Bay of Fires standing camp ‘krakani lumi’ best small project at National Architecture Awards

Country, culture and custodianship are the key themes of Tasmania’s krakani lumi, which was awarded the Nicholas Murcutt Award for Small Project Architecture at tonight’s Australian Institute of Architects National Architecture Awards 2018.

The standing camp, which means ‘place of rest’, was designed by Hobart’s Taylor and Hinds Architects in conjunction with the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, comprising part of the Bay of Fires trail.

It serves as a two-night stop over for a four-day guided walk through the cultural landscape, providing accommodation and communal facilities for two guides and 10 walkers, the first of its kind in Tasmania entirely owned and operated by the Aboriginal Land Council.

Located on the rugged and remote north-eastern Tasmanian coast in wukalina (Mount William National Park), the jury described the project as ‘a compelling example of excellence in architecture and respect’.

‘A respectful collaboration between the palawa Aboriginal custodians and the architects has infused the project with cultural relevance and a technical precision emanating from the locale,’ the jury said.

‘The partnership enabled a setting that reveals Country as the beginning and the end.’

Operating entirely off-grid, krakani lumi is powered by a 5.3kW roof mounted solar array, with water harvested onsite.

It was built with robust timber and metal finishes, locally sourced from sustainably managed suppliers.

Impressively, not a single tree was removed during construction.

The site is impossible to see until arrival, the structures’ charred timber exteriors enveloped within a banksia grove.

Individual buildings are robust and resilient and, when opened, reveal the shelter of their half-domed blackwood-lined interior.

The project’s heart is its open pavilion, centred on a firepit to inspire cleansing and dreaming which is also a central place of gathering and storytelling.

In his awards submission, architect Mat Hinds said the project was derived from the traditional seasonal shelters of Tasmania’s first people.

‘This context and the notion of the story-telling interior is an important conceptual foundation for the work,’ he said.

‘The telling of the creation is an initiation into the spiritual and cultural interior of the landscape, and the open spatiality of the traditional half dome form amplifies this experience within the larger room
of the landscape.

‘Through the revelation of the interior a narrative of concealing and revealing is told, which allows
the Aboriginal communities to self-determine the audience and occasion of their story.’

Jury chair and Immediate Past President Richard Kirk said the National Awards provided an opportunity to reflect on how Australia’s diverse landscapes, urban environments and economic conditions influence and inform our architecture, enriching our culture.

‘Projects at this level are all accomplished but it was those that could demonstrate their value broadly, beyond the limits of the brief and the confines of the site, which were nationally recognised,’ he said.

‘Most impressive were projects that established new design benchmarks and whose influence can be of value to the broader community, leading to positive change in our built environment.

‘For the jury, it was important that all the awarded projects implemented sustainability initiatives at a conceptual level, taking a holistic approach. It was impressive to see the growing sophistication and ingenuity in this domain.’

National President Clare Cousins congratulated all award recipients and finalists for their valuable contribution to Australian architectural practice.

‘In Australia, we have developed our own brand of architecture that defines who we are and where we come from,’ she said.

‘These awards are the most recognised and competitive in the industry. They are peer-judged and involve an exhaustive selection process, with site visits to shortlisted projects, allowing the jury to experience the quality of the work firsthand.

‘They showcase the continuing evolution and diversity of our craft and the changing needs of our society, illustrating the vital role architecture plays in the lives of all Australians.’

The local winner was among 12 projects to receive named awards, 20 that received national awards and eight that received national commendations from a shortlist of 69 projects drawn from a total pool of 975 of national and international entries.

2018 National Jury

Richard Kirk (Chair) – Immediate Past President of the Australian Institute of Architects; Director, KIRK
Jill Garner – Victorian Government Architect
Katelin Butler – Editorial Director, Architecture Media
Charles Wright – Director, Charles Wright Architects
Kevin O’Brien – Principal, BVN