Port Arthur prototype
This small pavilion is a prototype suite for a proposed new resort at Port Arthur, and has been built prior to the construction of the main project to evaluate the design ideas.
The project has two basic aims. The first is to create a new resort that is as environmentally sustainable as possible. The environmentalist David Suzuki has coined the term ‘biomorphic’ architecture, ie creating buildings which begin to replicate natural biological and botanical processes happening in nature. The carefully calibrated skin of the prototype is a very important step in this direction. Measuring the reality of the process over a extended period in a real building is the first step in validating the theoretical concepts.
The second is to tell in a new and informative way the story of life at Port Arthur and especially the individual lives of the convicts themselves. The prototype pavilion is a diaphanous translucent skinned ‘ghost’ building, similar in size and scale to the simple domestic Georgian cottages that once formed an adhoc ‘village’ which grew up around the main penal buildings.
Port Arthur was a scene of real human sadness and tragedy. We do not seek to deny this history but instead show a new resonance and insight with the actuality of people’s lives who were formerly incarcerated there. The prototype is allowing us to develop very innovative ideas and trial them prior to their eventual integration into the main building.
Australian Institute of Architects Tasmanian Chapter Small Buildings Commendation