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CONNECTION, The National Centre for Cultural Studies
"Between the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous, Urban Life and Nature"

Public Architecture, Landscape Design 2022

Ngunnawal Country | Gungahlin, Act, Australia

1.86 ACRES / 7553 SQM

Grounded on the township of Gungahlin, the design of the 15,000 square meter National Centre for Culture Studies (NCCS) originates from the aboriginal beliefs of ‘oneness’, of ‘belonging’ and ‘connectedness’. The design narrative for the NCCS project derive from the deep Aboriginal connection to country, place and kin, and lay emphasis on the interrelationship between people, the natural landscape and the built environment. The proposal of the site composes of three massing interconnected by a central platform. The three buildings each offer a different programme, a public learning centre, a performance centre and student accommodation, designed with consideration in optimising daylighting and natural ventilation to the building.

The proposal of the NCCS explores expressing cultural motifs endemic to the local First People’s clans and focuses on drawing a closer ‘connection’ between the public and the first nations people. The designed space acts both as knowledge exchange and environmental moderation, functioning to help students and candidates to acquire a deeper understanding of the history and culture of the first nations as well as providing the Ngunnawal people with the space to celebrate their cultural practices and ceremonies. The selected concept design draws on the native Ngunnawal plant structure the ‘Kurrajong Flower’, where the different programmed buildings are interlinked together by a connection platform just like the correlation between the flower’s petals and its receptacle.

The designed landscape responds to the client’s environmental concerns, engaging with the natural environment through the utilization of native species and wetlands to dissolve the edge of public and private spaces. The light well and green roof system assist in the collection of rainwater and wastewater to wetlands which helps to solve the problem of flood water capacity, urban heat islands and provides better water quality and enhances the overall biodiversity.

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