Vincent Chrisp Architects & NSW G.A.O. Indigenous Design Unit complete a vibrant healing environment for indigenous youth
'Bunjilwarra' is a 12 bed residential facility, the first of its kind in Australia to provide youth-orientated, culturally appropriate intervention based rehabilitation. A collaboration between Vincent Chrisp Architects & NSW Government Architects Office Indigenous Design Unit, the architecture departs from common notions of healthcare provision and aesthetic and is deliberately non institutional.
Consisting of five buildings arranged around a central fire-pit, the layout derives from traditional indigenous community gatherings, enabling residents to 'weave' multiple paths between the buildings and develop their own relationship and connection to the surrounding landscape.
The buildings reference the shape of iconic bush shelters, however depart from traditional, organic form making. Aimed at a predominantly urban user group, buildings are dynamic, with fragmented shape and folding lines. Corrugated cladding folds to form roof & walls, strong diagonal ridge lines visually connect each building to the next. Voids subtracted from the building form create spaces for entries, pathways and seating.
The scale and proximity of the buildings, allows subtle oversight by carers within the residential program, a key element of the brief. Long expanses of column free, covered outdoor decking afford enclosure and protection from noise and weather, whilst offering freedom of movement and opportunities for informal gathering, another key requirement.
The Cultural Building is a unique, sacred spiritual healing space, providing a gathering space for 20 people. Internally, a ‘contemplative healing space' for individual reflection is lined with timber and dynamically patterned with scars to resonate with the scarred identities of the individuals within, a daring concept that was whole heartedly embraced by the client group.
The buildings use low maintenance sustainable materials and a number of environmentally sustainable design initiatives. The result is a residential rehabilitation facility with identifiable indigenous character, that weaves a vibrant healing environment.