A wooden gesture

Samy Mansour
12 Nov 2009

M3architecture complete memorial for the birthplace of the modern day Labour party

Brisbane based architecture practice m3architecture, in association with Brian Hooper Architect, have recently completed a £3 million memorial project for the Tree of Knowledge, accredited as being the birthplace of the Australian Labour party in 1891. Following the poisoning of the tree in 2006 a memorial was commissioned to commemorate and mark this historical landmark located in the small town of Barcaldine in Queensland, Australia.

The design forms an 18 metre high steel and timber structure that follows the canopy, in relief, of the old ghost gum tree using 3,600 individual hanging timber slats. From afar the memorial seems to form a suspended slatted container that surrounds the remaining branches of the original tree; only once visitors stand under the structure they become aware of the canopy that the individual slats form.

Visible from the highway the building also serves as a signpost for the town and acts as a gateway to Barcaldine forming part of the entrance way to the railway station. At night the memorial is illuminated and creates a popular meeting place for social exchange. The original root ball of the tree is preserved and showcased to visitors through a glass floor panel located under the canopy.

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