Makers’ Workshop represents a major investment in a post-industrial future by the town of Burnie, on Tasmania’s north-west coast. Until recently, the town has been known primarily for its large scale industries, such as the massive waterfront pulp and paper mill, and busy port.
A local initiative born from the town’s paper heritage, Creative Paper, has built a reputation for high quality, handmade paper products. In addition, the town has a rich sense of its heritage as a rural centre.
TERROIR transformed the brief for a new visitor and cultural facility, combining the industry and museum components into something even more community oriented, with the idea of providing a ‘living room’ for the town.
A five-spoke diagram is centered on an orientation hub that has free access for the public and features items from the museum’s collection. Each of the five spokes (or arms) houses a different function – back of house, paper-making workshop, multipurpose exhibition/theatre, café and a combined retail/gallery space – and within some are individual ‘pods’ for local ‘makers’ with whom the public can interact.
Each spoke terminates with a large picture window that captures portions of the panoramic view – identifying different aspects of Burnie: port, town, hinterland, Bass Strait and adjacent heritage buildings.
Contextually, the building is understood as part of the collection of industrial objects along the coast. Rather than adopt a sentimental pseudo-industrial aesthetic, however, these objects have been re-imagined as giant ‘toys’ with which this project joins.
Our toy is a lighthouse of sorts on the western headland above the beach, a sentinel both for passing ships and for the locals. The translucent Danpalon cladding, providing an ever-changing façade throughout the day, furthers its lighthouse quality.
The project was completed within a remarkable 15 months from the initial briefing, due in large part to the client’s strong vision, developed in association with cultural and tourism-related projects strategic consultants, and the shared commitment from the team of contractors.
The Burnie City Council’s appreciation of the benefits of seeking innovative, contemporary design for this important project for the Burnie community and the value of engaging a young and energetic team to achieve a unique outcome is, in our experience, exemplary.