The project site is remote and experiences unpredictable weather, snow and lots of rain. It was unusual to design for an alpine environment and not being able to easily visit the site and the cost in getting fabricators there added extra difficulty. The project experienced significant delays due to weather affecting construction as well as COVID.
As designers, we existed in this project like meat in a sandwich, between the architect’s perfect vision, and Parks and Wildlife, who’d prefer nothing to change, leave nature be. Our role was to insert meaningful experiences that amped up the awe for the place that they were about to enter: 60,000+ years of Aboriginal occupation, living creatures that evolved before dinosaurs and resilient vegetation with closer relatives in South America than mainland Australia. We persisted with visionary ideas that worked in-hand with the building fabric and respected environmental values of Parks.
Design + Execution
Hundreds of coloured anodised metal pins visualise 1,154 UNESCO sites worldwide. The colours refer UNESCO categories ‘cultural’ = gold, ‘natural’ = green, if a site meets both then it is white. The viewer is asked to locate themselves in a global context and relate to where they are from, to Cradle Mountain. It illustrates the significance of where they are standing. Cradle and Mount Taishan are highlighted by a highly visible red marker. The perforated façade of the building lent itself perfectly to applying graphics.
Nearby a circle of 7 sentinel dolerite rocks, millions of years old welcome visitors. Each one represents the 7 UNESCO criteria the Tasmanian World Heritage Area meets. The massive rocks were sourced by Parks and Wildlife, we were challenged to incorporate them into the interpretation, being a natural element, were appropriate to carry the Aboriginal interpretation. A spear, woven basket and a fire stick used to create fire – made by local Tasmanian Aboriginals – then cast in bronze are fixed to three of the obelisks. They mark the cultural significance of their occupation of the land and the 3 criteria their presence has earned us.
Kate Owen (design director, designer & project manager)
Peter Walker (architect, cumulus studio)
Daniel Zika (assistant project manager)
Aldous Kelly (illustrator & designer)
Lauren Jones (designer & illustrator)
Saxon Shing (designer)
Cumulus Studio (architecture)
Playstreet (landscape architecture)
ERA Planning (planning)
Think Big (fabrication)
Miller Metal (fabrication)
Big River Tribe: David Mangenner Gough (traditional owners)
Creative Hat Interpretation:
Fiona Rice (writer)
Chris Viney (writer)