reconciliation steeped in informal and mutually beneficial partnerships?

Below: Entry to one of the hotels contained within the resort

The idea behind this precedents study is largely born out of the history of the Gurindji as described in ’A Handful of Sand’ By Charlie Ward. Who 18.


Yulara Resort - Cox Architects With specific relevance, the Resort does succeed in managing a variety of programmatic functions such as restaurants, bars, media rooms and outdoor recreation facilities which cater to all ages. This is obviously an ambition of the brief and also my own thinking.

Firstly, the design process was one of the first well documented instances of community consultation. With the ambitions of creating local employment possibilities from the outset. This I feel is certainly a factor I am interested in exploring. articles/2019national-architecture-awards-enduring-architecture/

Architecturally speaking, Yulara Resort can be posited as an example of sustainably minded, site specific, culturally responsive expression. Local conditions are the primary conceptual directive just as are my own. Hardwearing, climate responsive tactics such as the use of extensive sun shading, high thermal mass and respectful integration in to the site contours are high on the agenda. Though the scheme seeks to express an Australian disposition, it is negligible whether it expresses an aboriginal element within it. I am interested in how this dynamic may be revaluated in my own scheme. 20.

Above: Critical vernacular of colonial Australia yet does this reflect anything positive to the local people and their own way of life?

Another point of interest is how the overall layout of the resort meanders through the site and manages to create a predominately inwardly facing reprieve from the desert whilst also addressing connecting views to the landscape. These are moves which I feel are applicable to the social club and I intend on studying them further.

Reflection: In the class discussion George raised the success of presenting the big idea first before breaking down the steps in order to achieve this. As a class we also discussed the difficulty of achieivng the fine balance between catering too heavily on the locals or the tourists towards the detriment of the other. I acknowledge this challange and believe it will be something to be very mindful of throughout my design process. I was pleased that the impetus from Phil and RR to have the social club function as a interface between visitors and locals was acknolwedged in my choice of precendents

Across: Inwards facing aspect wrapping lush grassy areas. Above and Across: Map displays the wide viareity of amenities.


Naidi Community Hall - Caukin Studio In choosing this precedent I thought it would be interesting to see what might be some of the underlaying fundamentals behind creating well designed socially activated places across cultures and local conditions. Naidi community hall also interests me as a precedent of student led design build engagement. Additionally, I hoped this study might reveal what might be some of the success and downfalls of people practising architecture in a foreign environment to our own sensibilities and ways of life. I perceive much to learn in these regards. Especially given we will not be fortunate enough to visit and experience the place our design is intended for. As opposed to Yulara Resort, the smaller scale of this building lends itself to a more detailed tectonic study of what practically works and what doesn’t. I am interested in bigger picture thinking though it is of primary concern that I also don’t lose sight of buildability in the process. This 22.

thinking commonly supports my design thinking though I feel it was cemented in a class discussion in which George, James and David recounted the Kalk community’s gravitation towards a mixture of grand yet achievable ideas presented in previous student projects. Below: The community hall becomes a social hub in times of celebration. I would like to propose the Kalkarinhi social club could function similarly. Not only during Freedom Festival

The Naidi community hall was designed and built to replace a previous hall destroyed by a cyclone. Funded by humanitarian groups, Caukin’s ideology driving this project was one of collaboration and engagement with the local people. Their ambition is to improve social, environmental and economic conditions through architecture. Thus aligning firmly with my own wishes for the social club.

Above: Students and locals collaboratively labour fostering close

Learning from traditional ways of life and adapting the building to suit, at every stage Caukin sought the involvement of the local people. Just as we hope to do with the people of Kalk

Above: Students work with prefabricated timber trusses saving time and compenstating for lower level of carpentry skills.


Naidi Community Hall - Caukin Studio

Adjacent and Below: The multipurpose space facilitates such activities are craft and communal daycare in a social setting.

the Design Esquisse activity and shall certainly factor in to my project.

Below: Diagram indicates how the architects incorporated modern building techniques in to a structure clearly inspired by traditional precedents Below: Section shows tectonic and spatial qualities. Interior spaces are keep light and airey for tropical conditions

However, whilst acknowledging the benefit of flexibility George and David highlighted the challenge of enabling people to take ownership of an apparently generic space. Also encouraging me to note the complexity of cultural factors such as avoidance and inter-gender relationships perhaps which will need to be taken in to account when considering the use of large open areas.

A strength of this precedent is the notion of flexible non prescriptive space. This allows for a wide variety of programmatic functions to occur within. Given the nature of the brief I feel it would be great to create architecture that allows the user to choose how to use it rather than being paternalistically dictated by potentially ill informed time and place specific features. These ideas have a direct correlation to the learning uncovered in 24.

I am drawn to the manner in which the building manages to be contemporary whilst retaining aesthetic and pragmatic qualities that appear sympathetic to local culture and conditions. The structural design and materials are simple yet put together with considerations of beauty related to the sensibilities of the end users. Discussions of why this may or may not be important came up in our discussion of Annabelle’s work. See group discussion page. The hall incorporates numerous environmental

considered strategies. These include lightweight materials throughout whilst elevating the building and utilizing operable wall and window panels to promote shade, passive ventilation and cooling. Using local un-milled timber for the main structural posts reflects well environmentally and creates a sense of cultural continuity with the surroundings. The ambition to consider climatic and cultural continuity through tectonic qualities certainly resonates with me.


Naidi Community Hall - Caukin Studio Reflection: In my presentation I made the mistake of stating that the building was a contemporary interpretation of existing structures. Whilst true in the case of Naidi Fiji, with David’s guidance I was led to see the flaws in making such claims without relevance to our project itself. Stemming from this and our discussion about Annabelle’s precedent Gunbalanya Social Club my thinking moved towards an understanding that my goal needn’t be an interpretation of a largely absent built tradition (in our case) but instead could prioritize architecture which is aims to be innately sympathetic to local conditions and cultural sensibilities. I also came to the realization during George’s feedback that there is a necessity to provide a variety of expansive and smaller breakout spaces in order to cater for the needs and complex social dynamics of the Gurindji. Across: A hybrid asethetic of modern yet traditional themes


Below: Operable wall panels allow a certain degree of control for the users yet is this sufficient?

Group Discussion - Gaby I feel Gaby’s choice of the two pavilions succeeded in promoted close investigation into the finer aspects of spatial quality. I was quite interested in the Krakani Lumi pavilion’s ability to create a diversity of private, semi-private and public space through the users choice. This is enabled by movable panels which function to enclose the arched opening. George noted the capacity of these features to cater for various avoidance relationships existing within the Kalk community. I was especially drawn to the ‘prospect and refuge’ potential this structure provided. A literal cave. This I believe is the kind of thing that was missing from my precedent studies and should be incorporated into my final scheme.

Below: Krakani Lumi - Taylor Hinds Architects. An interpretation of seasonal shelters of Tasmania’s first peoples.

Below: Section indicates the manner in which the user can control their level of privacy

The Ganalili Centre example interested me mostly due to it being an aboriginal owned and operated business which manages to juggle social and economic concerns. This is directly applicable has direct relevance to my own ambitions for the social club and encourages additional research in how this occurs. 27.

Class Discussion - Annabelle The Gunbalanya Sports and Social club has clear connections to the programmatic functions of our own brief in that it provides performance areas, food, games rooms and a good mixture of indoor and outdoor areas of seating for the consumption of alcohol. However as Annabelle indicated in her presentation, there is little significance in the architecture and quality of space that relates anything about the users own culture and sense of being. In the case of the Punmu and Parnngurr there has clearly been at least an attempt to ‘beautify’ and make the otherwise dull prefabricated building reflect it’s place. Whether this has been successful was up for debate in class and both Annabelle and David highlighted the missed opportunity to integrate the building in to the landscape. Softening the exterior and conveying it was a pleasant space to occupy. The question of whether a building has to be beautiful to be successful was then posed. This led me to concur that a sense of beauty has the capacity to instill pride and a sense of ownership of the project by the local users and would 28.

therefore make it more likely for it to succeed in its purpose as a social space.

Above: Punmu and Parnngurr aboriginal health centre attemps to make an otherwise dull building reflect it’s context

Across: Gunbalanya Sports and Social Club. Image shows a perhaps lacking quality of architecture yet clearly used well and appreciated


Bower Studio 2020

warnkurr Social club design ideas


Annabelle Roper, Damien Cresp, Leif Canuto, Gaby Miegeville-Little

Preparation - First Presentation In the first step of the collaborative design process with GAC, myself and the Warnkurr Social Club group attempted to distill key design ideas we discovered in our precedents research that may be relevant to our brief. These were to be presented so as to stimulate discussions about what may or may not be applicable for the specific requirements and circumstances of the club. We structured our presentation so that it offered a spectrum of choices with a middle ground. This was done in the belief that it would aid in drawing out preferences. The 4 main catergories of inquiry were: Social - Bussiness, Locals - Visitors, Open Closed, Fixed - Moving. Reflection: After the first presentation to Phil, I was left feeling quite limited in the scope of design projects. The tone of the conversation of the feedback from Phil felt quite cautionary and restrictive. Yet it was with the assistance of the tutors that I became aware this was likely due to him not personally relating to the content. This was a key learning applied to subsequent work where attention was paid to making it specifically relatable to the people and place of Kalkaringi. 32.

Below: Slides taken from the initial precedents presentation. Whilst honing in on key ideas, overall they lacked a relatable quality to our collaborative partners

Second Presentation Below: An excerpt from the Family / Social Section

In class and through more constructive conversations between group members we were able to take time to refine our presentation. Attention was taken to present the key ideas within the precedents and not neccessarily the precedent buildings themselves. Rather than putting forward spectrums alone, we intermingled our slides with discussion points. This seemed to stimulate conversation with Double R far more than than our first attempt with Phil. This time around our collaborative partner was full of enthusiam and ideas. Reflection: The move to include images of people and places double R was familiar with paid off. This provides great guidance for how we might plan our final design presentations.


Walk-Off Route

Meat Works

Future Family Centre

Lingiari’s Grave Warnkurr

Daguraru road 7km

Warnkurr Social Club



Victoria River

Buntine Highway Karungkarni Art Centre

Buntine Highway

Karungkarni Hills

Possum Hill Victoria River

Site Analysis Kalkaringi Overview 35.

Site Analysis - Existing Conditions

views Walk-Off Route

Although challenged by not being able to visit the town itself. The importance of solid analysis and evaluation of site conditions was recognized. Fortunately the past experiences of tutors and Annabelle proved a very useful resource.

Lingiari’s Grave


The use of aerial imagery was central to my process and indeed became a major source of inspiration to the development of my concept.

tennis court

freedom day stage Victoria River parking

Zooming in to the immediate area of the club, pedestrian access, parking and general features were recorded.

pedestrian route


Karungkarni Hills

Site Analysis Surrounding Club 36.

Beginning at the level of the town, my first step was to familiarize myself to the geography both man made and natural. Key locations were mapped out as well as significant cultural places of the Gurindji.

The sun path was calculated such that it could inform my thinking in regards to ESD and appropriate spatial / functional planning. Through consultation and in inclass discussions, climatic response was highlighted as above all else the most important consideration.

Beer Garden shaded by overhanging roof and some uninspiring structures (image source Gemma 2019).


Site Analysis - Existing Conditions “The climate is subject to monsoonal influence, but the distinct seasonal patterns of wet and dry do not strictly occur. The annual rainfall is between 400 – 500mm, most of which falls in December, January and February. The hottest months are December and January with temperatures averaging 36 – 39 degrees. Of course, monsoonal rainfall cools things down to a large degree when it does fall. The cooler months of June and July are very pleasant with temperatures averaging 24 – 27 degrees maximum and 9 – 12 degrees minimum.” - Karunkarni Arts Website

Site Analysis - Existing Club Taking a closer look at the existing club now, in class we discussed the functional issues of the club. Principal amongst them was the inappropriate location of the female toilets. We also discussed the largely disoccupied outdoor area to the east. Exterior Conditions (image source Annabelle 2019)

Not having experienced the place or climate definitely raised some challenges in my understanding. Instead photographs and anecdotes informed the thinking. Consultation with Phil and Double R did however help fill the gap somewhat given their extended knowledge and familiarity with the conditions.

Here I begun thinking about simple cost effective changes to improve the club such that the majority of future budgets could be spent on new facilities to engage the broader community. Floor Plan of the existing club (drawn by Damien and marked up according to David’s

Whilst the existing club perhaps didn’t appear to be anything particularly special, what emerged in conversations was a deep love of the space on behalf of it’s patrons. This felt like a good point to start with. 38.

Another major issue was the location of the servery. Given it could only be accessed from within the drinking area, this meant that kids would often gather around the permimiter fence and harass the adults inside to pass food over.


Interior Conditions (image source Bowen 2019)


Finding Inspiration in the Landscape

Below: A traced aerial photo reveals lines, patterns and forms in the landscape. Reflecting the tradition of aboriginal artists abstracting nature, my goal is to devise my own way of doing so.



Reflecting History & Place

First Thoughts - Arrival Below: Kalkaringi Hills (Photo: Jamie Neil)

As identified during consultation, one of the first issues to tackle was how to make the club feel more inviting. And in the words of Double R, less like ...‘Fort Knox’.

Building upon my research in to the history and culture of the Gurindji I resolved to explore how the resilience and ingenuity of the people in the Post-Colonial era could be captured in my architecture.

The current barb-wire topped fence not updated since the 90’s does little to make the club seem welcoming. For me this task seemed to be the natural place to start thinking about the brief in general. Leading my thinking towards the experience of arrival. In the proposed sketch model I drew upon the traced aerial for inspiration. Aiming to reflect the land into the fence. The result as commented by David was that the curvatures of the surrounding hills had found themselves in my fence design. A consideration of budget was in my thinking. The general approach of why demolish and build new when you can simply improve something existing also ties in to questions of sustainability 42.

Below: Fence idea sketch model

Studying various archival photos and footage I begun sketching some of the informal shelters people constructed from whatever could be found. Re-purposing discarded materials and finding new ways to use them.

The concepts of resourcefulness and material economy would continue through my design work. These studies proved integral to my architectural expression. The sheet draped over timber poles became the inspiration for my tensile membrane structures. Whilst the Y shaped timbers and corrugated iron found their way in to the stage and servery area 43.

Shade Structures - Sketch Model In my in-class feedback the tutors helped my realise some of the pragmatic problems that were likely to arise in particularly location specific ways. These included the use of shade structures as slides and the lightweight fabric inviting damage from bored kids.

Following on from the study of the Walk-Off Era shelters I begun a process of sketch models to test how the precedents could be abstracted as new architectural forms for the Social Club that were tied to place. I was also thinking about the climatic response and appropriate functional necessities. Shade is key and given the time of operation the sun would be coming from the west. Hence low angle or vertical shade treatment was crucial.

It was then obvious these shades were a worthy experiment but would have to be tweaked in compliance with factors previously unconsidered.

In consultation with Phil he mentioned how well received curved forms were in the community. Yet given the complexity of constructing them they were likely to be budget prohibitive. I therefore tasked myself with thinking of addressing the issue of how one could go about using building technologies and strategies so curves could be attained easily. 44.

My suggestion to this was to employ methods of prefabrication and also crucially, the use of materials that naturally lend themselves to curvy forms such as fabric. Something David said something in class really stuck with me through the design process. This was: “Don’t fight what materials want to do�.


Spatial Planning Developing up my scheme I then moved to thinking how the site could be activated by the new programmatic requirements of a nondrinking area.

After my initial explorations of how architectural forms could be generated I turned by attention to questions of spatial resolution. Working with a largely fixed existing structure posed difficulty as well as the uncertainty of a not fully formed idea of the program. However even at this early stage I was beginning to think through a clear ordering principal that would be relatable to the cultural context.

Above: A Parti diagram emerges. The gesture of two hands embrace and invoke a collective sense of ownership. Below: Early sketches of a site plan.

My intention was to create a scheme where the drinking and nondrinking areas where separate but still felt like part of the same place within the town. Although a more resolved plan was emerging I did feel it was far too rigid and did not engage with the landscape which was one of my main conceptual directives.



Spatial Planning - Existing Given the constraints of budget it was clear that alterations and additions to the existing club should be minimal and assessed on a cost to benefit scale. Fortunately there were some simple tweaks that could be performed to better use the space. These included removing a wall from the unnecessarily large office and moving it out to the current security shed. This achieve room for an extra pool table. The western wall could then we opened up to activate the somewhat forgotten western outdoor area. Two other key moves included moving the security box / entry location and punching out a new servery window.

Experiential Qualities Following the tutors advice I set to working out some of the experiential qualities of the spaces I wished to design. This was done in mind that the functional and spatial resolution would then hopefully flow out naturally. As well as more involved gestures, I was also thinking about simple strategies to improve the existing facilities.

In consultation Double R talked about having a mix of styles celebrating history. I feel this extends time-frames from pre-colonial all the way to a most recent agrarian past of life on the cattle stations. In spaces such as the family cooking and games area I was sought to capture and interpret this influence. Below: A short throw projector projects on to a drop down screen.



Spatial Planning Continued As identified in in-class discussions I came to see the value of moving the entry to the western side of the club and away from the immediate vicinity of the bar. This would hopefully assist in changing the conception of the club from merely a place to drink. Instead the extended entry threshold and winding series of paths through the site would hopefully encourage exploration and engagement in a range of other more inclusive activities

Below: The site plan shows a series of paths becoming fences between the drinking and non drinking areas.

Below: Overall axo explores how the varied program may begin to be linked by a series of organic paths and fences.

Here my concept of reflecting the landscape begun to emerge. Movement between the facilities took on an organic nature and offered a range of different experiences. Another keen challenge I was developing upon was how to seperate the drinking and non drinking areas. 50.


Concept Diagrams v.1


Moving towards a new round of consultation we were tasked with preparing a series of diagrams in order to present some of the concepts of our designs. I choose to talk about how importance of reflecting place as well as trying to communicate the sense of movement and spatial planning. Another key idea was flexibility of space to varied requirements. With the aid of in-class feedback I came to realize the vagueness of the message. The diagrams really suffered from not being anchored to the site or Kalkaringi in any tangible way.

Right: Diagram shows movement and spatial planning. Hand symbols describe spaces expanding and contracting to suit needs

Left: An overlay of Walk-Off era shade structures and an aerial map of the area Right: Hand symbols describe spaces expanding and contracting to suit needs


Development - Entrance As well as the conceptual diagrams we were also tasked with modeling a part of our schemes. I chose the entry as I identified it as a key moment that set up the visitor for experience of the entire scheme. A literal introduction to my project. Following Double R’s suggestion of an entrance arch, in this model I begun an exploration of materials and tectonics which I thought were appropriate for the context. 54.

Referencing the forms of the informal shade structures of the Walk-Off era, I also aimed to capture the manner in which materials could be repurposed and layered to form new architectural expressions. Inspiration also came from a previous Bower project for the Karungkarni Arts Centre. This design process also initiated my exploration into how a sense of space and place can be defined by light and shade. Something that would play a major part in my design thinking.

Whilst initially taken aback by the negative feedback I did come to realise how the aesthetic of recycled materials and rough structural expression could be interpreted by the community as not particularly aspirational. Whilst forming an important part of my design process. I chose not to present it to Double R. 55.

Concept Diagrams v.2 What follows was my second iteration of the diagrams to present in consultation. This time I was wary to ensure they were grounded in their intended context.

Areas are together but also independent


Whilst certainly more successful than the previous drawings. I still thought they were perhaps a little difficult to understand. Clearer labeling or using key legends could of helped a lot. Something I will keep in mind for my final presentation.

Spaces and areas can expand and contract depending on requirements


Concept Presentation - Reflection

Concept Presentation - Group

Whilst constructive in giving us clear direction, overall I think we all felt that Social Club group’s concept presentation failed to particularly inspire Double R. On numerous topics we all thought were great ideas such as the use of spinifex or having a flexible space between drinking and non drinking the reception was not all that positive. Below : Damien’s sketch model of a shade structure incorporating spinifex in a contemporary manner.

The tutors helped us realise this was likely due to our failure to really sell our ideas from the onset. What this meant was that were became quickly caught up in nitty-gritty details and weren’t capable of showing Double R the benefits. This was definitely a good lesson to take in the context of our final presentations.

Above: Annabelle’s sketch for a shade structure utilising the passive cooling features of spinifex as explained by Double R in earlier consultation.

However overall the consultation wasn’t entirely negative. We all got solid advice from Double R on practicalities such as where the toilets should be for freedom day etc. On the positive side of his feedback, he was very much in favour of a new building to the north of the site to accommodate families who didn’t


want to drink but wanted to socialise and engage in communal cooking and other activities. The idea of a stage and the entrance being moved to the western side were also given a big tick of approval. But by far the most positive thing I took out of the consultation was Double R’s affirmation about the importance and strength of using landscape to tell the Gurindji story. This line that Double R said really stuck with me and became a major driver of my design thinking:

“The land has stories. The trees like the river gums have stories. They are sometimes being forgotten but we can save them to tell to our kids and the young people”. 59.

Presentation Exercise - Model Development crucially the manner in which it was to be shown. Considerations of colour, light shade and entourage were explored in order to form what I felt best communicated my intention. Beyond informing how I was to show my work from that point on, this exercise also gave me a sense of construction that otherwise can not be attained in drawings

Before moving on into design development I wanted to attempt an exercise on my entrance model. My feeling after the previous presentation was that it was perhaps not the design itself that had issue but mainly the way in which it was presented. In re-developing the model, I took care to improve the quality of it’s construction but also 60.


Developing Spatial Resolution


Going ahead with the instruction / approval from Double R regarding spatial planning, I moved to hone in and develop the location of programmatic functions such as family cooking and games, as well as the stage and new location of the security booth between the drinking and non-drinking areas. In reflection the plan was still feeling very limited by the outer boundaries. This seemed to be a serious hindrance to the engagement of landscape features. This plan did help me lock in certain key locations of spaces. 63.

Family Cooking and Games Area

Interim Presentation Reflection

The next step was to move to the detailed design of the separate spaces themselves. I started with the family cooking and games area.

Although the architectural forms of my scheme begun to take shape, I wasn’t feeling inspired by them much at all. This was reflected in my feedback for the Interim Presentation.

Spaces were designated for cooking, eating, sitting by a communal fire and also a lockable games room. Views and connection to other areas of the scheme were also considered.

I tended to agree and felt that this mostly likely resulted from our previous consultation in which I was left very conscious of budget and feasibility.

The orientation of space was driven by solar passive principals.

As can be seen in the above section, ESD principals, specific climatic response, simple construction and the interplay of heavy and light as well light and shadowy elements formed the basis of my design methodology. The brick work was inspired by Jame’s pointer on the availability of locally made earth bricks. N


This was the first time dealing with a project at Uni with not only budget constraints but also such highly complex cultural and pragmatic requirements of building in such a remote location. Due to this I felt I retracted into dong something that was far too ‘safe’ and did little to reflect my concepts.

Above: Perspective shows a completely functional space yet it lacks any particular architecturally expressive qualities.


Design Workshop

simply unavoidable was the importance of connection to the land and sheer resourcefulness through adversity.

Ahead of the design workshop I knew I had to return to my main sources of inspiration uncovered in the schematic phase. These explorations formed the basis of my concept which I knew if I pursued would lead to a strong scheme. Throughout all my research in to Gurindji people and culture the two things which too me were 66.

When the answer to how I could harness the power of the landscape to express the Gurindji story and embed my design into place came to me, I was almost shocked by it’s simplicity. The importance of the Victoria river and it’s tributaries to the local people could not be understated. For thousands of years people had depended upon it and gathered on it’s banks to share stories and culture. Significantly, The Warnkurr Social Club is named after an important bend in the river itself. Therefore the paths of the river were abstracted and became the path of the club. Snaking through and reaching out to the broader landscape. 67.

Design Workshop - Expressive Architecture material economy and simple yet effective means of sheltering and defining space. I was also inspired by how the lightness of the structure blurred the threshold between building and non building whilst also responding to solar passive principals and the simplicity of construction in difficult conditions. Having locked in what i felt was a strong organizing principal my next task was to develop my architectural expression to support it. Drawing inspiration from the shade structure crafted from a simple sheet drawn over some timbers, I began looking into tensile membrane structures. To me this building technology spoke directly to the traditions of 68.

Yet given that our brief had to respond to an existing structure, I felt if I was to completely depart from it’s language it would sit at complete odds with the new buildings. Therefore I had the idea of abstracting the block walls of the club and juxtaposing their solidity and regularity with the more ephemeral tensile membrane structures. to me this spoke of the balance between traditions and new ways that Double R spoke of in an earlier consultation.

The feedback from George and James was positive and they gave me important pointers in further extenuating the openness of the block walls and also how to be mindful of the potential hazards of having kids climb on top of the sails. 69.

Blade Walls Below: An early render shows how the blade walls help to demarcate place, frame views, blur the distinction between building and landscape and provide moments of seating and welcome shade

Another idea I had to abstract the walls of the existing structure into the landscape manifested in the creation of blade walls. These were intended to work in tandem with the series of paths to encourage movement and blur the distinction between built and unbuilt. Whilst intended primarily as an ordering device for circulation, I envisaged that these could also serve to subtlety demarcate place, frame certain views and be activated as seating / shading. James pointed out the similarity of these board formed precast concrete walls to magnetic termite mounds of the northern territory. This I admit was a happy accident.


Above: Magnetic Termite Mounds. Image source (Angus Cameron)


Inspiration - Victoria River

Below: A ceremony on the banks of the river. (image: Angus Cameron)

When the first white explorers such as August Gregory visited the area today known as the Upper Victoria river back in 1879, he remarked on it’s fertility. It his accounts that brought the early pastorilasists to the area seeking grazing plains for their cattle. Yet the Gurindji had known of the rivers bounties for tens of thousands of years before. Comfortably living on the varied flora and fauna supported by it’s cool waters. To this day the river remains an important part of Gurindji cultural life. It’s banks are the scenes of many rituals and ceremonies. As well as taping in to the reverence of the river, I had imagined that perhaps reinforcing it’s importance in a place of everyday exchange such as the social club, could help to bring awareness to it’s environmental degradation by the continued presence of wild roaming cattle. This unfortunate situation was brought to my attention by James who heard it from Penny. 72. Above: The serene waters fringed by lush vegetation.

Above: Gurindji Stockmen rest on the riverbed of the Victoria River after the Walk-Off (image source Brian Manning 196)


Inspiration - Flora of Gurindji Country

Below: Kunanturu - Bush bean (Karungkarni Arts project)

Expanding on my concept directive of intertwining architecture and landscape, I took some time to research some of the significant flora found within Gurindji Country. Overall the land is dominated by open woodland filled with Eucalypt and ever present native grasses such as Spinifex. Gurindji knowledge of medicinal and edible plants is quite detailed. Yet as is common for many cultures, passing on this knowledge to the younger generation is a challenge.

Above: The Bush Tomato (Karunkarni Arts Project)

Below: The open woodland of Eucalypt and spinifex (Penny Smith)

Here I saw an excellent opportunity for my own proposal. I begun imagining how by landscaping select native plants around the social club, visitors could not help but become aware of their benefits. With the help of the old people of course! The Bush Tomato or perhaps the seeds of the Kurrajong may even find their way into the cooking of the family area. 74.

Above: Ngamanpurru - Conkerberry. An edible plant which is runs through the dreaming stories of Daguragu. (Penny Smith)

Above: The Paperbark tree used in smoking ceremonies in order to welcome people to country 75.

Spatial Planning Continued


Continuing my process of spatial planning I modeled an early iteration of the plan so that I could think about it three dimensional space. Considering the massing and how the systems of paths served to link the spaces and make the scheme feel cohesive.

Shifting the entry to the western side of the club was a significant change. Here my attention moved to how this new experience of arrival could be activated. In consultation Phil spoke of having a small stage that could be easily accessed. Fortunately this fit perfectly in adjacent to the entry.





Above: The new stage area cranks the roof profile of the existing club back up as if to symbolize a literal reopening of the club to the community.

Above: Perpsective shows the use of corten on the existing fence. This brings new life to a previously reflects the texture found in the earth. Undulating 79. heights provide varying degress of privacy.

Family Games / Cooking Development Thinking of the sequence of movement through the club, past the stage a view to the family games and cooking area was set up. Here I continued it’s technical resolution as well as thinking about how it would intergrate with landscaping. The idea of raising the ground plane in spots intended to increase the connection to the river.

Above: Following advice from George in the design review, I played with lightening the structure by introducing large top hung track doors to increase the blur between inside and out



Redevelopment - Existing Areas.

Plan showing central location of security area (1.)

Turning my attention now to the areas within the existing club I begun thinking about it’s entry and how the drinking and non drinking areas could be separated. This was a major challenge as it raised so many issues detailed in the research into the history of alcohol abuse in aboriginal communities. Of course architecture alone can do little to address these issues. Yet functional decisions such as locating the security area centrally with a view over the thresholds can assist.

Below: Perspective shows treatment to the division between drinking and non drinking. I intended that although a physical barrier it wouldn’t feel harsh or perpetuate stigma. Seating and a double sided fire pit helps to activate the boundary and make it feel like a positive element in the scheme.












20 Meters @ 1:100



The division of space caused some problems though these were negotiated with simple steps such as setting up the main performance stage so that it had a dual prospect of both drinking and non-drinking areas. Wishing to soften the feeling of division I intended for the architectural language within the existing areas to be in keeping with the Family Games and Cooking area. The landscaping theme was also carried through. 82.


Engineering / Construction Workshop


Before locking in the design and beginning to produce the drawings for my final presentation, I recognized the importance of resolving some important engineering and construction related issues. As this is such an important part of the Bower Studio approach I benefited greatly from week to week feedback sessions with the tutors and the Engineering workshop hosted by Engineers from Arup. In this process I found it really Board Formed interesting that even something as Precast Concrete simple as a blade wall has very serious technical and structural implications. The engineers helped Modwood Decking me resolve how the footings should be designed to counteract overturning 35 SHS moment forces. James helped me understand that the Grout Bed precast panels could be prefabricated Rebar Coupling and delivered though the footings would Trench Mesh have to be poured in-situ with rebar coupling ready. The two element would then be joined with a layer of grout.

Back Fill

Above: Section cut through blade wall seat.


Workshop - Stage The engineers also helped me resolve technical worries around the stage structure.

Workshop - Fixed Furniture Increase member size to 250mm minimum

Reduce corrugated sheeting overhang to 200mm as advised by

Time was taken to resolve some of the technical details of the fixed furniture to be place around the club. James assisted with the pragmatics and helped me simplify the designs so they could be constructed more easily. This involved pointing how where an shs may be better than an equal angle or to include battens to reduce the amount of laborius fixing into concrete. modwood fixed to battens between

board formed precast concrete

Above: Double sided fire pit. modwood fixed to battens between

My idea for the bouble sided fire’s involved the simple repourposing of materials. An idea I came up with in my intial sketch model for the club’s entry.

50 x 50 shs

concrete footing


Above: Table and Bench concept


Workshop - Tensile Membrane Structure Following our discussion I spent some time studying the structural details of how they were to be constructed. Fundamental to my proposal was the use of Tensile Membrane structures. The economy to shade provided seemed to me second to none.

The below diagrams are applicable to where weatherproof coated PVC fabric was applied. For the other shade structures made with shade-cloth, the masts and cables would not be neccessary

The engineers helped me work out appropriate footings and advised on placing a cable within the fabric to provide lateral load bracing


Galvanised Steel Tension Cable Rib 150 SHS Mast Galvanised Steel Tension Cable

PTFE Coated PVC Fabric

Tensioner / tie Buckle

Galvanised Steel Tension Cable

Galvanised Steel Tension Cable

Reinforced PVC Membrane Tensioner / tie Buckle

Anchor Bolts to Concrete

Reinforced Pad Footing


Above: Diagram explains general structural concept of my tensile membrane structure

Above: Diagrams show connecton and reinforcing arrangments.





Spatial Resolution

My final plan is the culmination of spatial, functional and culturally appropriate considerations. The orientation of each intervention in the landscape is mindful of response to climate and solar passive principals such as sun shading and cross ventilation The site is an interpretation of cultural significant features of the land and attempts to reflect this simply back to a diverse range of users.



Arrival - Entry

At the entry suggested by the Victoria River stone paths and a low precast concrete blade wall, The roof of the existing club lifts up as if to symbolize a re-opening to the rest of the community. A corresponding shade structure raises in answers and invites family’s to enter together.



Seating Stage and Servery

From beneath this shade, visitors are presented with a performance stage and a new entry to the servery of prepared meals or cook you own deals. The addition to the existing club’s roof references the revered ingenuity of the walk-off era shelters with it’s Y shaped timbers and corrugated iron.



Family Games and Cooking Area

Moving onwards along the undulating banks of the river, a pavilion emerges that doesn’t seem to be either inside or out. Here the interplay of light and shade cast by the ephemeral lightweight tensile membrane structure work in tandem with the surrounding vegetation and the solid thermal mass of board formed walls to loosely delineate a hybrid sense of place and space. Underneath the shade lays a lockable games area, ample seating, a shared fire pit and bbq cooking facilities.



Overall Isometric View

Pausing to consider your place in the scheme, this isometric view shows how the seemingly disjointed spaces are in fact tied together by the outstretching paths leading towards important places around the Kalkaringi. This is reinforced by the blade walls.



Blade Wall Construction

These can also be considered as an interpretation of the termite mounds found around Kalkaringi. Special care has been taken to resolve how these may be constructed within the challenges of remoteness.


kalkaringi termite mounds

- rosie lang Bower 2019


Main Bar Entrance

The entry to the drinking area is marked out by a gently curving fence of semi transparent perforated rusted steel. This boundary is activated by the incorporation of low seating. The security is strategically placed so they may keep an eye on the comings and goings. The main performance stage is situated to capture a dual prospect of both drinking and non drinking areas.



ESD & Technical Resolution summer sun

Underpinning the main architectural expressions are innate considerations of ESD and solar passive principals. All materials and building technologies have been carefully selected to be sturdy, hardwearing and low maintenance. This connects to the understanding of cultural and site specific contexts. Additionally methods of construction have been carefully explored and developed with the aid of Arup Engineers and experienced builders. It is intended that local workers and potentially students could work in collaboration with experience professionals to deliver the project whilst fostering a sense of reciprocity.


winter sun



The immediate area to the east of the club has been carefully divide such that the spaces offer a varied experience and may potentially be expanded and contracted to suit future needs. Double sided fire pits are constructed from repurposed sections of concrete water pipe are upturned and wrapped in perforated rusty steel. Yarning by the fire is a deeply communal experience and much loved by the patrons of the club in the cooler months.



Main Bar Area

Within these spaces people may choose to sit in shelter to talk, dance to a performing band or watch their beloved bombers on the drop down short throw projector. From this perspective we see a view over both the existing club and the proposed architectural expressions behind. The glue between is the ever present paths of the river and landscape holding the stories of the Gurindji alive and setting the scene for many to come.