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Antarctic Connections

Part 2 Project 2012
Gabrielle Phillips
University of Tasmania Tasmania Australia
This project is a response to the widespread problem of the segregation of Antarctic research institutions and port activity from the general public, which has created barriers in the dissemination of information regarding timely issues such as marine pollution and rising sea levels. Located at the wharfs end in Hobart, Tasmania, the project is a transition point, acting as the mediator between community engagement and Antarctica and between land and sea.

Cementing Hobart’s affirmation as the Antarctic gateway (both physically and metaphorically), the architecture creates porosity between the research institutions and the community to encourage a wider engagement with the unique environment of the Antarctic.

The project acts as a facilitator:
- Servicing activities that occur in Antarctica
- Creating opportunities for dialogue between research organisations
- Disseminating information and engaging the broader community

The project interweaves conflicting programs of port activity with social/cultural interactions that activate the waters edge; primarily the celebration of Antarctic voyages that historically were part of the underpinning of community within Hobart. As the Antarctic voyages are seasonal, the preparation, departure and arrival will be celebrated in the public realm.

The pier extension continues the pattern of incremental growth and recession of the wharf morphology. The public activity is elevated to a raised terrain, allowing the port operations to visibly occur underneath as the exhibition for the loading/unloading cycle of operation. The honesty of structure reflects the desire to expose the workings of the building and the port.

The architectural response to context and spatial experience reflects the scales of program within the brief – the unique relationship Hobart has to the scale of the Aurora Australis icebreaker (monumental) and the scale of the kayak (intimate). The exhibition space frames the bow of the icebreaker, referencing its scale and amplifying its position (or absence) in the broader Hobart landscape.

As opposed to a singular interpretation of research, the combination of visibility and celebration across all aspects of the project provides users with the opportunity to develop their own narratives, allowing a sense of belonging and imagination in the otherworldliness of the subject matter.

Gabrielle Phillips


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