Gunditj Mirring Keeping Place

Phillips/Pilkington Architects

This project is a repository for Gunditjmara cultural artefacts rehoused from existing collections, having been ‘stolen’ from their rightful custodians, the Gunditjmara People. It also houses a Business Centre for the Gunditjmara to generate economic futures for their community. The design takes its geographic location and site features as a major starting point for its 3D form. On an exposed hilltop with commanding views down over the creek valley, its long axis runs north/south, so service areas are placed to the west and screened, as this is also the site entry point from the small adjacent car park. The plan’s fan-shaped roof geometry roof rises to the east and is lowest to the west to minimise summer heat loads.

The creation of a building requiring museum-grade conditions to conserve culturally important artefacts, which also has to prove to large institutions that returned artefacts would be properly cared for and conserved was a major challenge.

An innovative design was created, elegantly locking the curved glu-lam timber rafters into a steel ‘collar’ which minimised the use of steel and provided framing for the PV-powered night-time roof lantern, which acts as both a beacon of occupation and of remembrance.

The project has been designed to minimise life cycle costing with a low maintenance demand and running costs. The building has been designed to be maintained as much as possible by Gunditj Mirring staff and designed for a life span exceeding 100 years.

Photography by Terry Hope Photography