Gaby Miegeville-Little - Research Booklet - Bower Studio 2020

Page 1


I wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the land on which this body of work was created on, the land of the Wurundjeri people; and the land on which this body of work was created about and for; the land of the Gurundji people. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging. I recognise the strength and resilience that the Wurundjeri and Gurundji people continue to embody.

Gaby Miegeville-Little

01 `introduction Bower Studio Self Project + Circumstance Libanangu Shade Structures Kalkaringi

02 documentaries Research Feedback + Evaluation Revision


03 research Wide Scope Cultural Competency


1 3- 4 5-8 9 - 10 11 - 14 15 - 20

21 23 - 28 29 - 30 31 - 32

33 35 - 66 67 - 76

04 esquisse Brief Design Response Feedback + Evaluation

05 social club Brief Development Research Consultation Design Development Final Designs

06 EVALUATION Social Club Reflection

*featured throughout

77 79 - 80 81 - 88 89 - 92

93 95 - 104 105 - 138 139 - 150 151 - 220 221-242

243 245 - 246 247 - 250


INTRODUCTION Bower Studio Self Project + Circumstance Libanangu Shade Structures Kalkaringi



01 introduction

01 introduction

Bower Studio

Bower Studio

Bower Studio is an annually recurring program with the primary goal of con-

The studio is thus equally concerned with the development of ethical consulta-

necting indigenous community groups with staff and postgraduate students

tion methods as it is with the synthesis of designs that stimulate local social and

from the Melbourne School of Design. Through this linkage, design projects are

economical wellness. Through this approach, Bower has fostered an ongoing re-

generated through extensive consultation with communities where the Studio

lationship with several communities within Australia and abroad. In these cases,

has been invited by leaders to engage with traditional owners and inhabitants

the studio has collaborated on a range of construction projects geared towards

of the land.

facilitating long term goals.

The projects previously undergone by Bower Studio have varied in scale and

A fruit of the Studio's continued experience in indigenous communities has been

purpose, and were each formulated in response to the specific needs arising

the development of HomesPLUS initiative. This program represents a new mod-

from the respective communities involved. Generally, projects serve an infru-

el for the procurement of simple, robust architectural elements in indigenous

structural void whilst also responding to social and cultural characteristics that

communities, and allows for the structures to be built wholly or partially by the

have been uncovered through continuous dialogue with the implicated groups.

community. Previous iterations of Bower Studio have participated in the con-

After this initial period of discussion and familiarisation, the Bower Studio cohort

truction of HomesPLUS models, in turn utilising this time to absorb the cultural

will generally join the community for a period of 2-3 weeks to further deepen the

data of the clients for their final design project.

connections established throughout consultancy, and to aid in the construction process. It is this practical connection that allows students to then return to

The 2020 iteration of Bower Studio will see ten students and two mentors em-

Melbourne with the ability to develop future design proposals with heightened

bark on research, consultancy and design tasks for the community of Kalkaringi.

sensitivity in regards to the indigenous groups and customs involved in the partnership.



01 introduction

01 introduction



As a recently settled resident of Australia, it

Reflection: In considering the depths of what is unknown to me, I wonder what is afford-

feels as though there is an vast, maybe infinite,

ed to those who grow up here, those able to innadvertently soak up morsels of history

amount of historical and cultural information to

through a Year 3 social studies class, a TV broadcast on in the background, your family

become acquainted with to be able to sensitive-

friend during dinnertime conversation. In a year of living here, I have learnt not to assume

ly navigate the processes encapsulated within

that this form of passive learning is complimented by a more deliberate pedagogy - that

the Bower Studio. As I grasp it now, to be able

Soldiers hailing from New Zealand and Australia stand together in the trenches of WW1

to produce respectful and meaningful content for the studio demands familiarity with the expansive and turbulent history of occupation of

is to say, the assurance that students passing through any standard educational provider are encouraged to learn about the heritage of their home, Through conversations with friends and the first discussions of the studio, it seems that knowledge of Australian history is largely reliant on the agency of the individual and not a foundational part of

this continent. This past extends well beyond

The historical overlap between Aus-

our modern concept of 'Australia' as a forcefully

tralia and New Zealand is maybe li-

christened colonial outpost, so it feels important

able for creating a false sense of fra-

From a sense of perplexedness does my central query stem: What does growing up

to recognise that the parts of Australian culture

ternity. The points in time where our

'Australian' provide to someone in terms of identity and connection to place? What are

that are currently most familiar to me make up

nations have converged and interact-

these connections fashioned from, and how are they linked to aboriginality? As I soak

only a tiny temporal part of the country's history

ed are perhaps what overshadow the

up both the familiar and the unknown of my new home, the complexity and surprising

of inhabitance.

two very different journeys through

shroudedness of aboriginal presence makes me aware of biases I might be carrying from

colonial occupation. 5


the national curriculum at any level.

my home nation of New Zealand,

01 introduction Self

It reveals another bias too: through my french heritage, I have glimpsed a form of national identity that doesn't have a recent history of conflict between an exterior power and a

"If I cannot tell you what it means to be white, I cannot understand what it means not to be white. I will be unable to bear witness to, much less affirm, an alternate racial experience. I will lack the critical thinking and skills to navigate racial tensions in constructive ways."

longstanding indigenous people. There are collective psyche scars from clashes between groups that did not live defined by today's administrative boundaries; these are events that for the most part are not seen to belong exlusively to any one European nation. France has its own colonies and history of attempting to, officially or not, eclipse the presence of aboroginal groups. So, I will try to keep at the forefront of my mind my exposure to rhetorics of privilege, various national macro-scale notions of identity and power, my own micro-streams of identity and other external elements, and how these might form the lens through which the following information is analysed. To explore the indigeneity of a country to which one is recently and sometimes only superficially connected surely demands a deep questioning of self and the

- Dr Robin Diangelo

boundaries of what can be discussed, offered and questioned respectfully. As an auxilliary A recent visit to Sean Godsell’s Bugiga Hiker Camp displayed the intersection of digital technology and robust materiality in a remote area

concern, my personal interest is in considering this provocation: is there a greater role for emerging technology in the contemporary landscape of indigenous consultation and design? While this is somewhat extraneous from the outcomes of Bower Studio, I hope to build a foundational body of experience that could one day contribute to answering this question. 7


01 introduction

01 introduction

Project & Circumstance

Project + Circumstance

With the start of semester 1 2020 came a mounting awareness of Covid-19, a virus

The goals at the heart of Bower remained unaltered by the

first causing devastation in places that were veiled by geographic distance and the abstractness of headlines. In the early classes of the studio, there was tentative

David showed us a model he had produced showcasing the materiality we

external forces at play. While our output and form of engagement needed to adapt, one only had to examine the long-

discussion of how this unfamiliar event was progressing, all of us feeling similarly

standing relationships forged by the studio to see how our

bewildered as to the rapidity of change occurring in its wake, We had one session

designs would still act as valuable points of discussion and

in the autumn sun where we laid eyes on the steel delivery bound for Kalkar-

development for the long term objectives of the Garindji Cor-

indji, all of us taking in the materiality that we would no doubt become familiar

poration and wider Kalkarindji community alike.

with. A matter of days after discussing seemingly concrete travel arrangements to Kalkarindji, it was clear that these were to become innapropriate in the face of

The uncontrollable circumstances would mean that we would

a crisis of much larger proportions than originally thought. Sadness was coupled

explore consultation through an alternate route, and would

with understanding: a shift in output for the studio was necessary to fall in lign with

have to rely on remote communication to build a relationship

the best interests of the community we were to engage with, our own health and

with members of the Kalkarindji community. Additionally, this

that of the wider community. Following the realisation that the effects of the public

would place extra importance on absorbing the lessons from

health crisis were likely to linger for more than a few weeks, there was a period of

past studios that were afforded the chance to get to know the community in person. Our one physical connection to the

disillusionment where the constant influx of media information seemed to steal away any ability to focus. Gradually, it was possible to settle in to this new reality, and become re-enchanted with the parts of university life that were still intact.

The overlap of meshes creates a movemental, moray effect in the cast shadow - a potential device to toy with later.


project was handling the materials delivered to campus for eventual forwarding to Kalkaringi. 10

Our first interaction with materials about to be sent up to Kalkaringi

Libanangu Shade Structures

the proposed design for it's suitability to

belonged to a wider brief for the Libanangu Community

site. It sounded as though the initial de-

Centre; it had been intended that we would aid in their

sign required only a few changes to be

construction during our cancelled trip in April.


400 280



deemed a safe endeavour. 150x150x12MM EA FRAME


done over the summer months. The shade structures

that much of the concrete would need

ion designs and architecture in Kalkaringi, and the new

to be mixed by hand, and the removal

shade structures.

of the top mesh panels. Without these


footings to be primarily precast given

intention to encourage dialogue between existing pavil-


shading device: beyond the pragmatic needs was the



Some of these included the design of the


Annabelle and Emma explained the purpose of the





panels, wind was able to pass through

It was intended that the shade structures would link back to the Wave Hill Walk-Off pavilions through their material use and angular language.

We were shown a model which had been used as a

the structure, avoiding a scenario where-

point of discussion between David and a team of en-

by the frame could be uplifted. The per-

gineers - Rachel and Jorja of ARUP - to define what

meability of the mesh was increased to

physical forces might affect the final iteration of the

further increase permeability.

structure. 11



through their procedures of evaluating



was linked to the design of a shade structure which had



Rachel and Jorja of ARUP then talked us


Our introduction to the materials travelling to Kalkaringi


Libanangu Shade Structures

01 introduction


01 introduction





73° 25



PLAN 1:10

2 1


Bower Studio | Melbourne School of Design University of Melbourne Victoria Australia 3010 Dr David O'Brien 03 8344 8761 |

CLIENT Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation Buntine Highway Kalkaringi Northern Territory Australia 0852 Phil Smith 0406 224 866




DATE: 20/2/20 ISSUE -A



Drawings prepared by Annabelle depicting the first pass of the shade structure design before being passed on to ARUP for evaluation.

01 introduction

01 introduction

Libanangu Shade Structures

Libanangu Shade Structures

Things considered when assessing the

Reflection: While most architects have a ba-

viability of a structure :

sic grasp of the forces at play on a structure, it

must be easy to overlook some of these prac-

- Dead load (weight of material)

tical concerns when developing a similar design.

- Wind load

It struck me that even a team of experienced

- Live load

designers working with materials extremely fa-

- Rigidity across multuple axes

miliar to them will not have a sensibility that

- Potential to overturn / weight

covers how materials work together when com-


bined in a pavilion or other build project. What

- Heat / temperature: this would

might seem an otherwise simple and robust de-

be more of an issue in climates

sign might be highly unsafe due to even a small

with larger temperature gradi-

oversight in the specification of a fastening or


fabrication method. This highlighted the impor-

- How will the structure be erect-

tance of running any design proposition through

ed? If it is to be fabricated man-

a simple self-analysis: what forces are at play

ually, members must be within a certain weight range.

and how will the structure be built, used and Structural drawing prepared by ARUP detailing the required fixings and materials.


Structural diagram prepared by ARUP expressing the basic forces and loads acting upon the shade structure 14



01 introduction


01 introduction




The town of Kalkaringi is located in the Northern Territory of Australia, and lies

•- Kalkaringi population: 334 based on last census

554 kilometeres south of Darwin. It is one of the handful of communities that holds a longstanding relationship with Bower Studio - since 2014 the studio has

- the site of the Wave Hill hand back of traditional

participated in the construction of the Wave Hill Walk-Off Pavilion, the extension

land to Vincent Langiari occurred north of Kalkaringi,

of the Karungkarni Arts Centre in 2014, the upgrading of the basketball court

closer to the neighbouring aboriginal settlement of



and the construction of several 'Big Shadey' shade structures. wa

Northern Territory



Beyond its adminstrative boundaries, Kalkaringi and the neighbouring settle-




ment of Daguragu are the two populated centres situated in Gurindji country. The Gurindji people are one of several tribes that have long occupied the area alond the Victoria River, not without conflicts between each other. The first white







gu r air agu str ip

council office

presence arrived in 1879 and quickly lead to the leasing of Gurindji land to a

- the Kalkaringi Council Office services both Kalkar-


ingi and Daguragu, and employs 24 staff members Warnkurr Social Club

The Gurindji were instrumental in the functioning of the cattle stations occupy-

0 20

ing their land, yet were subject to prolonged mistreatment, murder, imprison-



Kalkaringi Settlement

ment and the forced destruction of the landscape they had stewarded for over 15


Riv e

general store Karungkarni Arts Centre

tor ia


land and those operating the expanding cattle station at Wave Hill (Jinbarak).



edented turbulence was set in motion between the traditional owners of the


police station

colonial pastoralist by the name of Nat Buchanan. Over a century of unprec-


- the community is home to a school, social club, general store, petrol station, health centre, church and arts centre. - Gurindji Land makes up 3,250km squared of the Northern Territory

Wave Hill Kalkaringi

17 Aboriginal Tribal Regions of Australia

18 Gurindji Country and surrounding divisions

01 introduction Kalkaringi

Multiple protests defending the Gurindji rights were carried out in the lead up to the Walk-Off.

01 introduction Kalkaringi

This transition to colonial occupation frames the events

The Gurindji's land rights were finally restored in 1975

of the 20th century which have defined Kalkaringi as it is

through the establishment of Aboriginal Land Rights

known today. Throughout the 50s and 60s, members of

in the Northern Territory. This spurred the handing

the Gurindji people began to consider how the cycle of sys-

back of a land to the Gurindji people, marked by the

tematic repression might be broken and their autonomy

ceremonious meeting of Gough Whitlam, the prime

regained. One of the leaders of this movement was Vin-

minister at the time, with Vincent Lingiari.

The route followed by the stockmen who partook in the Wave Hill WalkOff is memorialised .

cent Langiari, who acted as a vital link between the kartiya and the workers. He was well respected by both parties:

Through this history, Kalkaringi is known as 'the Birth-

he held the unprecedented position of being a leader for

place of Land Rights' and is consequently a site with

all tribes and demanding better working conditions for his

great significance in the reassertion of aboriginal

people, whilst engaging in colonial culture and fostering a

rights. While it is not possible to return the land to

reputation as a dignified and thoughtful man.

its precolonial state, physical and spiritual repair has been sought through various avenues, including the

‘Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you the deeds as proof, in Australian Law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people.’

On August 23 1966, Vincent Lingiari lead a staged protest

organisation of a Freedom Day Festival on the anni-

which manifested as a collective walk-off. Some 200 ab-

versary of the Wave Hill Walk-Off every year. In 2015

original workers and their family members left the Wave

the Gurindji were granted Native Title of the settle-

Hill cattle station to partake in a symbollic pilgrimmage

ment of Kalkarindji.

across their stolen land, 19


Scenes from Freedom Day Festival, an annual celebration where participants retrace the steps of Vincent Langiari.


documentaries Research Feedback + Evaluation Revision



02 documentaries Research

02 documentaries Research

The first task to complete after our initial meeting was to formulate a docu-

This allowed us to pursue two examples for each of these categories with

mentary touching on a prescribed topic. Alongside Shalini and Damien, we

the aim to include one international example per pair if relevant. We divided

were given the following subject:

the work and each sought to locate two examples each.

Memorial Landscapes

When considering landscapes defined by specific historical events or mem-

Landscape design can help provide places that support the sharing of sto-

ories, I was immediately drawn to research the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in

ries and ‘hard truths’. Critique examples from Australia and abroad.

New Zealand, as this is a location well known to most New Zealanders as a

“What creates a place of memorial? At the core of this question is the notion of place: a concept that finds meaning in diverse forms. How might the natural and built environments be considered to provoke a phenomenological experience, and how are the memorialised implicated in this? Many approaches can be employed to engage with the abstract notion of place to communicate indigenous cultural data. “

place rich in Maori-colonial tensions. The present day configuration of the With this wide array of potential examples available to us, we decided to

site has been designed to demarcate several key events in this history, and

begin by approaching the project by categorising 'Memorial Landscapes'

thus could be classified as a memorial landscape that attempts to retell a

into three categories we perceived to be well defined. These were:

version of history with the two cultural parties represented in equal parts.

Excerpts from our documentary introduction

Through further research into the site's composition and history, it emerged 1. Landscapes defined by specific historical events/memories

that of course striving for just representation on a site frought with conflict

2. Landscapes constructed as a result of direct physical intervention

and disagreement equates to an impossible task - how can each group be

3. Transient landscapes, environments imbued with temporary interventions/

honoured in a way that does not discredit the other group's version of his-

events e.g. sites related to religion and beliefs & ritual e.g. totems & sacred

tory, seeing as some of the disputes that have taken place at the grounds


might be considered ongoing to this day?

Examples of previous Bower Studio documentaries 23


The lawn at the grounds is a well-established site of protest.

02 documentaries

"For 3 days, a temporary landscape

02 documentaries


of cultural exchange is created


through the presentation of indigenous arts. The intention to further instill pride in Inuit culture is pursued

What I did find valuable in this particular example was the formal acknowledgement by the government and crown that their past actions

Waitangi Day protest in 1964.

by juxtaposing Inuit works with art from outside the region. The harsh

were highly problematic, and so deserved to be shared unflinchingly. In

The other case study I chose was the Alianait Arts Festival based in Iqualuit, Nunavut, Canada. This differed in that the memorial landscape was generated temporarily through an events based program. This felt the example that least resembled the tra-

saying this, one could also call the museum-esque retelling of events a

polar environment is made inviting

ditional notion of a landscape, but for this reason I found it relevant in a different way:

highly sanitised version formatted to be comestible without generating

to international artists who might

it was an example of place-making that didn't try to force the aboriginal practices of

too much discomfort for the paying tourist. An accidental biproduct of the

not otherwise be compelled to inter-

the area into a process of materialisation. Stories remain stories, dances remain dances

creation of this memorial landscape has also been the informal selection

act with such an isolated communi-

and part of the experience that is linked to the landscape is tied to a specific, transient 3

of the site as a grounds of protest. On the anniversary of the treaty sign-


day period. There are surely some comparisons to be drawn between the Freedom Day

ing each year, formal processions are held but are usually coupled with

Festival held at Kalkarindji and this event, seeing as both celebratory festivals exist within

Waitangi Day protest in 1983.

protests or silent demonstrations expressing discontent at the historical

a wider history of racial discord and persistent human rights violations. The events pay

management of Maori land. I feel that this is the most valuable part of the

tribute to this but are able to focus primarily on the optimistic presentation of creative

site - a platform on which to continue a discussion about the current state

cultural outputs that have been preserved despite hardship.

of intra-national identity affairs - yet this is the part that would not have been explicitly planned by any designer or authority. How, then, does one

Contrastingly, maybe such a festival could be viewed by some as forced commodifica-

purposefully create a site that encourages these difficult discussions or

tion of Inuit culture, and a platform that might not draw necessary attention to the som-

hard truths?

Waitangi Day protest in 2016.


Excerpt from our documentary. Available to view at https://youtu. be/DD0FFhOCYqo 26

bre aspects of indigenous history. I would posit that it still encourages the consideration of a people's history in a wider audience, and has the side effect of bringing economic gains to a community through channels that they are able to sustain independently.

02 documentaries Research

The Wave Hill Walk-Off pavilion doesn’t impose an air of memorial on an onlooker that isn’t aware of the site’s significance.

02 documentaries Feedback + Evaluation Research

Through the research of Shalini and Damien, my attention was

The feedback that was given as a general remark addressed the difficulty in condensing

This exercise highlighted the role

brought to examples tailored to Australian aboriginal culture. The

each topic into a concise 8 minute video. It was indeed especially challenging to choose

of the architect as a creative

Wave Hill Walk-Off pavilion, as a structure designed and built with

precedents that best embodied each of our three themes given that examples within

polyglot : an architect needs to

the help of a past Bower Studio, a particularly relevant example

one family could still differ vastly between one another. We attempted to cast our net

be able to express their ideas

showcasing the consultation methods, construction methodology

as wide as possible, citing some examples that might not be in any way transferrable to

across different formats to be

and aesthetic conventions prioritised to create a memorial land-

the Australian context, but did reveal how other aboriginal populations had cooperated

able to engage onlookers with a

scape in Kalkarindji. These appeared to be a balanced marriage of

with outside groups to generate memorial landscapes. We agreed that if given more

legible set of ideas. This calls into

practicality and memorialisation - the structures offer a space for

time to revisit our documentary, we might limit our examples to three or four to be able

question the identity of archi-

the sharing of stories linked to the Walk-Off while doubling as simple

to spend more time evaluating the depths of each.

tecture as an expressor of finite

shelters which are objectively useful in the community.

From the side the pavilion allows the landscape to be unobstructed, creating a lightweight presence despite its robustness.

messages - how can architecReflection: We discussed the principal that overseas examples are limited in their rele-

ture be designed to commu-

The Bundian way is an example that embodies a light-handed cre-

vance given the highly specific cultural environments that give rise to any one example.

nicate specific cultural notions

ation of memorial site. This 365km piilgrimmage frames a landscape

While this feels true to some extent, there surely remains some transferrability to over-

without forcing it into traditional

of historical aboriginal activity, allowing walkers to traverse land

seas projects, namely approaches to consultation and the structuring of construction

recorded text or pictorial form?

largely untouched by agricultural practices. From this I gleaned that

projects, i.e. different versions of the bottom up model. precedents mentioned in other

Is it more important to commu-

pilgrimmages, while respectful in their lack of physical intervention,

documentaries would be worth exploring further to gain a firmer grasp on the successful

nicate ideas in a nebulous, freely

may not communicate the sancitity of their encompassed ground

models and the failures of projects like the Tjibaou Cultural Center.

interpretable way?

without the provision of additional information to participants. 27


02 documentaries Feedback + Evaluation

02 documentaries Feedback + Evaluation

The documentaries created by the other groups served to provide examples fo-

Tjibaou Cultural Centre placed local Kanak architecture amidst towering modern spires.

cused on more tangible forms of architecture, covering numerous cultural spac-

Reflection: The broader thoughts and questions that surfaced from the doc-

es in Austalia and abroad.

umentaries include many that may remain unanswered. For example, what is the effect of management on the final operational success of a cultural centre?

Featured international examples included the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New

The architect's role usually ends before the functioning reality of a space is set

Caledonia and Darya Khan Women's Centre in Pakistan, both of which followed

into action, so what are the processes involved in anticipating the day-to-day

entirely different streams of procurement. The Tjibao is an infamously critiqued

management of a cultural space that will collide with the architecture's physical-

example of 'starchitecture', where Renzo Piano effectively imports his first world

ity. Is it prudent to assume that a procurement or management model that has

sensitivities to inform the design of an institution meant to represent the Kanak

worked elsewhere, even in a nearby situation, is appropriate for another com-

people. Piano's use of vernacular construction on the pavilion structures appears

munity? It seems that the safest path to reactive design is to remove any as-

as a superficial gesture in light of his geographically removed involvement. When

sumptions relating to the brief, the clients and the indigenous customs that may

juxtaposed with the Darya Khan centre, a hugely more participatory and self-re-

be involved. There is no shortcut to understanding the complexities that comprise

flective design process emerges. Yasmeen Lari spent time with the Darya Khan

any one group or community, and even through the investment of ample time for

community to, becoming familiar with their traditional forms of construction and

consultation, a project may fall short of expectations.

Construction of the Darya Khan Women’s Centre occurs while the architect Yasmeen Lari is seen to inspect progress.

materials, in turn absorbing characteristics of the community she was to serve as

Yasmeen Lari during a tour of the construction site at the Darya Khan Women’s Centre

an architect. This is partially possible due to the smaller scale of the project, but

To make things additionally It is impossible to separate the need for economic

embodies a higher level of advocacy for continual listening, learning and hence

sustainability from many of these projects, The most likely way to achieve this

the creation of a structure that responds to the dynamism of a community. 29

alongside an architectural result that respectfully encapsulates indigenous 30

A Cultural Centre from within Australia - the Garma Cultural Knowledge Centre in NorthEast Arnhem land, NT provides a more local example of extensive consultation.

02 documentaries Revision

02 documentaries Revision

After the first round of feedback from

By removing a selection of case studies in the second iteration of our docu-

Reflection: Revisiting the documentaries

the tutors, we were in agreeance that

mentary, we hoped to be able to offer some deeper insights into what each of

proved beneficial in that it forced us to

the documentaries could all benefit from

the chosen memorial landscapes successfully distilled, and which international

re-examine the sizable amount of research

some revisions. These would see a clari-

ideas would be most relevant to the Australian context.

we had produced with a more discerning eye

ty of message arise from a large pool of

for what could be presented as an ultimate

research - currently we were all trying to

In the Treaty of Waitangi example, I chose to remove emphasis on the ar-

argument. The format of the documentary,

fit a huge amount of information into the

rangement of physical features of the site, since it felt that these were the least

as a visual item to be consumed by a hy-

9 minute limitation. This had the ultimate

successful parts of the memorial landscape. By providing more background to

pothetically broad audience, means that our

effect of causing the viewer to feel rushed

the Treaty, I hoped to build a stronger case for why the empty lawn is one of

research benefitted from extensive refine-

through a range of examples without

the more important features. I also liked the parallels that could be drawn be-

ment to best communicate our ideas. The

much time spent on the elements that

tween Waitangi Day events and Freedom Day Festival - both annual festivals

power of imagery to aid in this communica-

could be compared and contrasted be-

with opposing tones.

tion was definitely overlooked on our behalf -

tween them. With this in mind we decided

Our revised documentary plan saw us remove the examples of

especially given the visual nature of our cho-

to cull some of our examples to make way

We also removed the Allinaite Festival, as it was perhaps the furthest example

sen subject matter. If we were to futher edit

for a deeper analysis of those that were

from any Australian equivalent. While we saw its value as a case for cere-

the documentary, we would have focused on

to be featured still. The research we had

monial celebration, we felt that we touched on this in the Waitangi example.

developing strong interplay between visual

done would still be recorded and valu-

Additionally, we chose to focus on Jefa Greenaway's Ngarara place prefaced

and verbal analysis of precedents.

with a more thorough exlanation of Aboriginal land management processes,

The second documentary can be viewed



able to us. 31


RESEARCH Wide Scope Cultural Competency Kalkarindji Conversations



03 research

"This a-material culture was manifested in

03 research

Wide Scope

process, performance and interpersonal be-

Wide Scope

havior; stories, gatherings, rituals, dances, obligations and songs-activities that disappear once completed. ... It is our cultural obli-

We began Bower Studio by exploring a range of texts that give insight into

gation to pass on this huge volume of knowl-

Aboriginal cultural competency, past attempts at design collaboration and

edge to the right people. Ceremonies play an

architectural memorialisation, and the deep complexity surrounding these.

important role in passing on of knowledge."

One of the first texts described the consultation process and resulting cultural centre located within the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park,

The site of Uluru, Lindsey goes on to explain, has always been of great spiritual significance to the Anangu people - the Aboriginal people who have inhabited the surrounding country for an excess of 10,000 years. To watch tourists (or 'Minga', the Anangu word for ant) navigate their sacred sites without the slightest consideration for the spiritual subtext of place, and to be documented themselves as curiosities in a living museum, has equated to the profound de-

Building Change, Architecture, Politics and Cultural Agency, by Lisa

humanisation of the Anangu people by colonial presences. In the 1980s began

Findley. Excerpt from Chapter 3: Building Visibility Uluru Kata-Tjuta Cultural

some attempts of the Australian government to reconcile with Aboriginal groups


after centuries of grotesque mistreatment; during this period the Uluru-Kata Tjuta parklands were returned to the Anangu people. From this point in her ar-

Uluru is one of Australia's natural landmarks known around the world, and

ticle, Findley describes the treacherous albeit well-intentioned process of forging

accordingly has been used as a sight of tourism, despite its remoteness, since

"We want tourists to learn about our place,

the 1940s. Findley demonstrates its centrality to the perception of Australia's

a cultural centre design for the Anangu as much as for the tourist population.

profile by sharing an iconographic postcard where a thumbnail cartoon of

to listen to us Anangu, not just to look at the

We learn that Greg Burgess is eventually selected by the Anangu people to de-

the land formation takes up the heart of the continent. I can empathise with

Sunset and climb the puli (Uluru)‌. In the Cul-

sign the centre given his experience with aboriginal communities and ethos that

tural Centre we will teach the minga (tour-

"while buildings are static, they can have a charged energy for the body and the

the over-simplified perception of the icon held by many foreigners - to those of us less well versed in Australian geography, we lean on the abstract cen-

Karungkarni Arts Centre seen from the entry (left). The contained outdoor courtyard was added by the Bower Studio team in 2015.

ists) better. "

trality and size of Uluru shown to us in various media. 35


psyche, rather than just to the eye and the mind ".

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Burgess anchored the design development process around the Anangu people, and took what time he deemed necessary to build a meaningful rela-

"...despite the formal success of the project, it has not produced an equality of recognition of opportunity in socioeconomic terms. Much of the frustration about how life has not improved for the Anangu people has been transferred onto the building."

tionship with the community, aware that a sensitive architecture would not emerge from a traditionally linear series of events. Reflection: From this reading, it seems that even the most well-meaning ar-

The Uluru Kata-Tjuta Cultural Centre from above. In plan the structure was meant to depict animals from Anangu legends.

chitect who follows the road of vigourous consultation, patience and material sensitivity will stumble on the complexities of relationships that extend into generations passed. Part of this inevitable hurdle stems from the translation of rich aboriginal data in the form of stories and knowledge - revered and shared as a precious resource - into material form. Lindsey touches on the similar incoherencies that arise in the fine art world, where in the 1960s aboriginal art was forced through the westernised pipeline of flat, canvas paint-

- Kim Dovey

ing to produce commodified works of art. This embodies a struggle that is ongoing - how can self-determination be delivered to Aboriginal groups in a way that does not contaminate their cultural agency yet generates financial gain to ensure long-term viability?

Karungkarni Arts Centre seen from the entry (left). The contained outdoor courtyard was added by the Bower Studio team in 2015.



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In My Blood It Runs, a documentary film by Maya Newell

pathy programmed into the exchanges with authority along the way. Even when Dujuan is transferred to a school specifically for aboriginal children,

This film follows the life of a 10 year old Arrernte Aboriginal boy,

there is little difference in the overarching pedagogy - he is still seen as

Dujuan, living in a settlement adjacent to Alice Springs. From the

The film touches on the inhereted trauma of events like the Noonkanbah dispute, where Aboriginal protestors were incarcerated following the Kimberley Land Council march. Archival footage of this dispute is shown, and through the cautionary words of Dujuan's older family members, we are shown that incarceration is

beginning, the mood is terse with scenes of Dujuan and his friends surveilling upon the city at night, appearing as a distant kingdom viewed through a lens of perverse exoticism. The children refer to Alice Springs as "where all the rich white men comes" in a tone of disaffection. The audience is quickly introduced to the difficulties Dujuan is having at school - his inherent energy is siphoned away

a distracted, troublesome student. The meandering plot follows Dujuan's congregation with other children in the city, not partaking in anything malicious but clearly garnering the attention of local police anyway. As a last resort to avoid his intersection with juvenile disciplinary forces, Dujuan is sent to live with his estranged father on country in the hopes that his removal from the gaze of authorities will curb his future away from a well known refrain of social injustice operating in Australia.

in class, disregarded and condemned by the state schooling forReflection: I was left with a sense of hopelessness on Dujuan's behalf - we


think of our childhood as a time defined by innocence and freedom (notably From the outset of this film it feels as though Dujuan is being

a privilege we aren't aware of at the time), so to see a childhood unfolding

passed along an administrative series of steps that respond to him

in this way, buffered about by uncaring bureaucracy, is absolutely disarming.

as a misbehaving child and not an aboriginal boy with a very speblack and white logic of the government in managing family affairs

In My Blood It Runs is centered around Dujuan Hoosan (pictured above), who acted as co-cinematographer on the project.

within the aboriginal community, and the minute amount of em-


cific set of conditions systematically acting upon his life. We see the

Hoosan appeared before the UN in 2019, delivering a frank request to rethink the mass incarceration of indigenous children. 40

That the documentary is set in the present day adds to the frustration one feels around Dujuan's situation, as it is clear that the systems informing his life are unlikely to experience dramatic change any time soon.

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Ten Canoes, a film directed by Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr

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was to be punished accordingly. His solemn admission to wrongdoing in the form of cooperation with the tribe whose member he killed shows a deep

Ten Canoes is a 2006 film that follows a group of ten canoeist men

respect for inter-tribal rituals and mutual respect. He willfully subjects him-

and their lives in the surrounding community. The film is made up of

self to a ceremony whereby he and his younger brother are attacked with

footage taken by the anthropolgist Donald Thompson in 1936, and

spears, during which he is fataly injured. This gravitas placed on ceremonial

thus goes further than any dramaticised depiction in representing

practices are again highlighted with the sorcerer's role as one of the most

the lifestyles of aboriginal groups at the time.

well-respected members of the community, and through the ritual dance

The scene where the tribe of the slain man mercilessly attack Ridjimiraril and his younger brother.

performed by Ridjimariril during his last moments. Through this film I was introduced to rich information around the

The Ten Canoes was highly acclaimed both in Australia and abroad, and has been credited as a sensitive exploration of kinship systems.

tribal relationships that operate in aboriginal groups: we see exam-

Reflection: I enjoyed that in a film with serious undertones, there were still

ples of polygamy and light-hearted jealously between members of

moments of humour and lightheartedness expressed in a way that felt uni-

the tribe and their partners. This spirals into more serious emotions

versally understandable. Jokes and taunts are exchanged between tribes-

when a mysterious stranger visits the tribe and on leaving is sus-

men and are perceptible without subtitles. Given the director's heritage as a

pected to have stolen a tribe member's wife. Seeking to avenge

white male, I wonder what the process of developing the narrative was like. I

his wife's absence, Ridjimiraril wrongfully assasinates a member

found that I was left with the sense that death was an accepted part of life in

of another tribe. What was perhaps the most surprising event in

this tribal scene, not to be feared but to be accepted honorably as a natural

the film for me, was Ridjimariril's subsequent acceptance that he

chapter in a cyclical existence that begins and ends in the same place.



David Gulpilil acts as the narrator in Ten Canoes, which might signify the director's commitment to accurately retelling aboriginal customs, as Gulpilil is known as a pivotal figure in the representation of aboriginal peoples in film. He is credited with encouraging realistic ethnographic portrayals of Aboriginality and related cultural practices across many Australian and international films.

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The Australian Dream - starring Adam Goodes, written by Stan Grant,

ward) are shocking as they reveal a streak of shared thought embedded within present


day Australia, which had previously been lying concealed. It is the youth and apparent disinterest of the implicated girl that is most disturbing; after the first wave of backlash

AFL was introduced to me almost immediately on arrival in Australia, and is

towards Goodes she reverts back to being unapolagetic as if casual racism was a re-ap-

known (especially in Melbourne) as the intiator of great debate and passion-

proved state of equilibrium. This makes me think back to 'In My Blood It Runs', where

ate following amongst many. Knowing the cultural and ethnic boundaries that

the idea of childhood innoncence is shown to be tragically permeable to a state-spon-

the sport bridges through its fanbase made this theatrical documentary all

sored brand of racism, and that the dichotomy of trauma and colonial righteousness

the more visceral in its content. Such a recent series of public events and I had

are threads that are not cleanly cut between generations like we might wish they were.

never heard them referenced until now.

The documentary continues to see Goodes experiencing emotional turmoil and eventual withdrawal from the sport that afforded him national stature.

Adam Goodes is quickly introduced by way of his athletic prowess and

'Goodesy' provoked nationwide discussion around casual, inbuilt racism. This discussion was channelled through an existing cultural network - the AFL.

sportsmanship, and as a longstanding, highly respected player for the Syd-

Reflection: It is interesting to note the media response throughout the ordeal - the AFL is

ney Swans. After over a decade of play in the AFL, the audience is shown a

slow to apologise, media bodies disseminate information sympathetic to the young girl and

snippet of film that depicts a perturbing moment that so deftly embodies

defend the rights of the crowd to boo. The cacophany of mixed opinions sheds light on a

systematic racism: a 13 year old girl calls out "ape" as Goodes runs by. The en-

fragmented Australia which is undoubtedly still in the process of unravelling itself publically.

suring events (the young girl is ejected from the stadium, apologies of varying

It seems that through this uncomfortable chain of conversation, Australia is undergoing a

strength are offered to Goodes, Goodes is publically booed for years after-

necessary examination of its constitutional values.



Goodes (top) became known for his celebratory dance referring to an aboriginal form of performance. Other players (e.g. Lewis Jetta, bottom) took up this practice in solidarity. One can compare this to a similar Maori practice: in NZ, the haka is an accepted part of game preparations and is seen as a unquestionable part of the All Blacks' identity. This comparison highlights to how the leadership of a sporting body that is perceived as a trusted and integral part of a national identity can shape outlets of underlying national sentiments.

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'White Man got no Dreaming' - W.E.H. Stanner

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Reflection: Reading the work of Stanner has helped to underscore the deemphasis on time that underpins some Aboriginal concepts like the dream time.

Stanner is an Australian anthropologist who devoted his lifelong studies towards

Stanner refers to 'The Dreaming' as "a concept so impalpable and subtle" yet

recording the cultural specificities of Aboriginal Australians. He did this alongside

makes a careful attempt at describing what he has come to understand as a

various communities in a way that aimed to provide a deeper awareness of their

framework for arranging stories and history in a non linear way. Considering

customs to a white Australian population preoccuppied with their difference. In

this new system of arranging collective thought has been thought-provoking

this collection of essays, Stanner tries to delineate come key areas of cultural im-

in that it brings awareness to what layers of a European conception of the

portance within Aboriginal thought in a way that doesn't profess to be exhaustive

world need to be peeled back to consider other models. Ideas that we think

or finite, but in a thorough and empathetic tone.

of in defined terms like 'mind' and 'body' are challenged by Stanner - where do these things overlap in European culture? Stanner describes a greater

Stanner's career as an anthropologist saw his research extend across multiple states, institutions and decades. His work covers much development in the relationship between Aboriginal Australians and european Australians, but even in his 1978 forward he decries the current state of persecution that defines the lives of Aborigines.

A concept often talked about in relation to Australian Aboriginal culture but one

cohesion between these terms and other intangible ingredients of self, and

that I knew little more about than just the name, is that of 'The Dreaming'. In his

that they are considered to be intimately linked and personal in Aboriginal

essay of the same name, Stanner goes about describing what this fluid notion

thought, Through this candid description of his own experiences, Stanner has

can encompass, and what might need to be 'unthought' when attempting to un-

offered a succinct commentary on the existential systems of thought that

derstand the meaning of 'The Dreaming' from a European mind set. Interestingly,

we should be aware of when developing an understanding of Aboriginal cul-

Stanner suggests that the nearest English equivalent to 'dreaming' is that of the

ture, and how our percevibly rigid understanding of empirical terms should

puzzle because of its multifaceted nature . 45

be repealed when grappling with the ideologies which define Aboriginal life. 46

One of the passages I found most poignant Stanner describes tales of the Dreaming as "the poetic key to Reality".

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"Australia Day" - Stan Grant

that he was able to feel a strong spiritual con-

Reflection: It was particularly interesting to hear Grant refer back to Stan-

nection to once he was able to physically con-

ner's work, stating that he had "stolen the future of Aboriginal peoples" by

I was first introduced to Stan Grant through his role in 'The Austra-

nect with Irish land. In contrast, when he arrives

sharing the assumption that their culture was being increasingly separated

lian Dream', where he is credited as writer but is also interviewed,

'home' to Australia he is met with a barrage of

from that of colonials. Grant rebukes this, using his own life as an example

divulging his empathy for Goodes during his role as an instigator of

mixed emotions that don't necessarily equate to

of two cultural tides intermingling and creating a unique fusion in its own

discussion around national identity. Australia Day follows on from

a sense of belonging. Grant draws links between

right. Previously I had only viewed Stanner's work as an attempt to provide

Grant's first autobiographical book, 'Talking to My Country'.

the literature that exists within Australia regard-

detailed, relatable accounts of Aboriginal customs which might breed some

ing Aboriginal life and identity, and how it re-

empathy and reconsideration amongst european readers. Grant has shown

Here, Grant discusses the concept of identity - how it is a para-

lates to the struggle of African Americans. When

that it's crucial to consider the harm that seemingly progressive works can

doxical notion that we on one hand believe to be wholly controlled

compared it seems that the collective psyche in

do, as even those with the intention of bringing greater awareness to the

by ourselves, but on the other is woven in to larger streams of

Australia has chosen to remain silent in relation

concept defining Aboriginal culture risk exacerbating the 'otherness' that

history and cultural information that we are not able to peel away

to the persecution of the country's first people,

it has been branded with. Particularly harrowing is to hear about Grant's

from with ease. He describes the almost suffocating weight of his

and the emotional turmoil that has come as a

career which has lead to him witnessing all manner of horrific sights given

own heritage as enforced by the culture of his home country and

result is of a special, insidious kind that can't re-

his profession as an international journalist. Through this vocation he has

it's difficult journey through attempted reconciliation. What does it

ally be compared to a nation like America where

experienced viscerally awful scenes of war and violence, but finds these in-

mean to be cosmopolitan, or citizen of the world? Grant cites his

systematic racism is present but talked about

comparable to the deep pain associated with developing an identity around

Irish heritage from which he was distanced for most of his life, but

'Australia Day' was published in 2019 and is Stan Grant's third book regarding Aboriginality in Australia. 47

with more prevalence in main stream media. 48

a culture which continues to be persecuted in a quiet, ongoing manner.

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Wrong Kind of Black - ABC webseries

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his close family members forcing them to flee. To see the progression of racism framed like this brings to the fore the constant awareness

Wrong Kind of Black is a webseries made up of 13 minute episodes retelling the lives

that the two brothers have had to grow into. This is surely due to

of Monty and Paul Pryor, two (non-fictional) aboriginal brothers from Townsville.

their exposure to situations where the hallmarks of their culture are

Monty worked as a DJ in Melbourne in the 70s, before gaining a job in Perth at a

expressedly punished for no other reason apart from being deemed

prestigious night club. On arrival, Monty was rejected by the club on the grounds

aboriginal in nature. Monty especially is always alert, ready to avoid

that he is the 'wrong kind of black' - they didn't want to encourage aboriginal pa-

the systematic channels leading to unjust treatment.

Boori Monty Pryor became a children's book author and performer following his DJ career.

tronage. Thus even the namesake of the show points out the absurdity of aboriginal-specific racism.

Reflection: I feel that the apparent absurdity of racial logic guiding some of the events the brothers go through is a powerful device in

Above: Monty and Paul as children who, in the episodes, live through moments of discrimination and conflict due to their aboriginality. These incidents reveal how widespread such reminders could be - the schoolyard acts as a central location where other children are the instigators of taunting.

From this format of short storytelling bursts, there was an profound depth able to

pointing out to today's viewers that while we can watch the series

be achieved. Each part is divided into a 'current day' (70s) section and a childhood

and dismiss the some of the deplorable exchanges as 'of another

(50s) section, where the latter part illucidates a troubling racial issue through the

era', we are now only 25-30 years on from these real events. When

lens of children, while the adult counterpart documents how the issue has devel-

we see that racist tendencies were barely improved throughout

oped over 20 odd years. In one episode the brothers are bystanders to a shooting

the 20 years between the pairs' childhood and young adulthood,

within a club, and make sure to be scarce when the police arrive for fear that they

you have to wonder how far society has made it since, It is clear

will be singled out as aboriginal men. Monty flashes back to being chased into

that racism continues to lurk, perhaps less visibly but never fully

croc infested water as a child, as police storm a corroboree being held between




Monty is strikingly believable as a character who could exist today; the show links to contemporary culture (vinyl revival etc) to bring weight to its more sombre messages.

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Picnic at Hanging Rock, a 1975 film directed by Peter Weir

This sets a sappy scene to be juxtaposed against shortly. Four of the party decide to explore Hanging Rock, with one

I became aware of this film through Stan Grant's novel 'Australia Day', where he

appearing to experience a trance-like motivation to ascend

makes reference to it as a time capsule displaying the colonial relationship with the

the rock. The most hesitant of the crew eventually loses sight

Australian landscape in the early 1900s. To Grant, the film exemplifies the mysti-

of the others and in a state returns to the picnic with news

cism, harshness and dark occultism associated with a land the settlers were strug-

of the disappearance. The whereabouts of the women is

gling to understand. It is absolutely true that throughout the film, scenes where the

never resolved even after several search parties (including

landscape intervenes are overlaid with an ominous score and eerie action that sup-

one aided by a local aboriginal) attempt to scour the rock.

port a narrative of discomfort and uncertainty. Reflection: As hinted at by Grant, this film portrays the The plot retells the true story of a female boarding school cohort and their Valen-

landscape as a character in itself - the last bastion of chaos

tines Day outing to Hanging Rock that goes wildly askew when four of the women go

that remains unconquered by the colonial force. The over-

missing. Earlier in the piece, the school establishes a backdrop of privilege and other

dramatisation is almost laughable to see but must be con-

tropes of typical comfort - pristine white costumes, a perfectly mown lawn and a

firmation that audiences of the day would have held actual

private carriage to transport the giggling group out to their much anticipated des-

reservations about what mystical powers the monolithic

tination. On arrival at the grounds, the picnic scene is made ethereal with glistening

land formations of Australian rock might have. I found this a

sunshine and a dozen of the young women lying about in dry grasses eating cake.

curious insight into the psyche of the early 1900s.



Stills reveal the ominous lens that Hanging Rock is portrayed through.

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It's Not a Race - 'Whiteness' episode, a podcast by ABC

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A cousin term to "whiteness" is "white fragility" - the ca-

Society keeps us ignorant - all leaders, teachers those

pacity to bare stress related to our racial identities. If it is

in positions of authority are primarily white. "If you are

This conversational podcast first speaks to Dr Odette Kelada

suggested that being white is attached to any meaning,

white and you have not committed years to develop a

of the University of Melbourne, who describes the concept of

this is generally uncomfortable given that whiteness is as-

relationship with race relations, your opinions are nec-

'whiteness'. She explains that the idea of race as a concept

sociated with freedom from association or control over

essarily limited" - there is no way to have developed,

developed simultaneously to the notion that whiteness was at

one's identity. "Whiteness" amounts to anonymity in many

the top of this heirarchical structure, therefore superiority is in-

ways - it is a mask that hides specificity of heritage and

grained into the very existence of a race-based system of de-

denotes connection to an amorphous grouping. Part of

termination. An adjacent comment is that race is not biological;

being white is being unchallenged, being neutral or unde-

it was invented - this seems an obvious remark but Kelada as-

fined by any racial constraints - we haven't been tested to

sures that it remains a surprise to many students who associ-

endure the taboos of race. If this information is intersected

ate as white. This is generally because they have never been

with that presented in 'Sand Talk', maybe this perceived

Reflection: This work was highly useful to bring ac-

afronted with their own whiteness - there are few institutional

freedom comes from the fact that we are more akin to

countability to my own existence and to consider the

or societal boundaries that will segregate using whiteness as a

the "global diaspora of refugees devered not only from

current landscape of social relationships as a white

qualifier, so most who consider themselves 'white' do so in a

land", we are so far displaced from any one geographic

person in Australia. Discomfort is a necessary hall-

highly internalised way that doesn't encourage overt recognition

area or people that we don't know what it feels like to

of the privileges that accompany a label based purely on race.

have a strong, unquantifiable link to a group of people. 53

informed a nuanced understanding without strong exposure. It's not possible to treat everyone the same. "White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not." - Robin diAngelo

Some of the episodes featured as part of the 'It's Not a Race' podcast. 54

mark of assessing one's own actions within a racially arbitrated society.

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Sand Talk, Tyson Yunkaporta

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his life's story given this intermingling of cultures that do not attempt to interact

Reflection: Yunkaporta makes clear

meaningfully throughout society. Yunkaporta faces the difficult role of navigating

the depths to which our primary

"The ware between good and evil is in reality an imposition of stupid-

a responsibility to keep and protect Aboriginal knowledge while also using it as an

systems of thought need to be re-

ity over wisdom and complexity."

academic substrate. As one of a small number occupying this space in the Venn

thought if we are to understand and

This is a summary of what Yunkaporta expands as the ongoing tendency

diagram of Aboriginal thought and academia and the publishing world, it is under-

appreciate the strengths of Aborigi-

for narcissistic systems to attempt control over cultures that appear sim-

standable that this could feel like a huge pressure - how to do justice to the cultural

nal notions. It is not a matter of ap-

plistic but are in reality more atuned to the symbiosis between the inhabit-

data of a people who may not want their customs to be freely disseminated.

propriating small samples of their

ing creatures of the earth and the landscape they occupy. "In my travels I saw that it was our ways, not our things, that grounded us and

tems of communication, reflection,

sustained us."

the arrangement of key concepts

"I can speak from knowledge but not for it"

"Through the lens of simplicity, historical contexts of interrelatedness and up-

and how material and immaterial

"break my identity into digestible chunks"

heaval are sidelined, and the authenticity of Indigenous Knowledge and identi-

idesa interact. The way in which

In a similar way to Stan Grant, Yunkaporta delineates the perpetual ques-

ty is determined by an illusion of parochial isolation."

Aboriginal thought has been sim-

tioning of self he has undergone to navigate Aboriginal identity, personal

In these quotes, the author brings up a theme that has been visible throughout the

plified to embody a broad respect

and collective, in the cultural landscape of today's Australia. He has walked

research phase so far: that much Aboriginal history is subject to dismissal for its lack

for the land needs to expand and

between a metropolitan lifestyle defined by his academia and the systems

of physical remainders. The western system of history and heritage discounts the

be enriched to encompass the much

of urban life, and one that has seen him spend significant time within Ab-

'ways', rituals, movements and other metaphysical phenomena that Yunkaporta is

more complex network of relation-

orignal communities. Yunkaporta offers that he finds it difficult to share

referring to.

"endless cycles of interrogation about my identity"

The lower case title of the book foreshadows an unpicking of Western ideals of communication and history recording.

culture, but one of observing sys-



ships it can represent.

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"Our knowledge is only valued if it is fossilised"

togetherness. Each person or entity holds a piece of a wider story and is

Reflection: While reading this excerpt I found it

This quote seems to carry on from the last, where the

valued for that contribution. A broader story emerges from the arrange-

really valuable to zoom out to the standpoint

societal norms for how a culture is memorialised is called

ment of the individual agents.

of reconsidering the very structures that define

into question. There is a paradox in the attempt to gain

A passage from sand talk where the author explains the structuring of chapters to reflect

thought and communication. We are so rarely

and share knowledge around Aboriginal ways in Australia,

"Viewing the world through a len of simplicity always seems to

forced to confront the effects of how we con-

as its immortalisation defies its natural state of being as

make things more complicated, but simultaneously less complex."

sume and gain information, or how we analyse

a fluid, immaterial item. Attempting to fossilise it through

This is part of a larger segment of the chapter that explains the loss

and question that very information. The author’s

the creation of commodities or cultural exhibitions is a

of information that occurs when a simplification process is imposed on

critical dismantling of the common expectancy

problematic approach towards the supposed empower-

information that is too rich to distill. The differentiation between compli-

for cultures to be easily transferrable between

ment of a group who do not share the same relationship

cated and complex is explained by comparing the communication pat-

various formats is fascinating, as it quickly out-

with the consumption of cultural information

terns of Indigenous Australians, where speech has reigned over written

lines the clear disjuncture between what some

or recorded language. When approached from a non-western stand-

cultural events and customs can contain that

"Our knowledge endures because everybody carries

point, written language can be seen as an unnuanced handling of audible

will not survive transferral to a form associated

a part of it, no matter how fragmentary. If you want

speech, that ends up complicating the way messages are transferred by

with empirical notation. This reading provoked

to see the pattern of creation you talk to everybody

forcing their original state to be pushed through a pipeline of transferral.

an awareness of how systems of information

and listen carefully"

It could be argued that there is no way to convert a human conversation

consumption that we interact with are anything

This seems to point to the role of the individual in the au-

into recorded form without innacuracies and subversions occurring, as

but neutral, and are not engineered to honour the

thor's eyes - one that invokes the power of community and

must be the case when Indigenous culture is portrayed in text.

high fidelity of immaterial data in Indigenous life.



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Reflection: Reading the first few chapters of this

A Handful of Sand:The Gurindji Struggle, after the Walk-Off, Charlie Ward

book provided a rich account of life on the Wave Hill This book offers invaluable insight into a relatively recent part of Kalkaringi's his-

cattle station and the awful conditions experienced

tory. It is an in-depth account of the events that lead up to and followed the

by Aboriginal workers there over an extended peri-

Walk-Off that occurred on the Wave Hill cattle station. It was this peaceful pro-

od of time. Most fascinating is to hear specific con-

test that triggered the long-winded journey towards the hand back of Gurindji

versations or characteristics about key figures in the

land to its traditional owners as was signified through the handing of sand from

Wave Hill Walk-Off - Vincent Lingiari of course is

then prime minister Gough Whitlam to Vincent Lingiari. This book goes into great

spoken about at length in a way that paints him as

detail around the specific workers, acitivists and figures who were instrumental

a highly respected leader who was able to mobilise

in the eventual ceding of Gurindji Land. The first part covers a 40 year period

those around him while navigating the interests of the

where the Gurindji and Indigenous Australians from further afield formed the

Vestey family and others. To hear the specifities of

workforce upon which pastoralists built an agricultural station at Jinparrak. The

the story that link it to the broader narrative of Indig-

Vestey family running the cattle station provided minimal recompense to the

enous land reclamation in Australia - i.e. how various

workers, fuelling many instances of violence and conflict from the 1930s - 1960s.

activists travelled from afar to support the Gurindji

Despite this, some relationships between the two groups were tenable such as

or showed their support in other ways, - brings great

that between the Vestey family and Vincent Lingiari, which is proven to be a key tenant in the ability for the Gurindji people to have confidently deserted their dwellings at the station in search of a self-determined existence.

weight to our work as designers. The national signifThe iconic image of Gough Whitlam and Vincent Liangiari 59

A map featured in the book detailing the Walk-Off route and the locations of the various significant spots in the history of Kalkaringi. 60

icance of Kalkaringi in a wider narrative of cultural revival is immense.

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Wide Scope

Planet Money Episode 975: Reparations in New Zealand - NPR

AWAYE podcast, ABC

This podcast features various people involved in returning land to its tradi-

The AWAYE podcast frames the Aboriginal arts scene by providing in-

tional Maori owners in New Zealand. Mavis Mullins - a lawyer who has rep-

terviews with a huge cross section of contributors - artists, poets, mu-

resented Maori on some such occasions, speaks of the process that is set

sicians and other creatives from across the country. The conversations

in motion between the Crown and Maori tribes, as the traditional owners

vary in length, with some taking the form of 'audio postcards' where a

of New Zealand land ,when official reparations are made. Since the 1980s,

speaker gives a brief snapshot of their life and what they are up to cre-

the Crown has been returning land to Maori groups, which has spurred the

atively, while some are longer form and delve into more comprehensive

process of attributing monetary value to past atrocities. What does money

issues. 'The Word' is a sub-section of the show where a speaker pres-

and land ownership truly mean in an exhcange like this? Can the atrocities

ents their favourite terms from an Aboriginal language, but this usually

of the past begin to be exonerated if the material goods involved are sym-

leads on to further conversation on other specific customs.

bolically returned? How are the immaterial aspects dealt with?

Reflection: Despite it’s lighthearted tone and truly varied

Reflection: This discussion around reconciliation is highly relevant to Indige-

content, I found this resource to be one of the most powerful

nous-colonial relations in Australia, even if it is difficult to compare. It evokes the same issues that will continue to arise here: how to retrospectively honour the occupation of land by its traditional owners when this exchange signifies an extremely difficult history encompassing much more than the simple concept of land occupation?

Mavis Mullens speaking at the land return ceremony and signing the Deed of Settlement with the Crown which cemented the return of land to Maori Iwi. 61

The AWAYE podcast features a vast mix of arts and culture content from Indigenous Australian groups and publishes a new episode on a weekly basis.

in displaying the diversity of Indigenous cultures within Australia. With each guest came a unique insight into Aboriginal Australia, and where arts and culture intersect with this.


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Reflection: It’s been gratifying to finally read Dark Emu,

Wide Scope

a book which has gained increasing attention after its adaptation for young adults has been included in the curriculum. Pascoe’s tone manages to incite both

Dark Emu - Bruce Pascoe

Australian land did not represent the same conditions known to European agricultures, thus they came to consider the land-

In this non-fictional piece, Bruce Pascoe goes describes different

scape as a barren and unproductive. The limited research into

Aboriginal land management concepts which have historically been

Aboriginal land practices reveals that this was the antithesis of

overlooked by the Western world. Pascoe challenges the simplistic

the Aboriginal relationship with the land, which saw large quan-

perception of Aboriginal Australians as hunter-gatherers by delin-

tities of native food product being harvested and stored in a

eating what is known about their highly adapted lifestyle, and what

cycle that worked with the characteristics of each crop.

is continuing to be revealed due to disappointingly recent appreciation for the transient practices that defined their extended occu-

Pascoe illuminates the common theme of transience and im-

pancy of the land before colonial presence.

materiality in Aboriginal culture, by offering examples of their fine-tuned practices which were successful but therefore left

The Dark Emy cover features an image of the Murnong Yam Daisy, a crop that supported Aboriginal communities due to its suitability to the Australian climate.

Pascoe speaks of an array of agricultural practices which had

largely unrecognised due to their lack of physical trace. Even

evolved over long periods of time to work in symbiosis with the land-

as awareness of the extent and delicacy of said practices is

scape. Many of the agricultural practices were underpinned by a

growing, Pascoe says that there is suprisingly little research into

comprehensive understanding of plant and animal species, which

agricultural notions which could see a new movement of mod-

when compared to the pastoralists' techniques from a distant conti-

ern food production and conception of the environment. He also

nent, were startlingly more adapted to the successful management

speaks in architectural terms, describing settlement patterns

of crops . 63

that are similarly mired in mystery due to their lightness. 64

a hopeful and suitably sombre mood to speak about the extent to which the highly calibrated nature of Aboriginal culture has been overlooked, The element of hope in his work offers avenues for future reconnection with the environment on a national scale. If Pascoe is preluding to a period of greater research into the agricultural and architectural interventions of Aboriginal groups, I’m excited to see what more will be revealed and then hopefully applied to how built structures are conceived of. This is especially applicable in the context of Bower Studio where there are strong links to Aboriginal groups who may deeply associate with their traditional land and the wisdom that accompanies it. Through this reading I’ll seek to find siimilar examples that might exist in Kalkaringi where the Gurindji have historically intervened in the landscape in a way that might inform our designs.

03 research Wide Scope

Reflection / Future Engagement: With each reading came a collection of related content that offered similarly intriguing insight into Indigenous thought, customs and identities. Within the scope of one semester it was necessary to gradually depart from a period of rigorous research to focus on more targetted work relating to our design projects, however the constant accruing of future resources did not stop. What follows is a collection of books, films and other events that I wish to read at some point to continue the threads of what these past works have begun to shed light on. This is by no means an exhaustive list but includes items which have consistently come up.

Books and Readings:

Yijarni: True stories from Gurindji country


03 research Wide Scope

Erika Charola & Felicity Meakins

Welcome to Country

Marcia Langton

Welcome to Country

Aunty Joy Murphy

Serious Whitefella Stuff No Small Change


Mark Moran Frank Brennan Bruce Pascoe

Charlie's Country (2013)

On Identity & Talking to my Country

Stan Grant

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)

Growing Up Aboriginal & Am I Black Enough For You?

Anita Heiss

Sweet Country (2017)

The Little Red Little Yellow Black Book

Elders Ghost River Gurindji ethnobotany : Aboriginal plant use from

Peter McConchie

Our Law (2020)

Tony Birch

The Skin of Others (2020)

Glenn Wightman

Mystery Road (2013) 8MMM Aboriginal Radio (ongoing)

Daguragu, Northern Australia Not Just Black and White Too Much Lip The Unlucky Australians Archival Poetics Because a White Man'll Never Do It Black Politics Treading Lightly: The Wisdom of the World's Oldest

Lesley Williams

The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978)

Melissa Lucashenko

Beneath Clouds (2002)

Frank Hardy

Satellite Boy (2012)

Natalie Harkin

We Don't Need a Map (2017)

Kevin Gilbert

Mabo (2012)

Sarah Maddison

Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)

Karl-Erik Sveiby

People Lo-Tek

Storm Boy (1976) Our Law - a film directed by Cornel Ozies - will be part of the 2020 Sydney Film Festival.

Julia Watson 65


Radiance (1998) The Tracker (2002)

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Cultural Competency

Cultural Competency

Central to the possibility of proposing successful architectural designs within Ab-

Working with Aboriginal People: A


original communities is an understanding of the specific cultural notions and cus-

Resource to Promote Culturally Re-

Kinship structures are webs of relationships

toms existing within each. One's evolving knowledge of cultural context should be

sponsive Disability Services in West-

and personal connections that define social

paired with the awareness that no assumptions should be made regarding what

ern Australia

behaviours. Kinship systems can define who

is best for a community or group within it. On the path to gaining a familiarity

is able to relate to one another on various

with Aboriginal customs, the exchange of knowledge should not be treated as a

This resource provides a summary of

given event as it might be in a common commercial project, as its distribution is

items to consider when working with

governed by a complex social system that it is not always appropriate to speak

Aboriginal people in an Australian

A related term is 'Skin Names' which refer

about or question.

context. To be noted is that the con-

to a grouping of people based on Kinship

cepts therein are broad and don't

relations. Regional groups are subdivided

These are some initial personal findings that have arisen from research so far, and

purport to relate to every Aboriginal

into named categories that are interrelat-

which I will aim to expand on in this segment. I will try to record and extrapolate

community or person. It was never-

ed through a system of kinship. Skin Names

on these throughout the design and consultation process to represent a shifting

theless a useful resource to become

and the principles that govern them define

understanding of Aboriginatilty and related notions. While the following may not

familiar with certain social cues and

certain avoidance relationships whereby

be an exhaustive list of learnings, it will serve to document ideas and information

networks which might affect our ap-

social distancing between two affected par-

that illuminates previous unknowns and provokes re-evaluation of existing ideas.

proach to design consultation.

ties needs to be maintained.

levels - business, personal, ceremonial etc.

A diagram I found useful in presenting ideas of self in Aboriginal culture. 67


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Traditional background:

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Cultural Competency

Cultural Competency

Aboriginal / Indigenous:

From Sand Talk

This refers to Aboriginal people who have

The term 'Aboriginal' is generally preferred over the term ' indigenous' when

A concept talked about in Tyson Yunkaporta's book is the distinction be-

kept close ties with their customs, ceremo-

referring to Australian aboriginal peoples. 'Indigenous' fills a broader role

tween Aboriginal and European paradigms of thought. He speaks on the

nies and traditions specific to their region.

that encompasses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and can be

focus on oral traditions in Aboriginal cultures and the accepted use of hand

applied globally.

gestures to communicate complex ideas. When this form of communica-


tion is forced through another set of criteria - namely Western methods of

Elders of a community are deeply respect-


communication that are text based - information can be distorted or lost.

ed. They are usually tasked with choosing

Laws vary between communities and define the social heirarchies operating

To reconcile this, Yunkaporta uses symbols to notate his chapters and to

how and when certain knowledge is passed

in a group. Elders are members of a community who have undergone all

explain ideas talked about in the novel.

down to future generations.

requirements of sacred law, and are therefore recognised as the leaders within this group.

Mens and Womens Business: Certain issues within Aboroginal culture will

An excerpt from Sandtalk illustrates the power of Aboriginal law:

have particular relevance to one gender

"My customary adoption two decades ago into Apalech is under Aboriginal

only, or will come from the perspective of

Law, which is strict and inalienable. This Law prevents me from identifying

this gender.

with Nungar/Koori/Scottish affiliations by descent and demands that I take on exclusiverly the names and roles and genealogies required of Apalech clan membership." 69

Reflection: This example showing a complex idea being represented through seemingly simple iconography is profound - it makes you question why we rely so heavily on other forms of communication, such as writing, where so much complexity is cut out, and so many are excluded by the fact that literacy is a qualifying factor in being able to gain meaning from text. Gestures and visual cues can then be seen as the only universal language perhaps, and maybe just as in architecture it is the transience of it that has seen it overlooked in the Western world. 70

Yunkaporta refers to the idea of seeing the world through two different thought paradigms which can be represented by a hand in different orientations. Overlaying them allows for a dual understanding or analysis of the world.

03 research

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Cultural Competency

Cultural Competency

Other key ideas:

Cultural dysphoria: A term mentioned by Stan Grant in his book 'Australia Day', this refers to the iden-


tity-related confusion that can arise from belonging to multiple cultures. Grant sug-

Country and 'Land' are intertwined terms with significi-

gests that this is inevitable for Aboriginal Australians, who have been historically

cant cultural weight in Aboriginal culture. The wellbeing

shamed for their Aboriginality. The intersection of cosmopolitan life and traditional

of Aboriginal people is highly connected to land which

Aboriginal customs necessarily causes great cultural dysphoria for those trying to

can be seen as more than the sum of its physical parts.

balance both, as is corroborated by Yunkaporta. This can accompany feelings of

The land is a system of concepts and things that sustain

shame and displacement.

humans and their culture. Thus, spirituality and land are interdependent. The spirit of ‘country’ is a metaphysical capturing of this relationship.

From classroom talks: - be wary of aiming to 'empower' anyone, as if you are the hidden key to a problem that's been festering.


Referring back to a map delineating the Indigenous Nations of Australia and their confines is crucial to honouring the diversity of customs that occurs within one geographic mass. While some notions are shared, others vary from group to group.

- meetings - have a plan and try to communicate it early on, so everyone involves

Aboriginal family life is often characterised by strong

knows what it planned.

relationships amongst family members, even extended

- mens and womens dynamics are visible in community - separate bathroom en-

parties. A death in the family can sometimes mean that

trances are necessary. Always allow for ease of exiting/ the ability for people honour-

the deceased persons name is no longer used. 71

ing avoidance relationships to not have to encounter one another. 72

A valuable distributor of educational resources for cultural competency are the Centre for Cultural Competence Australia.

03 research

Early History:

*This timeline is highly simplified for the purposes of understanding the most recent events relating to Kalkaringi specifically

British occupation of Australia begins despite widespread Aboriginal resistance. Indigenous Australians are deemed 'Natives' and have no formal citizenship status. continued conflict, massacres and forced

Cultural Competency 65,000+ years ago

before 1770


this part of the timeline has been reduced by a scale of 8,000 to fit

As mentioned earlier, I am aware of not having grown up in Australia

for anyone who has dwelled here in

resettlements inflicted upon Indigenous Australians

Indigenous Australians occupy the continent

Aboriginal societies were well established throughout Australia.

fairs. The same concern extends to

Recent History:

James Cook makes claim to Australia on behalf of Britain. All Indigenous rights are revoked in the eyes of the crown.

tity and numerous other interrelated foundational notions, To build my own knowledge on a strong foundation, I


feel that it's important to first grasp an understanding of the interaction

Wave Hill walk-off


the Racial Discrimination Act and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act are passed


Myall Creek massacre - 28 Kamilaroi people are shot by settlers. This is the first case of punishment for

1788 The High Court of Australia rules in the Mabo case that Indigenous peoples are the original occupants of Australia, doctrine of terra nullius is overturned

to indigenous groups of Australia fom a position of , I .

moments in history in a graphic chart of retention and learning - is it appropriate to plot these moments as though they occur on a linear chart guided by our Western idea of time and its quan-

National inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal 1992 and Torres Strait Islander children from their families

tification? Any attempt to summarize

Worldwide protests as part of the Black Lives Matter movement after 2008 racially targeted police violence in the US

between time and human activity on the canvas of this continent, I wished

Reflection: This approach of plotting out leads me to question my own methods

regards to Aboriginal history and afthe comprehension of national iden-

Cultural Competency


and not being exposed to the informal and formal learning that occurs

03 research

the events that have characterised Aboriginal life in Australia will surely fail to encompass the longevity of their culture and all that has preceded the last centuries of persecution and violence. It is astounding to think of how long and dif-

Drinking rights granted

The Commonwealth ElecLabor Government adopts toral Act gives full entitleself-determination as 1966 official government policy 1975-76 ment to all Indigenous Australians to vote in all state in Indigenous affairs. and territory elections 73



Kevin Rudd's apology The Native Title Act to Indigenous peoples passes in Federal 1995 Today speech Parliament

ficult the path has been to merely recognising the status of Aboriginal people as the first occupants of Australia, and that this process is ongoing.

03 research Cultural Competency

The specificities and histories relating to

Reflection: Developing cultural competency in relation to any one culture

Aboriginal culture in Australia are vast and

is not a finite goal to be achieved and rather a commitment to ongoing

highly complex. There is endless information

learning and reflective thought. With this in mind, it's my feeling that the

to gain from the studying of past events

role of a designer is to iteratively ask oneself what measures are being

that have occurred, and of course there

taken to involve the client and to confirm that you are listening to the in-

are many current events that speak to the

formation they are providing you with. This feel especially significant when

state of the present day national psyche

working with Aboriginal groups, where oral culture is valued and imparted

in Australia and what implications this has

knowledge represents a generous giving of potentially sacred or personal

for Aboriginal groups. From a foreigners


03 research Cultural Competency

perspective, it seems all to easy to settle in Australia and to not encounter any encour-

Going forward our studio cohort will surely learn from our consultation

agement to engage with Aboriginal culture

experiences and gradually gain an understanding of what formats of com-

in any form - many institutions, like the uni-

munication are most approrpriate. By starting with this foundation of re-

versity for example, offer optional programs

search we are in a good position to seek out further education in the area

of cultural competency and free resources

of cultural competency now that we are all surely more aware than ever

on the subject, but only to those who are

of its importance.

actively seeking them out. 75

Most large institutions offer a guide similar to the pictured example (University of Melbourne,-protocols-and-advice) 76

The University of Sydney currently offers a free course around Cultural Competence relating to Aboriginal experiences and narratives of Sydney. (Enrolment available at


Esquisse Brief Design Response Feedback + Evaluation



04 esquisse Brief

04 esquisse Brief lack of storage sees artworks stacked up against windows, blocking natural light

Not long after our initial introduction to Kalkarindji

and the community facilities within it, we were given the opportunity to engage in a small scale esquisse

develop a new framework for the exhibition of artworks

exercise. This concerned the Karungkarni Arts Cen-

Karungkarni's positioning within the Kalkarindji community: it occupies the old power station and is within the flooding zone.

provide storage for artwork not being exhibited

tre - an organisation whose physical presence takes

provide storage for art supplies

the form of a converted power station on the fringe

create a mobile structure that can be

of the town's limits, and is the creative home of over

displaced to meet day-to-day and

50 local member artists. The facility was granted

Freedom Day exhibition needs

registration as an Aboriginal Corporation in 2011 and

is currently managed by a board of 8 Directors, all of whom are local aboriginal artists.

Storage bench lacking shelving and does not utilise height of space

robust enough to withstand outdoor placement

fabrication able to be carried out on site

Our first consultation session was a conversation

with Penny, who gave us a summary of the current issues affecting the every day operation of Karungkarni Arts Centre seen from the entry (left). The contained outdoor courtyard was added by the Bower Studio team in 2015.

ability to protect works from damage due to dust storms and flooding

ability to protect works from dam-

the space. These included the lack of appropriate,

age due to overcrowded storage e.g.

secure storage space, and the permeability of the

stacking too closely

building during intense weather. 79


Karungkarni Arts Centre interior difficult to navigate artworks when stacked vertically

little storage for materials and tools

04 esquisse

04 esquisse

Design Response

Design Response

Artwork display and storage proposal

sm outside ay move




Storage M


We developed modules of different sizes that might be stacked or juxtaposed to make up a large island, or to act as a standalone station for storage and display. The sizing variations would allow for areas of total and partial transparency in the final configuration.

In groups during our class session, we were tasked with creating some quick maquettes to support an initial proposition for the Arts Centre brief. Alongside Andrew and Calumn, we looked at using the mesh material to create modules of various sizes that would still allow visual transparency in the space while

Covered Outdoor


allowing artworks to be hung any desired position. The mesh was a material we could see had been used at the Arts Centre previously, proving its suitability.



Existing Plan


04 esquisse

04 esquisse Proposed modules

Design Response

Module A existing artwork

Design Response

Module B sealed plywood

Module A

The larger of two modules I devel-

Front Elevation closed position

Front Elevation open position

oped was aimed at meeting the



Plan closed position

Plan open position

Sliding display panels


display needs of the Centre - both the day to day requirements as well as the increased need for dis-

steel mesh

exhibition. Using standard sheet


play area during the Freedom Day


steel mesh

Side Elevation

sizes of steel mesh as a guide, I 400

square steel section

developed a hybrid, mobile unit

square steel section

with concealed display sheets 700

that can fold out for extra surface

front of the unit could be used for

- workbench height

extendable displays -

- removable trays

secure storage of materials and

secure tool storage -

- discrete tool storage

tools, and be locked if needed.




partial transparency -


area. The project boxes on the

Projected boxes open to provide secure storage for tools

Projected boxes open to provide secure storage for tools

Design Response

Images of the models reveal

Module A is the smaller unit aimed at providing additional

the operable storage doors

working space with concealed horizontal storage. In the

present on the projected box-

earlier picture of the Art Centre, you can see many can-

es that are affixed to the main

vases stacked vertically against the wall, making them ex-

frame of the structure. These

tremely hard to navigate quickly or rearrange. Horizontal



storage is a more efficient manner of managing multiple

them or have works hung on

canvases without the repositioning of one necessitating

their exterior face, depending

the reponsitioning of all others around it. For the module's

on what needs to be exhibited

top surface, I chose to use sealed ply that would link to

and how much transparency

the existing timber work tables, suggesting an extension

the gallery occupants would

productive space. As discussed in class, timber is seldom

like to have through the unit.

used in projects executed by Bower given its cost to per-

The basic material palette

formance benefit, reduced robustness in a hot, damp cli-

would require steel sections

mate and liability to be removed. In this context I sensed it

and mesh to be cut along

might be a rare chance where timber could be used log-

straight sections and welded

ically to add warmth to an otherwise metallic language,


and to provide a work surface that would remain cool.



Front Elevation 1200


Design Response

Module A

04 esquisse


04 esquisse

Plan 85


04 esquisse

04 esquisse

Design Response

Design Response

Removable Shelving

Side Elevation



interior mesh doubles as tool storage

concealed caster wheels The repositionable shelving within the unit is composed of steel angles bolted to the steel angle frame, upon which sheets of ply could be removed and replaced with ease. This would provide space for works to dry away from dust and other workspace hazards. The tactility of sealed ply will hopefully provide a softness in comparison to the other steel elements, and would be able to be replaced after significant use.

artist using Module B as a work station



04 esquisse

04 esquisse

Design Response


General feedback spoke of the buildability of the proposed designs. A main

A few proposals mused that a system

feature of successful projects was the availability of materials and fabrication

of hanging works might be best suited

methods on site at the Karungkarni Arts Centre. We had all seen past Bower

to removing works from the risk of flood

projects and adjusted our specifications to loosely match these, but to pursue

damage, which would also certain-

each project further we would probably have to take a more rigourous ap-

ly make more efficient use of the high

proach to the means of joining, cutting, processing and transporting all relevant

ceilings. These were critiqued mainly

products. Penny mentioned that the use of metal must be thought of carefully

on their potentially complex construc-

in terms of heat, too - she divulged that she is usually unable to touch the pad-

tion needs and the positioning of hang-

lock on the Centre at the end of the day to to the high exterior temperatures.

ing works in the room's centre which

This insight bought to the fore how carefully we must consider the interaction

might interrupt working artists. With

users might have with the different parts of any structure we might develop.

these prompts, the hanging designs still seemed like valuable starting points for

It was interesting to see the similarities between the proposals - many of us

the development of a simplified system.

opted to develop a multi-module system using the steel products we had seen

If I was to continue to develop the brief, I

in use in Kalkarindji. Many also integrated movement and repositioning which

would have liked to integrate a hanging

seemed to appeal to Penny, who expressed concern that certain more light-

element to compliment the low lying el-

weight items might need to be reconsidered to anticipate the movement that

ements of display already designed.

occurs in and around the centre. Both modules as they might be used within the Karungkarni Arts Centre



04 esquisse Feedback

Work by Leif Canuto

04 esquisse Feedback

Seeing other approaches to the brief saw a common

Reflection: The work created by us all for the Arts

thread of interest in modular structures that would of-

Centre brief surely foreshadows what will be a

fer flexibility in use and positioning. Many of us chose

broad adoption of robust construction methods and

to use panelling systems to display and house art-

practicality. It’s been useful to have this esquisse

works at the same time. Leif's work featured an 'art

project as an introduction to this kind of workflow,

cart' which had a similar end goal to mine in that it

where the close examination of existing structures

could be moved, store and display art but was fairly

provides strong reasoning for certain materialities

simple in construction. One aspect of panelised sys-

and structural approaches that have been proven

tems that he capitalised on was the ability for these

to work. In developing even this small project, we

panels to fold and create accordian-like chains.

were made aware of the many climatic forces act-

Work by Shalini Rautela with another scheme defined by a panelled system.

ing on any built structure within Kalkaringi - intense

Work by Emma Martin

Emma also proposed a folding module that made use

heat and sun, winds and dust being blown in. There’s

of the weld mesh present on the outside of the Arts

also the need to rethink what we might consider as

Centre to act as a surface for hanging art work but

an architectural default - a sealed, well insulated

also a protective barrier. She had envisaged the use of

envelope. In this case it seems that the elements

hooks with the mesh to hang artworks - a detail I had

are inevitably present within architecture, so need

overlooked in my own design.

to be thought of as such when designing. 91


Work by Annabelle Roper


social club Brief Development Research Consultation Concept Design Development Final Design



05 Social club Brief Development

Brief Development

Following the completion of the Esquisse design task and the pre-

Throughout the initial conversations with Phil and RR regarding the operation

liminary hand-in of our journals, we were introduced to our central

of the club, it's clear that there's been a lack of transparency in the financial

design project - in our case, the Warnkurr Social Club.

management of the establishment, which hasn't seen the profits being redistributed into the community as they would be under Gurindji Corporation

Protests during the 2018 Freedom Day celebrations took aim at the local Council body for failing to to hand back the social club ownership.

05 Social club

Out of the 3 projects (the others being the family centre and the

management. The club tends to go through managers every year or two,

cultural centre), the social club is unique in that we'll be working with

which has seen a range of issues arise including illegal sale of alcohol from

an existing building with its own well established place within the

the premises, and a general emotional indifference amongst managers who

community. The Warnkurr Sports and Social Club was opened on 21

are usually from outside the community.

August (Freedom Day) 1998. Reflection: Does the Social Club Brief then equate to a version of the hand

Map of Kalk

The Gurindji Social Club, date unknown

The club has been managed by the Victoria Daly Shire Council from

back of land that arose from the Wave-Hill Walk Off? The fight to return the

2008 when NT Councils were amalgamated. Since, there has been

Warnkurr Social Club to traditional owners is almost a modern iteration of the

ongoing disputes regarding the hand back of the club to the Kalkar-

events occuring in 1966 that lead to the hand back of Gurindji land. Viewing it

indji Traditional Owners. It appears as though this transition will fi-

through this lens might be a useful starting point on the way to understanding

nally happen in July of this year according to RR, who has fought for

the club as a site for sharing a proud local history of self-determination. How

ownership on behalf of the Guridnji Corporation since 2016, when

will the story of the Gurindji people and their reclaiming of their land be told,

the council agreed in writing to transfer the enterprise back to com-

and how will this new chapter be integrated with the Wave Hill history?

munity. 95


Protests during the 2018 Freedom Day celebrations took aim at the local Council body for failing to follow up on their offer to hand back the social club ownership to Traditional Owners.

05 social club

05 social club

Brief Development

Brief Development


- Shop has backup of $1m a year, makes $400k genuine profit

- dual servery would be ideal, food access to non-drinking

Reflection: From this conversation it's clear that we will have

Conversation with David about Warrnkurr Social Club

- Social club currently run by the council, future is uncertain

family area. Kitchen dynamic has to change

to examine the few other case studies for other social clubs in

- $200,00 surplus a year made from club

- Ping pong table?

remote aboriginal communities to see what has worked there,

General information:

- Profits distributed in the council in a non-transparent way,

- stools, benches, shade

but also to take these findings with a grain of salt. Because each

- set up to keep people on country, stop people drink driving

there has been a history of dishonest owners engaging in

- 3-4 social clubs in the territory

dodgy practice (selling alcohol on the side, not with best inter-

Club during Freedom Festival:

and spatial qualities, it seems that the most valuable process

- social outlet, would be hard to live in Kalkaringi without it

est of community at heart)

- Friday - Sunday, no alcohol

for us to undertake as designers is to continue to speak with

- Allows alcohol consumption to be controlled

- Formal letter has been sent aimed at regaining ownership,

- Food and toilet venue, functional for large crowds

members of community and try to gain some of the information

- Gurindji corporation own the shop and construction business

waiting to hear back

- What other activities could be held there? Karaoke,

- Caravan park brings in some tourism to the area

- Community's vision for the club: tourism, main venue for

band night?

- Club is in the process of getting community control - Gurindji

music events, beer is a real draw card

- Small stage, corner might fit a 3 piece

A main feature that came out of this conversation was the

corp to take over this June

- allows local economy to function

- Speakers / mixing desk need to be in an area where they

need for the club to shift how it generates revenue - the cur-

- Run down, 'prison' feel right now, big barbed wire fence

- what problems might arise from the temporary closure of

can't be touched

rent administrative set up will change significantly when owner-

- Could be used to display heritage

the club? People will go into town instead, get into trouble

- Breakfast club? Club for kids?

ship changes over to the Gurindji Corporation. What additional

- Used to be more family friendly, would like to recreate that

there - Katherine, Darwin. Some become homeless.

- Open up the servery to be able to get a coffee or a bagel

services will enrich the experience of the community members

- Takeaways at the shop - only good coffee in town right

using the space? Which of these could generate new forms of

now. Would be good to have another option. Coffee cart?

revenue to go back into the community? What new features will

kind of space but keep it separate from the drinking area - Clarity is key - the profits are going back into the community.

Space behind the club:

Financials of Gurindji Corp are all available online

- kids yell through fence for food, hang on the fence

community has it's own specific set of relationships, traditions

that we might have gatheredin Kalkaringi

the family centre encompass? 97


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Brief Development

Brief Development


- Outdoor patio where you can see the TV still

- Side part with access to kitchen, should

Reflections: RR confirmed much of what David had told us while providing

Conversation with David and RR about the social club

- Football matches - currently you get kicked out before a

change current fence passing habits

further clarity on some potential new features that the community would

game finished if the club is closing. Could the opening hours be

- There are a lot of break-ins, design needs to

love. An emphasis on music and performance arose, which offers us an

- July this year - Gurindji corp. to take over. TBC

flexible to accomodate for this?

be robust but more friendly looking than now

important avenue into how the family or shared space might be arranged

- Kitchenside: entrance for kids / family - shade and rain cover

- Make it a destination to watch together?

- Demand sharing in indigenous communities

for all to engage in the stage area at once.

- Need room for games

- What are the opening hours based on? Can currently apply

- Mid strength beers sold

- Country league AFL gets played at the adjacent oval

to change these - request goes to the manager, committee

- Run by a couple currently, owners usually

Main design conditions from conversation:

- Non alcoholic section - could be used on a Sunday

members can override their decision

last a year before moving on so have never

- creating shared points of entertainment that drinkers and non-drinkers

- Staff arrives at 4 but alcohol wouldn't be served until 5. Cur-

- What would 2 extra hours of drinking mean on a Sat? Used

had a long term rapport with the community

rently there is an issue with staff arriving late

to be open slightly longer hours

- If the current fence doesn't stop people

- Community's favourite thing about the club? Music, first per-

- Would people's view of the club change if it was more family

breaking in then nothing really can, what could

son who arrives gets to choose the music. Mostly women do

oriented? Could do, didn't work in the past. Families didn't look

be better looking but just as robust?

this, swap around every 30 minutes

after their own children, security had to babysit. Kids aren't

- transparency of fence is useful to allow wind

- Police can hear the music

really interested in the club.

to pass through and for general observation

- Band stage area would be awesome

- Kids have the basketball court nearby that they are more

- two kartiya - non local workers supported

- a few existing bands in the community, more might form

interested in.

by local staff

- Pool tables - players are really good. More pool tables need-

- Movie nights? Used to happen but managers had to look

ed? One under a shade structure outside maybe

after kids 99

can see at once -

support visual connection between separate areas while creating weatherproof, secure boundary markers

- shift the image of the club by providing a range of family activities that encourage families to stay together / don't require staff supervision - not just a place for alcohol, but linking it into the broader community


05 Social club Brief Development

Following our basic introduction to the project, within our

- needs to deal with yearly flooding in some way shape or form

group we devised a loose brief. We knew this would shift and

05 Social club Brief Development

Security box - Sign in, breath test, staffed by 2 people

change as we gathered more insight from members of the

External space behind club:

community and our respective threads of research.

- Second eating area for children

Outdoor area (towards oval):

- Access to the food servery

- Sit toward the fence looking inwards

Basic primary needs of the client:

- Shade

- Sometimes a bonfire in the middle

- serve alcohol and food in a secure environment

- Seating

- Tree towards security box,

- provide a new place for families to spend time together

- Table tops

- Old bastard's corner where the oldies sit

- Games (eg. playground/ping pong)

underneath tree

- facilities that can be used for Freedom Day festivities

- Needs to be‘bulletproof’ Secondary concerns:

- Run down bitumen tennis court behind the bar

Freedom Day Festival

- family friendly threshold between drinking area and outside

- Views from the northern side quite good

- Club acts as toilets, meals, and non-alco-

world for children, located behind the pub

holic drinks throughout the festival

- to relieve the prison feel that currently contains the space


- Double gates toward oval open up

- Introduce ability to temporarily shift to host the Freedom

- Accessible by both the drinking area and the childrens' area

- People don't usually hang around the bar

Day Festival

- Needs to be able to be managed by 2 people at once

too long during freedom day festival, focus is

Signage for tourism

- Potential for services to be extended? Different kinds of food

on the festivities beyond club boundary

- provide "bulletproof" stage with built-in, secure equipment 101


Nookie's corner

A plan of the social club following discussions with David and RR overlaid with my own notes.


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club will have a new message - not just for adults

Brief Development


integration of Freedom Day




shift in program

Reflection: Our first foray into deducing what it is

Warnkurr Social Club

level of openness - is there a secure area at all?

Broad concerns to keep in mind:

what could be upgraded?

the Warnkurr Social Club brief is comprised of has revealed what a multifaceted project we are em-

- How to retain what is already beloved and enjoyed about the

barking on. While our material intervention might be

club? Introducing a non-drinking section will bring up various

contained to the area around the club, it is intend-

new conditions - how is food shared? What is the interaction

ed that the new image of the club will reflect a sig-

between the two areas?

maintaining visibility while offering privacy

Family area

separation between family and drinking area

ownership of the club from the Victoria-Daly council

- How are the new activities proposed shared between the two

to the Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation.This change

spaces? If we are to develop new spaces for performances,

comes in parallel with a shift in the program of the

games, gatherings etc, how do we make these as inclusive as

club - instead of being solely a place for those able

possible or private where needed? How will the social and cul-

to drink, the club will now extend its services to offer

tural practices in Kalkaringi inform these?

what should not be changed? is there anything that should be removed or drastically altered?

consideration of other family facilities in the community security legal requirements?

Drinking area

potential change in opening hours

what are the potential new programs to be included

nificant intangible changes too: namely the change of


Brief new food outlet

representing change of ownership to Gurindji Corp.

a non-drinking, 'family friendly' area. There are both logistical and cultural considerations to be balanced

- Consideration of managerial practices are important - in the

when designing for this new function, given that a new

past the provision of family events has lead to a bigger role for

clientel will now coexist with the current patrons of

the staff at the bar. Does this mean looking at a new structure

the pub. To begin to visualise the relationship between

of operation where there might be the creation of a new role

the various factors to consider in the design, I have

within the social club? 103

incorporating local customs and culture



secure storage flexibility - can a scheme be proposed where future growth or change of use is designed in? 104 robust - in terms of use and weather

Are there partnerships with other community bodies that could be created? I.e. displaying works from Karungkarni Arts Centre

wider community

Should the club overtly show investment into non-drinking activities? What message are the proposed changes going to send?

Does the club take on a new official identity?

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The research phase for the Social Club marks the

Gurindji Corporation are based on a com-

exploration of many threads of enquiry - wide scope

munity enterprise model and don't make any

research continues alongside more targeted avenues.

profit from the leasing of their land. Income is currently generated through the Kalkaringi

It seems fitting to begin by analysing the needs of

general store and the caravan park, as well as

the client in relation to their role within the Kalkaringi

their construction business.

community. The Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation are a 100% community owned enterprise that aim to build

Obtaining the club will therefore represent an-

up the economic and social wellbeing of Kalkaringi

other stream of income that will be redirected

through various projects. In 2014 they gained Native

back into the community. Currently the corpo-

Title over the settlement of Kalkaringi, and have since

ration funds the preservation of Gurindji cul-

held the position of Prescribed Body Corporate, mak-

ture through the funding of Freedom Day fes-

ing them partially responsible for the management

tivities, maintenance of the Walk-Off track and

of Gurindji land. At the core of their ethos is to "hold,

the servicing of community facilities. Knowing

protect and manage determined native title in ac-

this highlights the new role of the club as part

cordance with the objectives of Kalkaringi Traditional

of an existing fabric of socially sustainable en-

Owners". An excerpt from the Warnkurr Social Club Business Proposal submitted by the Gurindji Corporation to the Victoria Daly Regional Council that delineates the structure behind the corporation as it relates to the club.


The Gurindji corporation logo references the 1975 land hand back.

terprises. 106

The Gurindji Aboriginal Corp. website:

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Warnkurr Social Club currently:

Regional context:

Reflection: Given our unfortunate situation of not being able to visit the Warnkurr Sports and Social Club, seeking out as

The Victoria Daly Regional Council services a large area that

Warnkurr Sports and Social Club now operates as a li-

many references as we can will be crucial to gaining a slice

includes five indigenous communities and their accompanying

censed club managed by Victoria Daly Regional Council.

of experiential understanding. We're able to do this through a

out-stations. These are Kalkarindji/Daguragu, Nauiyu/Daly Riv-

The club also provides take-away food which has resulted

few avenues - photos from past students, resources available

er, Pine Creek, Timber Creek and Yarralin. The latest data cites

in kids hanging around asking people in the club to buy

online through Youtube and Facebook for example, and by

that between these communities is a total population of 4,500.

them food. Opening hours are subject to change through-

speaking with others who have gotten to know the club. These

Victoria Daly Regional Council therefore represents a range of

out the year however as a guide the club is open Mon-

informal snippets of anecdotal information reveal a side of the

communities which may have vastly differing needs.

day-Friday 5pm to 8pm and Saturday 2pm-5pm. The

club that can't be fully infused in photographs - the habits and

managers have the authority to request that these hours

quirks around any spot of social activity are hard to quanti-

From my research it seems that the Warnkurr Sports and So-

be extended or changed.

fiably map. Therefore while, I will seek to gain a concrete un-

cial Club is the only institution of its kind in the control of the

No take-away alcohol is permitted.

derstanding of the physical qualities that define the club as it

Current exterior of the southern side of the club, where the entry is now located.

stands, I will also be trying to fuse these representations with

Victoria Daly Regional Council. Given this one is left to wonder

Southern corner of the outdoor area, looking out onto the car park.

how they are equipped to manage such a venue - what efforts

Alcohol must not be brought into, possessed or consumed

the intangible narratives that we receive. Many of the photos

are made to consult with the community? What is left to be de-

within the Kalkaringi community boundaries without a

feature signage with the purpose of communicating rules or

sired that will change under Gurindji Corporation management

permit. A liquor permit application can be made through

similar messages. These provoke the question: what are the

and ownership?

the NT Department of Business.

unspoken rules? What are the social movements and patterns that operate at the club that we might not uncover through



visual references?

05 social club Research

Reflection: From the images to the right there are many narratives that can be picked up on but of course these only represent a fragmentary picture of the club as it stands. Particularities that arise like Nookie's Corner suggest that there are parts of the existing club that are beloved without being legibly so to the untrained eye. Realising this, it might be best to treat much of the existing club as a cherished location.

Rob Roy (right) has been our main point of contact for the Warnkurr Social Club, alongside 'Nookie' (back left), sitting in a spot called 'Nookie's corner'. Images from Warnkurr Sports and Social Club depicting the current outdoor areas



The covered area of the club adjacent to the servery window, highlighting the use of covered outdoor areas in periods of heavy rain.

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Teaching 'proper' drinking: Pubs and clubs in Indigenous Australia:

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the Gothenburg system:

Reflection: Drinking fits into a global narrative of western "civilising", whereby imposed colonials cultural practices were seen as

Drinking represents a step towards 'civilising' Aboriginal peoples - impos-

One model of alcohol distribution explored in the

the accepted norm and therefore a passage of converting first na-

ing the social expectation for Aboriginal people to take on the habits of

text is that of the Gothenburg system, whereby es-

tions people to their value system. When read through this lens,

the "average australian" despite its potentially devastating effects.

tablishments serving alcohol are rewarded for the

the consumption of alcohol can be seen as a highly symbolic act

"moderation of its sales and the sobriety of its pa-

infused with unfortunate cultural capital in the ongoing tense rela-

Drinking rights were granted to Aboriginal peoples suddenly and without

trons". Uncoupling financial gain from the consump-

tionships between colonial powers and Aboriginal groups. It seems

prior information to the potential risks. Due to the connection with gov-

tion of a socially distruptive product seems like a

like no wonder that the running of clubs is highly fraught and rep-

ernment endorsed liquor outlets and changes in policy, drinking in itself

good initiative on a basic level. This kind of model

resents complex relationships of economic dependence and im-

was viewed as a right - as a badge of citizenship - which seems like the

was pushed for by community groups across Aus-

posed power structures.

obvious bad start to any relationship. The cultural significance of being

talia but also encountered much push back from

allowed to consume a once forbidden substance are enough to foreshad-

various temperance activists. The main argument

In relation to the Gothernburg system, the Warnkurr Sports and

ow a difficult period of adjustment. The 70s and 80s saw the formation of

against community owned pubs was that even if

Social Club holds a special place in that it won't be competing with

the 'club' program, where beer could be served in a rationed fashion. In-

they represented a controlled source of alcohol,

any other outlets for alcohol. This will surely ensure its success as

digenous organisations were allowed to purchase public hotels where the

they still constituted a source of potential harm. Un-

a community run venture in a town where it is already seen as

sale of alcohol would become a generator of income for their community.

fortunately many Gothenburg model hotels did go

a recognised hub of social activity. The existing management of

Again, this seems like a structural set up for failure - the sale of alcohol

broke in the first half of the 1900s in an increasingly

alcohol will not change, and if anything the adoption of a fami-

become the lifeblood supporting a community which is simultaneously

competitive bar scene.

ly-friendly program in parts of the club will reinforce the message

suffering the consequences of alcohol-related problems.

An image from a 1950 Woman' s Christian Temperance Union pamphlet discouraging alcohol consumption 111


05 Social club Research

The wrecking of the Murrinh Patha Social Club:

05 Social club Research

provided and infringements on the rules of conduct

brawls and increased crime culminated in the eventual destruction of the club

Reflection: Wadeye provides a sombre

were strictly punished. The club did well in economic

by a large group of non-drinkers in the community who disapproved of all it had

reminder of the link between drinking

Wadeye, an Aboriginal community in the Northen Territory, was

terms and was a key contributor to social wellbeing

come to signify. They used axes and other tools to destroy the entire interior

culture and other interlaced issues like

one of the first to trial the idea of a licensed social club in the wake

within the community too. It was the only source of

while a sizeable crowd cheered from outside. Witness accounts also detail the

domestic violence and alcoholism, and

of the 1964 policy change which saw Aboriginal people able to

funding to go into the community outside of govern-

firing of shots and the smashing of any alcohol that could be found on the prem-

reveals that even a well meaning at-

purchase alcohol. Like many Aboriginal towns, Wadeye was a dry

ment control. It was even described by one observer

ises. The initial ruining of the club occurred in 1988, and preceded several future

tempt at a socially sustainable club can

community, but men who worked elsewhere were still able to drink

as 'the epicentre of everyone's lives'.

attempts at reopening which were consistently met with a return to violence

have devastating effects. In this case it

and unrest. The degraded remains of the club remained long after perhaps as

seems that placing an economic onus

physical reminder of the emotional scar that had been left on the community.

on the sale of alcohol caused the club

further afield. The idea of a community operated social club was floated in response to this inevitability, in the hopes that controlled

This positive streak was gradually degraded to be-

alcohol provisions would "keep the men at home". The communi-

come a dark presence within the town. A black mar-

to become a liability to the wellbeing

ty had a strong catholic presence which acted as a driving force

ket of alcohol trading began, and domestic violence

of everyone in the community, with the

behind the initiative, which was founded on the belief that outright

began to increase due to alcohol related issues. The

non-drinkers being heavily affected by

prohibition would not work to steady the various social problems

club was managed by some who were highly de-

the actions of drinkers. This case study

that came about with alcohol consumption. They believed that with

pendent on alcohol, thus had incentives other than

has highlighted the importance of cre-

an accompanying education on how to consume alcohol 'properly',

to preserve the wellbeing of other community mem-

ating a focus on activities other than

a local club could function successfully.

bers. There was a growing divide between drinkers

drinking at the Warnkurr Social Club

and non-drinkers in the community. The future of

- to avoid a similar fate it seems wise

Murrinh Patha Social club opened in the mid 1970s and appeared

the club saw a decade of tumult - violence, street

to operate succesfully at first - community events and music were


Remains of the club were still visble in 2009 114

News of the club's destruction

to create an environment defined by a

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There are currently two pavilion




structures already occupying the

Archquid, Otavalo, Equador.

grounds of Kalkarindji Social Club

The Cubo de Totora are a series

so there is no formal requirement

of modular pavilions born from

to provide a new design blueprint

the ethos: "strengthening local

for this program. However, through

identity through a flexible and

conversations with David and Rob

multiprogrammatic design". The

Roy, it sounds as though the cur-

design was developed in con-

rent pavilions are seldomly used

junction with the local indigenous

for their intended purpose of pro-

community to create a catalogue

viding shade in the outdoor area.

of artisanal craft that doubles as

One possible thread of design in-

versatile topography of private or

tervention could therefore be the

social spaces. Made with woven

alteration or complimenting of

cattail leaves, the materiality of

these structures with some auxilliary parts or system that would add an element of privacy or user interaction.

‘Cubo de Totora’ pavilion designed by Archquid, Ecuador. These demonstrate a modular approach where occupants can change the configuration of the individual panels as well as the walls themselves. 115

‘Cubo de Totora’ pavilions are comprised of a simple timber framework with inset panels of woven cattail reeds. These can be easily swapped and replaced to alter the experiential quality within the cubes.


each panel allows for light to pass into the interior spaces even when

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an enclosed volume is activated. Cattail is a local plant perceived to

Krakani Lumi, Taylor and Hinds Architects, North East

have a strong spiritual connection with the San Rafael area, and thus its

National Park, Tasmania.

use in a permanent structure has embedded this connection between

The Krakani Lumi (or resting place) was developed to act as

the architecture and the identity of the place that surrounds it.

temporary accomodation for hikers undertaking the journey between wukalina (Mt William) to larapuna (Eddystone

During discussions surrounding the current pavilions, it was mentioned

Point) traversing the culture homeland of palawa. The guided

that the current underuse could be attributed to the central positioning

journey is operated entirely by the Aboriginal Land Council

of the structures, and the corresponding centrality of any occupant that

and is the first tourism configuration of its kind. This adminis-

may wish to shelter beneath. Several readings have described the role

trative structuring surely supported the integration of aborig-

of the gaze in Aboriginal culture; namely that to practice avoidance of

inal thought and history into the physical design outcome, al-

eye contact is customarily a gesture of respect, or could be a product of

though the particularities of the consultation process are not

avoidance relationships operating within a community. The current posi-

clear. The quartered dome interior is derived from traditional

tioning of the pavilions at the centre of the outdoor area forces a panop-

seasonal shelters of Tasmania's first peoples, which were fab-

tical spatial relationship, thus most patrons choose to linger around the

ricated from arched branches and sheets of bark and often

periphery of the area facing in towards these structures. To revive the

featured depictions of constellations enscribed within. The

pavilions might be to take an element of the Cubo de Totora pavilions in order to provide operable privacy.

Drawings demonstrating the ability of the pavilion to provide enclosed, private space as well as semi-enclosed or fully open space depending on the configuration of panels 117

Krakani Lumi could be described as a sheltered alcove in dialogue with the central firepit - a relationship that may be able to be loosely mimicked at the Warnkurr Social Club. 118

openness of the dome coupled with the gradual curvature of the wall surface towards the outer environ supports a visual

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connection with the sky. This mirrors a strong spiritual con-

Reflection: Even though this precedent

nection with astronomical patterns, and provides a platform

constitutes a completely different prospace is more private when inside

for the sharing of stories pertaining to the cultural landscape that is otherwise not recorded in the western sense of objec-

gram, it has still been really useful in generating discussions around the hab-

tification. For the palawa, "this landscape is their museum",

its of the club and those who go there

thus the sharing of stories of holds heightened significance.

at the moment. It has brought up the curved space gives shade (Diagram by Damien Cresp)

What might be valuable to glean from this project is the provision of space with a gradient of privacy. The curved dome

fact that many patrons like to hang out around the fence, and prefer to have an overall view of the space around them

enables the occupant a high level of control over their con-

rather than existing in the centre of an

space is partly private when in the centre

cealment and connection to exterior landscape. The alcoved nature of the resting place spurs a dialogue with the fire pit

open space. This has highlighted the imSocial Club

and any point of focus beyond the half-circle aperture it pro-

portance of providing areas of partial privacy without creating spaces that

vides to the land. Another practical aspect worth remarking

could be seen as exclusive. This will be a

upon is the scale of the space intended to shelter groups of

useful as a point of conversation to run

4-8 people: perhaps while designing the family-oriented segment of the social club, it would be useful to provide family

by RR when we ask about the appropri-

A fluidity of surface supports a program whereby the occupant can decide where to exist on a gradient of visibility.

space is less private near the opening

"bubbles" allowing for a similar occcupancy. 119


ateness of our proposed designs. good views for events

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Ganalili Centre, Roeburne, WA

05 Social club Research

families and increased abuse and violence. As a result, the site of the Ganalili Centre represents a painful and recent chapter

The vestiges of the Victoria Hotel are now known to the

of local history.

residents of Roeburn, an old goldrush town, as the Ganalili

Ganalili Centre now encompasses indoor and outdoor facilities that cover a range of programmatic needs as selected by the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation.

Centre. The original hotel and pub was opened in 1893, and

In 2013, Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation purchased the

operated for over a century until final cessation in 2005.

Victoria Hotel in partnership with local and state economic

During this period, the aboriginal population within the

development groups, These agencies were united under the

administrative confines of Roeburne was largely forced to

collective aim to return the building to iconic status through

reside in marginalised encampments until the reformation

a shift in program towards a custom hybridised model that

of Aboriginal welfare laws in the 1960s, Following this, Roe-

would best provoke positive social engagement within the

burn became home to an increasing number of aborigi-

community. While the serving of alcohol is no longer integrat-

nal groups; a development not without conflict given that

ed, a cafe will subsume a hospitality role and sit alongside a

Roeburn had a ratio of police to citizens five times higher

function space, outdoor performance space, library, gallery

than that of other Western Australian towns. The flour-

and cultural centre. The gallery and cafe will act as commercial

ishing of local drinking culture paired with the 1967 ref-

ventures. While this program is multifaceted to a degree much

erendum granting citizenship rights to Aboriginal people

beyond the Warnkurr Social Club, it is a useful precedent in

(and thus the newfound ability to drink in pubs) had the

that it presents an Aboriginal Corporation making a significant

consequence of introducing alcoholism, the breakdown of 121

step towards self determination and financial independence. 122

The opening ceremony christened the outdoor performance space by inviting local youths to partake in the telling of stories about local country.

The interior space sees the overlapping of commercial and cultural programs to stimulate engagement with local aboriginal culture while generating income needed to sustain the venture.

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Gunbalanya Social Club

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Punmu and Parnngurr Aboriginal Health Clinics

As one of the few precedents that matches the Warnkurr Social Club in terms of program, this

While this example represents a

precedent was a great example of the integra-

completely irrelevant program,

tion of family activities into a facility that still

its location within an Aboriginal

provided alcohol. Unfortunately it was hard to

community has seen the integra-

find information on how exactly the club oper-

tion of local arts culture into its

ates, but from the images we could find it looked

design. Through seemingly sim-

as though the club would open during the day

ple interventions, beautiful effects

or on special occasions for family events, which

of light and shadow can be seen

meant seating areas were populated with peo-

throughout the day while provid-

ple of all ages. A small stage area is set among

ing the necessary levels of privacy

several grassy areas, and movable furniture fa-

where needed. This implies a close

cilitates the flexibility of the space for its users. In

relationship between orientation

this case the architecture's role is very pragmat-

and the planning of the site to tru-

ic and provides a kind of blank canvas on which

ly capitalise on the path of the sun

social activities can occur. 123

to aid as a design driver. 124

privacy screens can be decorative

Reflection: The use of robust materials to creative highly evocative screen elements show an approach that could easily be adopted in the Warnkurr Social Club design. This could easily be merged with the language already introduced into Kalkaringi by other Bower Studio designs to create storytelling elements and shade in the place of the now bland pavilions.

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Redefining architecture to accommodate culturaldifference: designing for cul-

Biomimetic Theory and Building Technology: Use of Aboriginal and Scientific

tural sustainability - Paul Memmott and Cathy Keys

Knowledge of Spinifex Grass - Paul Memmott, Richard Hyde & Tim O'Rourke

What does it mean for architecture to constitute a cuturally sustainable built form?

- Spinifex secretes gum / resin - appropriate for weatherproofing roofs

As defined by the UN report on "Our Common Future" - development that "meets

- Resign can also be used as adhesive gum for plugging holes

the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to

- "Double cladding layers of spinifex hummocks interlocked by their root systems

meet their own needs" is seen as culturally sustainable.

were applied up to a metre thick"

Reflection: Memmott extensively covers the potential advantages of spinifex, but it will be necessary to evaluate it as a suitable option against the criteria of our specific brief before committing to its use.

- "Recent Australia-wide anthropological and architectural analysis of the traditional "Taking a more people-orientated focus, this approach emphasises aspects of social

forms and designs of Aboriginal shelters has generated a compelling hypothesis that

cohesion, stability and quality of life. Reduction in social inequality, exclusion and con-

spinifex dome cladding has outstandind insulation and water-shedding propoerties

flict contribute to the attainment of social sustainability."

due to its open rigid structure (interconnected air pockets) and resin content respectively."

The article mentions that many mainstream discussions around sustainability of

- "reticulated Bough shed (or bower shed). Sandwiches 100mm thick were assem-

course focus moreso on issues of environmental sustainability, even though these

bled of hummock hrass restrained between two layers of wire mesh and then used as

are very much intertwined. Additionally, Memmott talks about the production of cul-

a cladding for roofs and walls over a log timber frame. Water was reticulated from

ture through intangible forms - speech, language, movement etc, and how these

a perforated pipe along the top of each wall to facilitate evaporative cooling as it

elements of a culture need to be recognised in any attempt to produce culturally sustainable architecture.

dropped through the spinifex to provide a tolerable living space in summer." An excerpt from the article 125


Another work covering Indigenous building technologies is Julia Watson's book 'Lo-TEK', where examples from around the world are analysed.

05 Social club Research

Spinifex being used as a windbreak - Papunya, Modern remote spinifex bough shed construction at the Dugalunji Camp, Camooweal, North-west Queensland. Photo by Tim O’Rourke.


Reflection: While it's been easy to find an array of examples where spinifex has been used as a material for shelter or roof structures, through our consultations it has been noted that its use in Kalkaringi would not be without complications. It is easily set alight and as and organic material is prone to wear and tear. RR has mentioned that the old pavilions at the club did feature some spinifex but these were washed away. I'd be particularly interested to explore Examples of traditional spinifex bough sheds featured in the Biomimetic Theory and Building Technology: Use of Aborig-

Visitor shelters thatched with spinifex in the Uluru-Kata Tjuᚯa National Park in Central Australia, 2010 (Photograph Rodger Barnes)

inal and Scientific Knowledge of Spinifex Grass article 127


its capabilities as a material capable of creating organic forms as in the example at Uluru.

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Reflection: To situate Kalkaringi in an existing

Existing architectures of the Northern Ter-

body of architecture in the Northern Territory

ritory Prefabricated Goorawin Shelter by Architect Ed Oribin for the ATSIHP at an outstation in Arnhem Land, 1977 (Photograph Michael Heppell)

Observing a selection of examples of archi-

to transplant architectural languages from

to develop a lexicon of what materialities are

one project to another. There are some broad

suitable for the climate, and what has already

patterns that can be seen in the adjacent ex-

Abinik Kakadu Resort, Jabiru, NT, Troppo Architects, 2015

amples that I'd be interested in further eval-

considered with their context in mind of course

uating: the use of high pitch in roof structures

- not all have been formulated with Aboriginal

as a passive cooling device which could double

clients in mind or with the same programmatic

as an interesting visual language that might

needs as the club in mind. It's still useful to note

create a dialogue with the contrastingly gentle

what their shared characteristics are - most

profile of the landscape. Metal sheets seem to

have long eaves, significant pitch to roof struc-

be used extensively for shading purposes - this

tures and lightweight envelopes. The shading of

is something I might have overlooked for fear

openings is clearly a concern no matter what the end use of a building is, as is the ability for a structure to remain open to air flow.

forces acting on the town are highly specific and need to be considered when attempting

tecture around the Northern Territory will help

been successful. These examples need to be

is difficult - clearly the cultural and political

Kununurra housing by Iredale Pedersen and Hook Architects. The oversized carports provide external covered living areas (Photograph Peter Bennetts) 129

Kingstrand houses at Warrabri Government Settlement, Northern Territory, 1958 (Photograph W Pedersen National Library of Australia) 130

that these would heat up too much. If the surfaces are elevated enough then perhaps their radiant heat is negated.

05 Social club Research

The visual languages of Kalkaringi To understand the current physical reality of Kalkaringi is to also delve into the past events and physical items that have preceded what is there today. This is especially important given that the community was built up from An image of the Gurindji Social club, date unknown

modest beginnings following the Wave Hill Walk-Off. Given this history, it has been imperative to find examples of earlier archi-

Couple in their tin humpy, 1970. Photo by Hannah

Hobbles Danayarri and Lizzie Wardaliya at their home at Wattie Creek, 1971. Courtesy

tectures that have existed, to gain a deeper


of Rob Oke.

understanding of what has been built in the community, what has worked and what might be considered familiar or steeped in cultural

Reflection: In less recent photographs of built structures in Kalkaringi, simple post and beam structures prop up sheets of corrugate metal to provide a lightweight answer to the provision of shade. Presumably these would not be seen as long term housing, and might have incorporated transience into their design in accordance with seasonal flooding or social preferences.

significance for those who might be using the club. Developing a familiarity with material Gurindji men and Abschol members constructing the Gurindji’s first mudbrick houses, 1971. Courtesy of Rob Oke.

history in Kalkaringi will inform how materials can be used to tell stories at the club. 131


The big shady created by Bower Studio in 2018

The big shady created by Bower Studio in 2018

The Kalkaringi Health Centre

A contractor from Gurindji Corporation in the basketball court area

Reflection: The materialities that exist in Kalkaringi today are connected to the structures that preceded them - they remain simple in construction with a preference for lightweight structure. The introduction of steel has seen the ability to create large, robust shelters and buildings which activate outdoor areas in an otherwise harsh, hot environment. The exposure of structure leads to a recognisable rhythm in most roof structures - exposed purlins and other members make for a defined aesthetic where the thinness of The Kalkaringi Store and Caravan Park

A shade stucture within the caravan park



Detail from the Karungkarni Arts Centre

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Reflection: Knowing that the land is a central part of Aboriginal life and culture, it has felt necessary to engage as much as possible with photos and scenes from the natural landscape that surrounds Kalkaringi to gain even a fragment of the experience we might have had while visiting. Freedom Day Walk-Off

Looking through a selection of photos from past students, visitors and those who dwell in the community reveals country that is at times arid and dry but also bursting with flora and at certain times of year full of greenery. These are seasonal variations so different to those we are used to seeing in Melbourne, and go against what we might have assumed to be a constantly dry environment. This enables us to consider the integration of certain landscaping techniques or planting Pauline Ryan and Mary Edwards walk through rock windbreaks on

Kalkaringi during the wet season - January to March.

Jinparrak. Photo by Penny Smith

Photo by Victoria King

Photos of Kalkaringi by Penny Smith 135


to aid the goals of the club.

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'Places of Pain and Shame: Dealing with Difficult Heritage',

the building of new memorial museums, have been among the

Reflection: While the Warnkurr Social Club might not consti-

book by Willian Logan and Keir Reeves

strategies adopted.

tute an overt memorial to the Wave Hill Walk-Off and the

"... it is the manager of a site who has the most impact on its


struggles of the Gurindji people, as a gathering place within

interpretation through the way in which he/she decides what to

Sometimes, these places may come to be regarded as sites

a small community where history is informally shared, I feel

say and what to leave out. But practitioners also needs to listen

of an individual's or group's transcendence over the conditions

that it could be considered a significant site of remember-

to the affected community's views of the site's significance and

of unjust treatment in times of war or of resistance to cruel

ance. This reading really highlighted the significance of how

management practices are contingent upon how the site is held

and oppressive political regimes. In such cases there may be

sites of cultural heritage can be warped to fit the agenda of

in the public memory.

little or no dispute about their heritage significance, although

those managing them. This is not to say that this has been


the processes of achieving their effective interpretation, doc-

the case in Kalkaringi, but considering this brings into sharp

The question of at what point memories can be allowed to fade

umentation and long-term protection remain difficult ...the

focus the symbolic power behind the transition of ownership

and memorialisation end is a complex and difficult one. So, too,

tendency of postcolonial settler societies to adopt a stance of

of the club to the Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation - final-

is the question that faces some communities where it is seen to

silence towards treatment of Indigenous Australians in relation

ly the traditional owners of the land will have full control

be important for community identity reasons to keep memory

to nineteenth-century frontier atrocities.

over how they choose to celebrate their past and present

alive but where the generations which experienced the pain and


through physical and less tangible avenues made possible

suffering are passing away. How do such communities keep alive

Batten describes the moves afoot to make a place that has

at the club, We can also appreciate the role of Kalkaringi

the memories for subsequent generations? Heightened com-

been primarily of local significance, Myall Creek, into a national

in providing a depth and breadth to the existing collection

memorative activities, including university and public seminars,

site representing all Aborignal massacre sites. She is concerned

of sites memorialising Aboriginal suffering , and hopefully

the writing of plays and novels, the making of films and television

that the detail, accuracy and emotion of the local story may be

programmes, and the production of museum exhibitions, even

lost in the process"


alleviating the pressure on sites like Myall Creek to carry 138

the unspoken pressure of representing many communities.

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Rob Roy (or RR as he

While consultation was ongoing throughout the semester and has

Reflection: The centrality of oral communication in

is known to us) is the

already been partially referenced within the journal, there was a

Aboriginal culture made me wonder how our consulta-

Coordinator of Gurindji

period leading up to our final design decision making phase where

tion journey would differ from past Bower Studios. We

Aboriginal Corporation

our meetings with Phil and RR were more frequent and targeted

would not be able to spend time having physical yarns

as well as Traditional

to our individual queries. The following segment goes into detail

with people we met in Kalkaringi, and would not be

Owner of Gurindji Land

regarding these conversations and their outcomes for our designs.

able to sit through moments of silence or contempla-

and Community Liai-

tion together which sometimes lead s to unexpected, In the usual format of Bower Studio, consultation would be made


organic directions in a conversation.

up of physical meetings with people in community during a 2-3


Phil Smith is General

week stay. This way, students are able to develop a meaningful

While we may have missed out on the invaluable

Manager of the Gurindji

relationship with members of the community through their in-

experiences of visiting Kalkaringi, we were extreme-

Aboriginal Corporation.

volvement in a built project.

ly lucky to be working with a community with which

Along with two other

In our case, our relationship with Kalkaringi and members of the

David, George and Jamie clearly have a longstanding

members they make

community was built over digital means - we were able to meet

and strong connection based on mutual respect with

up the Management

RR and Phil over Zoom and develop our relationship this way. Both

members of the community such as RR and Phil. In this

branch of the Gurindji

were highly generous with their time and patience, and were con-

respect we are in an especially fortunate position -

Aboriginal Corporation.

sistently forthcoming around their opinions of our work.

we're able to present ideas to acquaintances due to

Bower Studio has fostered an ongoing relationship.


Patrons at the Warnkurr Social Club



their trust in our studio leaders.


displays local artisan craft

adaptable, simple structure



Consultation storytelling mechanisms

After individually gathering precedents, we


20.04.2020 Cubo de Totora

were tasked with merging all our research



into a cohesive presentation. This would be

Conversation with Phil about Social Club ideas presentation

Sports and Social Club

shown to members of the community to support our emerging ideas for the social

integrates local symbols

Yulara Resort

into decorative elements


similar program to our brief

controlled privacy

Within our group, we had a diverse range of precedents all with varying degrees of rel-

Some notes from Phil before the presentations started: - All projects (social club, health centre, cultural centre) have

designed specifically for




been developing over a period of around 10 years, they're long term and have only recently been formally recognised by NT government which is a big step. Frustrating that they


evance to the brief. We attempted to distill

have to slow down because of the virus situation.

which central concepts from each precedent

- Showing the govt. our designs shows them that things are

would best be instrumentalised to explain

progressing despite it all, they're impressed by this.

what we currently saw as important in the

- All the briefs are real projects and will provide the community with a bounce back after the virus situations lifts - con-

brief of the social club. Krakani Lumi


We developed a collection of four ideologi-

storytelling mechanisms

cal spectrums that encompassed the main


learnings across all examples. These would be presented as a starting point for further discussion.


operated by an


aboriginal corporation

struction industry will be able to get going again, creates local employment outcomes. - Freedom Day Festival will probably be cancelled this year, the 55th anniversary of Wave Hill in 2021 will be even bigger,

Punmu and Parnngurr Health




our ideas might be part of this big celebration.

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Consultation open

big ideas

Consultation closed

Reflection: In hindsight, our

During our presentation, we displayed the basic structure

presentation did have a slightly

of our talking points before showing a series of diagrams

clinical feel to it with little an-

that represented the spectrum. We then presented

imation or reference to life in

thumbnail images of the relevant precedents, and re-

Kalkaringi. While we used some

spaces that are open for everyone to move through and see

spaces that are partially open to people, protected on some sides

spaces that are separate and secured, and private

peated these two slides for each spectrum.

diagrammatic representations social


Our approach had less tangible suggestions of design

including figures, the presentation remained highly abstract

intervention and was certainly more ideological than


the family centre's presentation, where they presented

then would present the precelocals



dents without much connection


precedents alongside sketches of how similar techniques could be applied to their scheme.

made between the positive elements of these and how they open


could inform the architecture

Although our presentation didn't garner the conversation

of the social club. In our fear of

we had hoped to stimulate, we were eager to work with the existing framework of it to develop a more engaging

presenting ideas that were too fixed


Ganalili Centre (previously Victoria Hotel), Roeburne, WA

finite and therefore limiting, we ended up lacking in content that

the lawn and pavilions are open to the public with 360° views

might provoke excitement. Excerpts from our concept presentation to Phil featuring our four idea spectrums



Krakani Lumi, Taylor and Hinds Architects, North East National Park, Tasmania. the pavilion creates shelter to sit in on one side and open on the other to be able to see around

Presentation excerpts

Gunbalanya Sports and Social Club, NT the separate games room is closed off from the beer garden to create privacy and to not disturb other guests

version of it. We were confident that our precedents did have clear value as design inspiration, they simply needed a more invigorating format.

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Reflection: One of our

Reflection: Phil's reaction to our presentation left us unex-

last slides included a

pectedly disappointed that we hadn't presented in a way

page which we hoped might provoke discussion or interaction if

what do you think?? 1 means the idea is important to you 2

distributed among other community

that generated immediate and fluid discussion. It seemed

To help us develop a design for the Warnkurr Social Club, we would love to know what you think about these ideas. Email us here, or put a number next to each idea:





that other groups who had prioritised showing a precedent

10 means this idea is not important to you the club gets people together

9 7


getting people together happens at the same time as business

the club makes money that goes back into the community

around future design possibilities, as the conversation was


In reality it felt like this

able to centre around how their design would directly relate social

to aspects of the precedent scheme. This gave Phil a com-



might not be that useful



- the presentation itself didn't present enough tangible

might relate to Kalkar-



dents were not highly relevant, or weren't presented in a way that highlighted their relevance - the Ganalili Centre


immediately led Phil to reiterate that the social club would


be fulfilling different programmatic needs as opposed to

ingi, so those viewing it might not have enough

parable project to comment on rather than just one aspect of a precedent without much context. Some of our prece-


on how the precedents

in more thorough terms had encouraged richer dialogue

Ganalili Centre, Roeburne, WA


Ganalili Centre, Roeburne, WA

Ganalili Centre, Roeburne, WA

moving the open lawn is for social events

information to form a

the gallery is for social gatherings and selling art

conference rooms are for business purposes only

strong opinion on.

seeing the outdoor space we thought of as a useful example. Our new direction would need to encompass showing fewer precedents but in more depth, and might benefit from presenting more tangible design decisions relating directly to

Excerpts from our concept presentation to Phil featuring our four idea spectrums



Excerpts the first presentation

the social club.

05 social club

open & closed



Space that is visible and un-restricted


- Give people something to look at while they wait around

Conversation with RR about the social club

the canteen - currently it's just boring brick. - Fence has been there since '98 - boundary will be able to

- Re. Gunbalanya Social Club - "something like that", liked

be changed once ownership switches to Gurindji Corp.

the look of images depicting family event and servery set up.

- Extend the outdoor area beyond what it is now. There used

- There used to a be a back shed made of spinifex and tim-

to be a toilet block out where the old tennis court was - could

ber (maybe over chicken wire?) in the place of the current

use another block like that. Doesn't know why the current

pavilions, got damaged in flooding. Was great in summer -

women's toilet is outside - doesn't need to be if designed cor-

could be sprayed with water before the club opened and

rectly with appropriate entrance.

would stay cool, let the breeze through.

- Proper firepit - current one is simple and not nice to look at

- About fusing traditional knowledge with the more

- Don't want things to look private - this can cause problems

modern - creating something new that cross-referenc-

- Projector would be good with a few different TVs/ screens

es the past and present.

for the projector. Watch a game if it's on.

- music links back to old times - RR likes to play 80s songs to remember that era. - mentioned Pine Creek Pub and Adelaide River Bar - NT

The open public space allows many people to enjoy the lawn area and fire pit. The family area can be completely open creating a more inviting space

In our second presentation we clearly linked precedents with their potential implications on the design for the Warnkurr Social Club

style but a bit touristy. A more natural look at Kalk would be preferable but maintaining some of the displayed artefacts. 147


Reflection: The comments that proved most marking to me in this consultation session was RR's wish to carry traditional materials and methods through to something new. He likes the idea of referencing the past but in a way that acknowledges new possibility.

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01.05 Social Club Meeting


14.05 Social Club Meeting with RR

- fully shared entry to signify new merging of pro-

Reflection: From the ongoing consultation process we've learnt


what visual cues can be most powerful, and that the intended

During this meeting, we presented an updat-

- recentralise the security area

meaning of a certain diagram or drawing can vary from your

- right to think about the edges of the site and opening up to beyond the

ed slideshow of our conceptual ideas along-

- less of the outdoor space attributed to drink-

intentions if its creation is not highly considered. We've been

existing boundary

side more concrete examples of how they

ing or finding a way to open up this space to the

able to see the points that RR and Phil keep coming back to

- how to place new emphasis on family side? And not feel like it's a tacked

might exist.

family area

- the importance of a robust architecture that provides some-

- what are the actual legal requirements? Double

thing new with a language that isn't at odds with the existing

Feedback from David, George and Jamie:

on auxilliary function to the drinking part. What is the new message of the club


check against these requirements

- Damien's design featured a shared entry and two distinct sections di-

- spinifex is risky - can be burned down and

- definitely include more pool tables plus air hock-

vided almost equally. The stage was placed on the boundary between the

washed away. Last shelters burnt down due

ey somewhere

Through these exchanges we are constantly forced to re-evalu-

drinking and non-drinking area, with a boundary condition of some kind

to a cigarette

- investigate double sided fence - how to make

ate what is being shown and why. This will undoubtedly help us

extending from it - "Cage stage". David didn't think the cage would be

- could still be used in a way that's more se-

a secure boundary double in function - seating?

to form our final presentation as a document that can hopefully

necessary - should be other ways of marking the division. But otherwise a



create excitement within the Kalkaringi community as to the

good division of space where the family area is attributed its own kitchen

- evaporative cooling - people won't bother

- think planting could be used as a permeable

possibilities for the club. I'll be striving to develop a design that

and sizeable space. Interior courtyards.

to go through the motions of adding water

barrier - implies separation of space and pre-

exists between pragmatism and responding directly to the long

- Was a reminder that the existing language of Kalk is rectilinear and prag-

- being able to rock up to the stage and plug

vents passage over the top without suggesting a

conversations that RR and Phil have been kind enough to make

matic, and that keeping this would make sense not only economically but

in straight away would be ideal

prison feel

time for, and one that is aspirational - showing new possibili-

also to keep it familiar. Reintroducing newness throse these


ties that they might not have considered but that look doable 149


within the constraints.

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Design Response - Concepts

Design Response - Concepts

Before embarking on our main design task, we were asked to develop concep-

After our first round of concept generation, we presented these to gain

tual diagrams for three cornerstone concepts which would inform our eventual

feedback on their clarity and perceived purpose. It was interesting to see

schemes. This would help us to ground our decisions to a strong core of logic,

where we had attempted to portray an idea which was then interpreted in

and would stimulate discussion on what the appropriate priorities were to be

a wholy different manner by other people. With this feedback on board, we

when considering the design and redesign of aspects of the Warnkurr Social

went about altering our diagrams to enhance their clarity.

Club. Reflection: It's interesting to consider that while diagrams represent simpli-

First iteration of concept diagrams

I chose to develop mine in the direction of both physical and social aspects,

fied versions of ideas, this makes their creation especially complex - how do

seeing as these would overlap and be mutually affecting. This seemed neces-

you best distill ideas so that their meaning isn't lost or altered? This became

sary especially in the case of the social club, given that we are dealing with the

evident after our discussion around our first iterations of concept diagrams.

fabric of an existing building which naturally has its own associations, physical

David pointed out that everything from the line weight and thickness be-

characteristics and seems to be beloved within the community. This formed

comes a signifier of something and should be treated as such. Every decision

the basis for my first diagram that aimed to show a preference for familiar

needs to be taken as a meaningful one, especially if you are attempting to

materials. The merging of a new family-oriented program formed the basis for

refer to existing associations with things. Does everyone have this associa-

my second diagram, where I wanted to show the ability for families to share

tion? We're so used to relying on common perceptions that we don't often

a larger space while offering individuals the ability to move independently be-

consciously consider them - the fact that a thick line represents a hard bar-

tween drinking and non drinking areas. The third concept was based around

rier vs. a dotted line representing a dotted barrier. Not all binaries are this

the significance of the club as a Gurindji Corporation enterprise, and what this

clear cut so their use needs to be carefully implemented when diagramming.

means in terms of its role as a celebration of Gurindji culture and history. 151


Second iteration of concept diagrams

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Design Response - Planning

Design Development - Planning

Developing our concepts proved to be a useful gateway

Reflection: As we began the planning process, we were met

into the meaningful planning of our sites, as it gave us a

with our first set of design decisions. Given that we weren't

guiding logic with which to begin the process of breaking up

able to travel to Kalkaringi, this step required the gather-

the various programmatic needs. I could now see the three

ing of all available site information. We had to accept that

concepts as means of moving forward with the design, es-

there would be many cultural nuances that we would not

pecially since they all came about from the consultation

know or be aware of, but there would still be ways of gain-

process. The ability for us to have a continued dialogue

ing valuable insight. Two of the 2020 Bower Studio students

about our ideas with RR and Phil has meant that we've

had already travelled to Kalkaringi so were able to tell us

been able to commit to our concepts with the confidence

about their experiences, and there were also many re-

that they are in line with the client's vision for the club.

sources available online created by people or groups who had spent time in Kalkaringi. I found a key part of generat-

The planning phase will see these concepts transferred into

ing a feeling of familiarity with the site came from browsing

physical implications, which will also be put through pipe-

the photos of last years trip, and hearing Annabelle and

line of continuous evaluation, from peers, our tutors, and

Emma remark on them - for example they mentioned that

members of the Kalkaringi community. These consistent

even though the club is a stone’s throw from the centre of

milestones keep our design courses in line with the vari-

town it still felt necessary to drive there in the blistering

ous criteria affecting the brief and seems like a habit that

heat. It’s these kinds of behavioural connections to place

should be applied generally when developing any design.

that I hope to honour in the final design. 153

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Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to Vincent Lingiari: Design Response - Planning "Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands part of the earth itself as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever." Vincent Lingiari replied: "The important whitefellas are giving us this land in ceremony... The [government men] came from different places; we do not know them but [we understand] they're on our side. We want to live in a better way together, blackfellas and whitefellas. Don’t let us fight over anything. Let us be mates... They took our country away from us but now they have given it back.” 154


05 social club 0 20











Warnkurr Social Club


Freedom Day Festival site


Welfare Manager's house


Police station


Proposed Cultural Centre site


General store / petrol station




Karungkarni Arts Centre


Proposed Family Centre site









Freedom Day Celebrations

iar ing t L ve n e nc gra Vi





Central Business

5 7

Organised Recreation

ac k




m Hil




to T










Community Purpose

k-Off Tr

6 8

Public Open Space

ll Wal


Tourist Commercial



Future Development Multiple Dwelling

large open area that once featured a tennis court. The opportunity to





156 5k





Main Road Zoned map of Kalkarindji

Reflection: The positioning of the club in relation to the rest of the community is fairly central, and has it situated on the outskirts of a


Design Development - Planning


expand isn't limited by any surrounding structures.

05 Social club Design Development - Planning Reflection: By zooming out from the club to consider how the boundary condition might

Beginning the planning process was a matter

be considered helped me to connect the

of trying to work some of the quite specific

club's site to the rituals and surrounds that

needs communicated by RR and Phil into the

define it. In August, the site of the Freedom

plan. There were a few changes to be made

Day Festival stage is to the east of the club

to the current plan, but largely it seemed

(pictured incorrectly here). This offers the

that the arrangement functioned well or was

possibility for the club to play a more sub-

at least seen fondly by the community.

stantial role in contributing to these celebrations and performance culture in throughout

The current club could be characterised by a

the year. If this is the goal, how might the

few broad-stroke characteristics:

barrier of the new family-oriented club be

- rectilinear division of spaces

conceived? I was first drawn to the idea of a

- robust blockwork and steel frame con-

curvilinear boundary made from a repeated


module which would defy the existing linear

- generic outdoor furniture Map of the existing club drawn by Annabelle Roper

fencing language. Could a boundary be gen-

- outdoor shade is highly valued, as is shelter

erated that enclosed the club yet allowed for

from the rain

free movement to the surrounding areas?



existing club

05 social club Design Response - Planning

Plan progression:

From this series one can track the life of the project from one that focused on Reflection: The planning process was probably the most iterative part of the design

05 social club

interventions within the existing boundaries of the club, to one that focused more

chain, as this is what we started with and continued to alter throughout the semester in

on complimenting what exists with adjacent structures. This honours the club in its

Design Response - Planning

accordance with feedback from tutors and community members alike. We all started

current form while marking the significant changes to its functioning

with tentative schemes before gradually coming to the realisation that the site was effectively much larger than the current footprint.

An early plan where the design focus has been on rearranging the existing spaces within the club, and the reinvigoration of outdoor areas to include new shade pavilions

In a further development, I chose to move the entry point to the western side to create an entry where the entire family could arrive together in support of the club’s new integration of family-friendly programs 159

The plan then begins to seep further into the surrounding landscape, with built structures outside the current 160

A later plan that has further opened up to the surrounding site, and leaves behind a language of rectilinear boundaries

05 Social club Design Development - Planning

familiar parts, new form new interior spaces using recognisable materials in new ways

Reflection: The development of my plan-concept relationship has been the foundation for an arrangement that I feel honours the needs of the client by acknowledging the multifaceted nature of their goals. Their aim of creating additional uses for the club is not defined by any one economic goal like it might be in other cases, and instead has social benefits at heart. For this reason I feel confident in suggesting that 'Families Together' is a central theme. The "familiar parts, new form" concept speaks to sessions with RR where he has expressed iinterest in using trusted materials to do something different in the community, just as Bower has done in the past. 'Stories are alive' justifies its central conceptual role given that the reclaiming of the club by Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation could be seen as a ripple emanating from the events of the Wave Hill Walk-Off. It is a reclamation of Gurindji country and culture. This current day story could be celebrated alongside the more extensive

families together stories are alive sharing Gurindji stories of the past and present in a dynamic way

boundaries that allow transparency and interaction

history of the Gurindji people, and will show to the community

A later conceptual plan sees the concepts intertwine - they are intended to be mutually affecting which I felt was an important aspect to represent diagramatically.

that the club is a place now operating with their interests at heart. 161


A diagram representing the final iteration of my scheme echoes the imprint of the conceptual development pictured in previous diagrams

familiar parts, new form

05 social club Design Response - Planning familiar parts, new form

stories are alive families together

stories are alive 163


families together

05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Entry + Boundaires

Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

The boundary condition of the site, although seemingly a mundane aspect, in fact is worthy of much attention. The boundary is the first part of the club that is seen and currently constitutes a lost opportunity for creating an initial impression of the club. In many of our consultations it has been mentioned that parts of the club foster a 'prison-like'


feel, which I would argue is largely in part to the bondary condition. The entry suffers from a similar condition in that one is shepharded through a small room, breath tested, then able to enter the club directly beside the bar. This suggests the centrality of alcohol consumption to a visit to the club which might actually be about something else entirely. For these reasons, I'm motivated to suggest significant changes to the fence and entry conditions that will preface the

The current boundary at the social club is a simple wire mesh fence structure with an opening towards the security area

All patrons currently pass through the free standing security box 165


other design interventions occuring within the club.

05 Social club Design Development - Entry + Boundaries

05 Social club Design Development - Entry + Boundaries

Reflection: In response to the need for a secure fenceline but the wish to have one that doesn't appear austere, I searched for examples of boundaries where a hard edge is softened, and visible permeability is made possible. These examples still make use of durable materials and fulfill their purpose as separators of space, but detract from their robust nature in the way that they introduce curvilinear formal attributes. Because the language of the existing club is so linear, I think introducing some different geometric language will encourage any new barriers to Precedents found that utilise a similar robust material palette to that available to use to make a boundary that is visibly permeable

Fence by Didier Faustino

be perceived as a much less forboding presence at the club.



05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Integrating landscape to soften boundaries From the precedents, I wished to take the use of softened curves to approach the new boundary of the club. In the next phase of modelling and sketching, I looked at how this could be done with linear members, and how these might be used in conjunction with landscaping elements to make a boundary that is both secure and more approachable or visually integrated with the landscape compared to the generic fence that is there now. This approach wouldn't necessarily need to be materially heavy, and could introduce a new manipulation of familiar materials in line with the concepts that I wished to embrace throughout the design.

Exploration of curvilinear language for a boundary condition



Model made to test the ability of a fence to undulate gently, creating evocative shadowplay in the process

05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Reflection: Completing this model allowed me to see what effect this model of fencing would have in terms of lighting. My initial thought was that the fence would act a a sort of sundial, always showing a record of the sun's position by way of repeating itself in shadow. This model also gave me confidence that with simple individual members a complex formal language could still be achieved. The linear rods could be one of many materials available in Kalkaringi corten steel or steel angle, but could be positioned in such a way as to suggest a more delicate form than what their imModel showing how the fence could curve around existing landscape features

mediate appearance may suggest.

covered firepit model 171


Models intended to show a firepit where the drinking and non-drinking sides could still engage with one another through semi-transparent materials



05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Reflection: The process of modelmaking provokes a different kind of spatial analysis that isn't triggered when modelling the same things digitally. By creating a physical model it was easier to envisage the atmospheric conditions that might be acting upon people as they pass through the entry to the club, and what might benefit from being altered. The interaction of light with the model was extremely valuable - it revealed that a covered entry way this narrow could feel highly constricted and go against the atmosphere of openness and inclusion that feels central to the new club, I was still interested in the idea of creating a channel that opens up to reveal the vibrant, open family area beyond. The efficacity of the perforated panels could still be used but could be opened up so a tunnel effect isn't operating. 175


Reflection: After these real world maquettes, I re-entered the digital sphere to begin modelling things with more precision. It felt necessary to reintroduce materiality to ground the project in buildability. This seemed to narrow my trajectory: the resulting fence felt bulky

any metal in the path of the sun would be much too hot to sit next to.

and monolithic compared to the model fence, and didn't generate much movement as the curvilinear option had.

Model showing how the fence could curve around existing landscape features


05 social club

It was pointed out that this structure would be an uncomfortable seat -


Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Model showing how the fence could curve around existing landscape features

05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Reflection: Through sketching I tried to bridge the gap between the ethereal qualities my models had provoked and a language that appeared robust and realistic



05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

further development of the fence


05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries


considering how to open up the entry yet support the idea of converging

05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Reflection: Developing quick iterations of the fence in both the physical and digital landscape allowed me to explore the various experiential effects that each would generate. The hand-done models were always immediately able to display whether provocative lighting ensured, while the digital models revealed what exact member sizes, thickness and other practical concerns would mean for the design. By jumping between these two methods, I was able to rule out options that felt unsuitable and pursue the most promising ones. Extending from the principles of my first fence model, I tried to create a curving canopy from straight sections of material which would be possible to fabricate.

quick paper fence model

quick digital fence model



developing digital iterations

05 social club weld mesh

Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

steel section frame

05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

40 x 40 hollow square

8-12mm corten steel

Emerging materiality: angle


cess of refinement, and was starting to resemble a compromise between the formal goals and pragmatic ones. I was in-

weld mesh

terested in using a gabion cage structure

or perforated metal sheet

as this would showcase the unique reddish stones of the area against a familiar ma-

concrete slab

max. height +/- 2600

The fence was now further down the pro-

corten steel sheet, perforated

steel mesh panels

terial - weld mesh. It would also imply a solidity at groud level which would peter

gabion cage

off as the fence rises in height. gabion cage

Through conversations with ARUP I was able to deduce that the gabion could mask a continuous footing to which the 12mm steel plate 4 x concrete screws concrete footing

fence members could be afixed. an earlier technical drawing where the metal posts making up the fence did not pass through the cage

gabion cage references



0 50 100



05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Reflection: Now that some technical resolution had been achieved, I wanted to reinfuse the fence with the main concept behind its positioning - that of keeping stories alive. To do this I looked to previous examples of storytelling architectural elements in Kalkaringi. We had already become familiar with Karungkarni Arts Centre where a previous Bower Studio had retrofitted the centre with a new outdoor courtyard and customised perforated panels. These offered an opportunity to link in to an existing aesthetic by borrowing this same material composition. I also liked the layering of pattern achieved here through the simple superimposition of perforated metal sheets.

perforated steel at Karungkarni Arts Centre

decorative panels at Karungkarni Arts Centre 187


imagining where the familiar materials could be used on the fence

05 social club Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Reflection: With the final rounds of form-finding I was able to generate a fence that would reference the stories of

Warnkurr watering hole

the Gurindji people at multiple levels: from a distant point, the fence could be read as a gentle wave. On approach, it would slowly reveal detailed images as chosen by the community expressed through perforations in the upper layer of steel. The lower layer of the fence would feature anodised aluminium mesh to allow transparency between the previously underutilised drinking area and the main approach to the club. The shadows which had become apparent in some of my physical modelling had been successfully transferred into

representing the final fence conceptually

the digital world and would provide shifting shade to those in the club. 189


final fence developments

05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

Design Response - Entry + Boundaries

development of a custom perforation map

images from Gurindji stories are able to be transformed into perforation maps using parametric software



05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Pavilions

Design Response - Pavilions

Pavilions: There are already pavilions on site at the club which we were told are used a lot - they provide shade and protection from the rain so are a key feature in the outdoor area. Their construction is a simple post and beam structure with corrugate roof which came in the place of the previous pavilions which were swept away in flooding. While there is nothing necessarily problematic about the pavilions, a new design might offer some visual excitement in an otherwise plain yard while providing the same benefits, When asked, RR has said that it would be ok to remove them if something better was to replace the current pavilions. Given that the new family area will require seating of a similar kind, I decided to develop a new formal language for a pavilion design which, much like the ‘Homes Plus’ projects, might be able to be built and replicated easily where needed. existing pavilion

existing pavilion details and seen from outside 193


existing pavilion is a popular seating area

05 Social club

05 Social club

Design Response - Pavilions

Design Response - Pavilions

Because the pavilions are currently well used, it was important to provide a design that considers thermal comfort by providing shade and surfaces that don't heat up too much if exposed to sun. My attempt at pursuing this started with research into spinifex shelters or bough sheds, As evidenced in the earlier research, these were commonly constructed in Kalkaringi so constitute a familiar architectural language. RR also told us of the previous pavilions and that these included a spinifex component. These were able to provide reprieve from the heat through evaporative cooling - they would routinely be sprayed with water to instigate this process. Some of the precedence delineated the ability for spinifex structures to envisaging new pavilions that blend with the curvilinear language of the new fencing 195


05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Pavilions

Design Response - Pavilions

The design shifted away from spinifex after RR noted that it had previously caught on fire and that the evaporative cooling effects relied on people to actively spray the structure with water, which they may not bother with

Because the pavilions are currently well used, it was important to provide a design that considers thermal comfort by providing shade and surfaces that don't heat up too much if exposed to sun. My attempt at pursuing this started with research into spinifex shelters or bough sheds, As evidenced in the earlier research, these were commonly constructed in Kalkaringi so constitute a familiar architectural language. RR also told us of the previous pavilions and that these included a spinifex component. These were able to provide reprieve from the heat through evaporative cooling - they would routinely be sprayed with water to instigate this process. Some of the precedence delineated the ability for spinifex structures to the effect of overlapping meshes as seen in a physical model shown to us by David at the beginning of semester

Imagining pavilions that merge the rectilinear language of the club with new forms that create shadow play 197


05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Pavilions

Design Response - Pavilions

Reflection: While the avenue of layered steel mesh had proved one with interesting implications for warped shadows, I thought the strength of the narrative begun by the fence could be used in the pavilions. This would have the added benefit of providing more shade and shelter for those occupying the pavilions - perforated metal sheets would have less open surface than steel mesh, and their patterns could be customised similarly to the fence and Karungkarni Arts Centre examples. With this decision made, I generated some test panels based on those at Karungkarni Arts Centre, in order to generate a simulation of how these would interplay with the sun. The density and size of the dots could be controlled parametrically to control how much light each panel could let through. Using this logic would mean that there would be continuity between the pavilions and the entry of the club. The language of the gabion cage could be extended to include elements of the original pavilions - wooden seating and tabletops. creating sample perforated sheets for the roof of the pavilions



lighting effect of the panels


05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Pavilions

Design Response - Pavilions

1m A

Reflection: The final pavilions were assymetrical in plan so that they can be duplicated but not appear identical. Each one can have a different orientation depending on its positioning within the site.


The pavilions carry forward the language plan


section A-A

started by the entry fence, and elevate it to provide structures associated with shelter and gathering. They reference the past pavilions through the use of timber (mod-wood) and provide the same ser-

Victoria riverstone paving

anodized aluminium weld mesh 25mm aperture

local stone

polycarbonate sheet

corrugated iron

black mild steel square posts 100 x 100

vices but bring an aspect of storytelling

mod-wood seating and table tops

to their practical nature. Their construction uses local stone as the basis for the gabion cages, a nod to the centrality of


gabion cage

side shades


the land in Gurindji culture and a cele-

seating + tabletops

bration of the local natural landscape. 201


Imagining pavilions that merge the rectilinear language of the club with shadow play

05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Games Room

Design Response - Games Room

Because the pavilions are currently well used, it was important to provide a design that considers thermal comfort by providing shade and surfaces that don't heat up too much if exposed to sun. My attempt at pursuing this started with research into spinifex shelters or bough sheds, As evidenced in the earlier research, these were commonly constructed in Kalkaringi so constitute a familiar architectural language. RR also told us of the previous pavilions and that these included a spinifex component. These were able to provide reprieve from the heat through evaporative cooling - they would routinely be sprayed with water to instigate this process. Some of the precedence delineated the ability for spinifex structures to initial sketches of the proposed build where the games room framed a modest courtyard



slowly expanding the courtyard

05 social club

05 social club

final plan

Design Response - Games Room

Design Response - Games Room

The games room and the roof structure above it constitute the northern arm of the proposal for the Warnkurr Social Club. The design was informed first by the planning decisions that opened up the plan to the surrounding area, and secondarily by passive cooling concerns. When the planning decision had been made to extend the interior spaces included in the new proposal, I was able to begin massing the games room and adja-

By researching passive cooling strategies in parallel to

cent toilet blocks. These were united under one large roof structure which also

the development of the design, a form was born that

covered a basketball court on the most northern end.

would be able to be constructed using methods tried and tested within the community but resulting in a novel, faceted form. I looked to the simple steel language of the Kalkaringi basketball area (pictured on page 134) as a reference point of a similar size. The court is fully open whereas my proposal would have two closed blocks - the bathroom block and the games room.

the roof overarching the games room (far left), the toilet block (centre) and the basketball half court (right)

structural breakdown 205


05 social club Design Response - Games Room

05 social club Design Response - Games Room

Reflection: Even though this was a highly simplified diagram, it was a distillation of the processes acting upon my proposed structure


With RR's wish to push traditional technologies beyond their

Passive cooling techniques employed:


50 m

known limits still in mind, I looked to the familiar language of steel frame construction to create a roof structure which would hit

- room width kept to a minimum to allow cross

the necessary thermal comfort targets while supporting an eye-

breezes to flow through

catching geometry in keeping with the fence and pavilion struc-

- earth coupled slab uses cooler temperatures


below ground to keep concrete slab (high thermal mass) cool



The triple peaked roof concept would echo the tripartite grouping

- reflective insulation placed under roof sheeting

of central concepts, and would allow for the roof angle to open

to reflect radiant heat

up towards the central plaza of the club. With the interior spaces

- large openings and long eaves on north west-

kept to a minimum width, this would encourage passive cooling

ern side to prevent low-angled sun from warm-

by allowing prevailing breezes to run through the space.

ing the concrete slab - small openings on southern side to encourage



15 deg. pitch

In visual terms, the three peaks of the roof would be seen against

air flow

the back drop of the hills to the east of the club, and would create

- fans to stimulate movement of air

shade over the inner courtyard area throughout the day. This

- slanted roof facilitates stack ventilation

would prevent the concrete walls of high thermal mass making up 6000 9000

a diagram summarising the approaches I would take to passively cool the games room

the eastern side of the built spaces to remain cool. 207


05 social club Design Response - Games Room

05 social club Design Response - Games Room

To ensure the environmental char-

Reflection: Looking into the weather pat-

acteristics of the site were being ap-

terns affecting Kalkaringi was a useful step

propriately catered to, I carried out a

in confirming that my design approach

basic analysis of weather data specific

would be suitable to the climate factors

to the area. I generated climatic dia-

acting on the club's site. Throughout con-

grams for the site by plugging in data

sultation the importance of shade and cool

from the Meteorological Bureau to

spaces had been reiterated many times,

Ladybird - a parametric engine that

which was something I tried to keep at the

maps environmental variables.

forefront of my mind knowing that I would have a hard time imagining exactly how

The resulting wind rose showed that

hot it gets in Kalkaringi. Looking further into

prevailing winds throughout the year

the meteorological data showed that the

came from the south east. I had to

SE winds were indeed the most common,

bear in mind that the rose represent-

and that the orientation of my building

ed an average, and that seasonal

along with the size and positioning of its

winds might follow a different pattern.

openings would work with this to encour-

For example, the brief wet season may

age passive cooling effects.

have a different prevailing wind.

wind rose generated using Ladybird software 209


daily weather observations from the Wave Hill weather station, May 2020

Reflection: just as in the case of the fence, modelling up a section of the games room to scale forced me to make decisions about the materiality

05 social club Design Response - Games Room

05 social club corrugated iron sheets 150 x 80 purlins @ 600 CRS zinc aluminum flashing 240 x 120 I Beam @ +/3000 CRS

Design Response - Games Room

and fixings involved in the construction

corrugated polycarbonate sheeting 40 x 40 steel tube hollow square section 180mm corrugate formed concrete 100 x 100 steel posts hollow square section

200mm earth coupled concrete slab developing a section of the games room in more detail 211


an early section of the games roof structure

05 social club Design Response - Games Room

05 social club Design Response - Games Room

possible paving patterns

precedents using corrugated concrete

Reflection: I thought about creating precast panels of concrete with a customised corrugation pattern, but this would go against the ease of construction that comes with corrugated formwork 213

diagramming approaches to paving


following materiality discussions, I wanted to integrate local river stone into the paving design in a way that allowed the ground plane to gradually merge with impermeable areas

05 social club

05 social club

Design Response - Games Room

Design Response - Games Room

Reflection: The use of gabion cages in my scheme provoked my awareness of Kalkaringi stones - alongside the availability of stones suitable for the cages, larger river stones would also be appropriate for paving according to Jamie. I searched for references where evidence of these rocks and their specific qualities would be visible, discovering in the process that they possessed a beautiful sandy colour. After considering how the stones might be cut up or processed into linear members, I rethought my design to include the river stones in their natural state. This could constitute another form of storytelling within the club, and would suggest a connection to the nearby Victoria River as

photo by victoria king

well as the namesake of the club - Warnkurr watering hole. Kalkaringi stone, photo by Victoria King



Warrijkuny or Sambo Rock on the Victoria River. (Photo Brenda L Croft 2014)

05 Social club

05 Social club

Design Response - Games Room

Design Response - Games Room

games room elevation

We were able to meet with Rachel and Jorja of ARUP

Reflection: Working with the existing palette of materials that

again to discuss the progression of our projects, and

are frequently used in Kalkaringi was a valuable design exer-

whether they were on the right track in structural terms.

cise as it forced experimentation of form through a pragmatic framework to arrive at a result that still provides something

I presented my scheme along with my tentative purlin,

novel to the typical roofscape of the community. It was satis-

beam and post spacings, most of which were near an

fying to see that a faceted roof could still be undertaken with

acceptable range. Rachel and Jorja suggested that the

a fairly simple, uniform structure which remains buildable and

lower steel framed wall would benefit from some lateral

viable in the context of Kalkaringi where materials are limited

bracing. For this reason, I decided to space my windows

by availability and performance.

to allow for bracing to run through the centre of the bays steel framed wall





developing a section of the games room in more detail


between columns.

We were also offered the unique lens of considering how every detail would be constructed - we had to keep in mind that the

Further conversations regarding the structure saw my

heavy machinery that might be readily available in cities would

adjustment of the slab thickness to 150mm and the ad-

not be accessible. Thinking about the nature of connections and

dition of the same anodized aluminium mesh used for

how they will be assembled leads to a more wholistic under-

the gabion cages to the frames above the concrete wall.

standing of how a building might operate as a whole.


05 social club Reflection: the stage design was a direct development of the language used for the games

Design Response - Stage

05 social club Design Response - Stage

room structure. With the two entities facing each other, my hope was that the structures

range of activities. With two smaller stages, the main stage would rise gradually from the landscape and allow for multiple groups to use the space at once. This was also to signify

would clearly belong to the same architectural family

an early plan of the stage where it was smaller in size

the stage grew significantly in size from the earlier versions to be able to cater for a wider

the shift of emphasis on drinking related activities to other forms of entertainment.

an early stage section

the final plan of the stage 219


an image of the stage at a later date when enlargements have been made





familiar parts, new form


a ries re ali v to




t ilies oget



concept +, Context concepts

a place for everyone in the family to connect



a li

r pa

rts, , n






telling Gurindji stories from the past and today

stories are alive using what already works to inform new creations



families together


05 Social club site plan

Final Designs


8 7 The site is arranged in accordance with the three main concepts:


Stories are alive





Manager's office




Women's bathroom


Outdoor drinking area




Outdoor family area


Games room



10 Basketball court


Families together Familar parts, new forms


These coallesce to create a central core where all three entertwine.

5 4

Existing club 225


226 New proposals 01 2



05 social club Final Designs

Perspective image of fence from outside incorporate colour coding of concepts

The boundary that defines the new approach to the club is now both a practical structure and one that tells Gurindji stories in multiple ways. From afar, the wavy silhouette shines in the sun. From closer by, images from Kalkaringi's history can be seen dotted across the ground, and speckled on the faces of those already enjoying the shade within the club. People can pause to chat across the fence, or follow the path around to the new entrance.


Gurindji stories begin to be told from outside the club 227


05 social club Final Designs

Perspective image of fence from outside incorporate colour coding of concepts

The previously underutilised space to the west of the club is now shaded and connected to those entering the club. The drinking area now includes this space away from the stage and family area for those who prefer, which is now accessible via two large roller doors. This means those in the drinking area can choose to be near the family oriented core of the club, or in this newly revived space.

from within 229


the boundary of the club gives shade and connection to the outside

05 social club Final Designs

The orientation of the entry means that no matter what time of day it is, the shadows created by the fence will suggest the flow of water, and people, towards the Warnkurr Social Club. This makes reference to the Warnkurr water hole that exists closeby along the Victoria River.


an entry that guides you to the heart of the club 231


05 social club Final Designs

The pavilions use the language of the fence to create shaded spaces for people to sit and congregate. They represent a palette of materials - old and new - that can be altered to fit the needs of the community. The same pavilion could be repeated, or different sizes and shapes could be devised in accordance with how the club is used.

pavilions 233


robust shelters that allow people to gather, eat and relax


1m A




section A-A

the materials used for the pavilions are instrumental in providing comfortable surfaces for sitting, shaded by perforated panels that double as storytelling devices. Victoria riverstone paving

anodized aluminium weld mesh 25mm aperture

local stone

gabion cage


polycarbonate sheet

corrugated iron

side shades

black mild steel square posts 100 x 100

mod-wood seating and table tops


materiality that mixes old and new 235


05 social club Final Designs

The games room is a shared space where people of all ages can play or watch games, view local artefacts and trophies, browse local notices and take in art made within Kalkaringi. Its design will keep the space cool through interacting passive cooling techniques, and will provide shelter during the wet season. The triple peak of the roof extends to cover a bathroom block and basketball court, so that the games can flow out towards the outdoor areas.

technical persp section


games room 237





05 social club Final Designs

The boundary that defines the new approach to the club is now both a practical structure and one that tells Gurindji stories in multiple ways. From afar, the wavey silhouette shines in the sun. From closer by, images from Kalkaringi's history can be seen dotted across the ground, and speckled on the faces of those already enjoying the shade within the club. People can pause to chat across the fence, or follow the path around to the new entrance.


the stage rises up from the landscape, like the hills east of the club 239


05 social club Final Designs

Freedom Day Festival: Yapakayi-nginyi Jangkarnik - From Little Things Big Things Grow Kalkaringi lights up as people from all over make the pilgrimage from Jinparrak to Wattie Creek to celebrate in the spirit of unity and pride.

freedom day 241


Freedom Day shot

the festivities of Freedom Day continue on inside the Warnkurr Social Club


evaluation Social Club Reflection



06 evaluation Social Club

In mid June Phil shared the news with us that the club would be

Reflection: At first the four of us grouped in the So-

under Gurindji Corporation ownership within the coming months

cial Club group were apprehensive about our ability

- a major milestone in the corporation's history and the first major

to propose meaningful designs for a brief that centres

break through in relation to the three briefs worked on by Bower

so heavily around an existing icon within the Kalkaringi

Studio in 2020. With this, the reality of our project was made even

community - how would those of us who had never

clearer, especially on seeing the document which had been circu-

experienced the Warnkurr Sports and Social Club be

lated in support of the imminent redevelopment. The inclusion of

able to gauge what the most important and potential-

Damien's work felt like it revealed how our work is being perceived

ly successful interventions would look like? Contrarily

by the members of community who we are engaging with - that

to this initial feeling, the openness of RR and Phil and

what we propose absolutely has the potential to be developed

the visual resources available to us made it possible to

into practical solutions.

get a glimpse into the fabric of the club as it is, and to base our designs around these "golden nuggets" of in-

With the renovation and extension of the club coming up in the

formation provided. The ongoing consultation process

near future, it will be so interesting for all those of us participating

gave us enough confidence in our reading of the brief

in Bower Studio this year to see how the project progresses, and if

to suggest designs that will hopefully be considered as

there will be a push to have any parts of the project underway by

provocations or starting points for a very exciting and

the 2021 Freedom Day Festival in August. an excerpt from the Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation's Business Proposal for the Warnkurr Social Club



now imminent project.

06 Evaluation

06 Evaluation



Parametric technologies in the storytell-

With that said, it could be valuable to consider the

ing process:

use of such technologies for future designs. This could push the existing language used by Bower Studio to

Through a few parts of the design process,

new aesthetic levels while keeping the same focus on

the ability to use parametric formfinding and

consultation at heart. It could also lead to more effi-

pattern generation was useful in transferring

cient material use and the introduction of fabrication

visual records of life in Kalkaringi into various

methods that might not have been trialled before.

physical representations. This felt like just a small foray into a potential method of infus-

Because this kind of technology isn't always easily ex-

ing new architecture in Kalkaringi with designs

plained or accessible to those unfamiliar with its uses,

and ideas from within the community. Out-

I hope that by showing some examples of its role

side the realm of visual symbolism, it was also

within design in the context of the Warnkurr Social

a highly useful tool in generating new forms

Club might make a case for its future use.

from rectilinear materials, as was the case for the interface of Grasshopper while it works to convert images into perforation maps

my proposed fence.

the pavilion roof panels were generated from images of the Karungkarni Arts Centre



06 Evaluation

06 Evaluation



Reflection: Bower Studio has been a truly formative experience, especially for someone with limited prior knowledge of the Aboriginal experience in Australia today. Despite the unusual circumstances which altered our expected course, the core goal of the studio was maintained through sustained discussions, ongoing consultations and iterative design work, all somehow fostered through the online means at our disposal. I gained a new found appreciation for rigorous discussion and iterative design process, and for the role of rapid sketching and modelling as an indispensible tool. Rapid sketching can juxtapose a process of thoughtful diagramming, where the intended meaning needs to be carefully considered before conversion into a visual format. Thanks to our digital connection with Kalkaringi, I can't wait to see see where the Warnkurr Sports and Social Club goes, and hope that our visit to Kalkaringi is merely postponed. Bower Studio 2020



a semester of sketches