CASCADE FEMALE FACTORY COMPETITION
Our Stage 2 collaboration with Bence Mulcahy, Openwork and Lovell Chen
Deported. A passage of sea separating a life once lived and the new colony of evolution.
The site chosen for the containment and reform of the convict woman population was isolated by mountainous forms. Landscape utilised as a device to impose separation, segregation.
The proposal considers the Interpretation Centre as an opportunity to define the site in a holistic manner actively stitching together all three remaining yards. The middle (Yard 3) unlike Yards 1 and 4, was built for isolation, separation, deprivation. The prevalence of the ‘wall’ and of ‘containment’ are defining spatial factors of Yard 3 in its original formation.
The Interpretation Centre is regarded as a device for navigating all three yards. The building defines a continuous exhibition space providing information in sequence. Experience in sequence.
In order to acknowledge the opportunities of the site the proposal provides two fronts, equal access.
The two frontages are defined through forecourt utilising landscape to define this. A definition of boundary but implied openness. A building that holds a civic presence. A quality implied by its generosity and historical significance and statue. Building as wall.
We have taken on board the notion of ‘authenticity’. We are keen for the building to build where no building has been built before, providing a silent memory of what was once there. A memory that is respectful of the existing conditions and associated footings. Not wanting to disturb but rather preserve. Preserve through enclosure. Preserve through containment. Preserve through letting be.
The building ascends from Degraves and Syme Streets providing equal hierarchy. This allows for a single level building with DDA access into Yards 1 and 4. In ascending there is an acknowledgement of the buildings role. Hovering above the existing archaeology, bridging the existing footings. It allows for a relationship to be drawn between memorial, church, civic interventions. Stepping up. Rising up not digging down.
The landscape is utilised as a device for preservation. Elevated garden beds define what was once there. The new building form offsets from the existing in order to touch the ground with minimal impact.
The interior defines the spatial qualities that the historical site once housed. Simple. Reduced. Light utilised as a navigational device. A deadening and softening of sound is achieved through a dark acoustic lining. The exhibition display carved into the wall providing an intimate engagement. The ability to touch and follow the shelving as one moves through the space. Table height defines a datum for adults, children and wheel chair access to engage with the memories exhibited within the building. Experience. Education. Intimacy. Quietly acknowledging what was once there.