Australian Outback Pub Goes To Venice
A restored outback Queensland pub in a drought-declared region is being taken to one of the world’s greatest cities that is slowly sinking into the sea. The 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale could not be a more distant location for The Globe at Barcaldine to be featured.
Yet that’s what’s happened. The iconic two-storey timber building is one of 15 projects to represent Australia at the Biennale that opened on May 26.
Brisbane’s m3architecture and Yeppoon-based Brian Hooper Architect in association transformed the century-old outback pub into the Barcaldine Shire’s Tourist Information Centre as well as art gallery and function centre.
The theme of this year’s Biennale is Freespace, and the Australian exhibition presented by the Australian Institute of Architects is called Repair.
It highlights the importance of environmental rehabilitation in architectural practice.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Melbourne architecture practice Baracco and Wright and artist Linda Tegg.
“We have often struggled with our relationship as architects when considering the use of land – it’s no small act,” Baracco and Wright said.
“We believe there is a role for architecture to actively engage with the repair of the places it is part of, which our exhibition will communicate. We hope the discussion we’re presenting will engage the profession as enthusiastically as it has already done here in Australia.”
The Globe Hotel is a century-old landmark on the junction of two major national highways in regional Queensland.
Not only has it won the 2017 Australian Institute of Architects award for public architecture and been selected for the Venice Biennale, it has also been recognised at the 2018 Australian Good Design Award.
The Good Design Awards, the highest honour for design innovation in Australia, were announced at the Sydney Opera House on May 17.
It was the 60th Annual Good Design Awards Ceremony and The Globe was named a winner in the Architectural Design category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.
Jan Utzon, son of Jorn Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House, presented the awards.
m3architecture is a Brisbane-based, national award winning architecture firm known for their high profile public and education work.
Brian Hooper Architect is based in Yeppoon, on Queensland’s central coast, and has delivered various public, commercial and residential projects.
The Globe Hotel is now a cultural drawcard for the region, including an art gallery capable of taking works on loan from QAGOMA, a local history room, information centre and bank.
The hotel is 300m from the politically significant, heritage-listed Tree of Knowledge, also designed by m3architecture and Brian Hooper Architect. The Tree is the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party.
Both projects have been awarded at a national level for their architectural contribution to Australia’s heritage and culture.
The architects’ design for the landmarks that bookend the town has had social, commercial and environmental impacts.
Prior to the Globe Hotel and Tree of Knowledge projects, the Barcaldine Council estimated that of all visitors to Longreach, about 3-5% would stop and spend money in Barcaldine.
The Council now estimates this number to be between 10 and 15% – an estimated increase of at least 300%.
The 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale celebrates the best in architecture worldwide and includes participants from more than 60 countries. It will run to November 25, 2018.
“The Venice Biennale is the most influential event in the world with respect to architecture and ideas,’’ m3architecture’s Michael Lavery said.
“This year the exhibition will incorporate the master plan for Barcaldine including the two major projects which bookend this thinking in The Tree of Knowledge, and The Globe.
“I am excited that the Barcaldine Regional Council’s determination to see this work delivered over a 10-year period, is now recognised on the world stage.
“Ideas for an outback garden town, built on aquafers, have travelled all the way to a cosmopolitan world city built in the sea.’’
As for Brian Hooper, he thought that having The Globe recognised at a national level was quite an honour.
“To be selected for the Venice Biennale was very special.
“The diachotamy could not be greater.
“Venice is in a state of repair … there is a nice coincidence there.
“The repair has been going on over many years.
“The theme of the exhibition is repair … The Globe fits that theme perfectly.
“Having the building gain recognition in terms of architectural awards is one thing.
“Convincing council to retain it is a benefit for its architecture and community benefit is another.
“It has exceeded expectation, adding to the built environment and character of the town.’’
Barcaldine has been a struggle town as it fights to survive in the face of drought conditions as well as a downturn in the rural areas.
The saving grace has been in retaining the character of the town and attracting tourists as well as innovative business ideas.
“There is a time and place for both heritage and contemporary,’’ Brian Hooper said.
“Adaptive reuse of existing structure will be first and foremost of investigating, rather than uninformed decision to build new.
“The potential to re-use … it would be remiss of us not to guide a client down that road.’’
The exhibition will be well documented and each of the 15 select projects being exhibited has had a short film made about it.
TOP END IN VENICE
Another Australian Outback project has been taken to Venice – Wave Hill Walk-Off Pavilions.
Designed by the Bower Studio at the University of Melbourne, the Northern Territory project is a series of three pavilions that commemorates the Wave Hill Station protests of 1966.
That was when 200 Gurindji, Mudburra and Warlpiri stockmen, domestic workers, their elders and children walked off the station in protest against their treatment by station owners.
“It’s a collection of projects that show diverse forms of repair,” Louise Wright said.
“They all engage with the natural environment, community and places that they are part of.’’