A renewed public precinct with a strong cultural heart
‘The Block’ is a 12,000sqm precinct in Sydney’s Redfern. We were commissioned to design the public precinct for a new mixed-use residential and commercial development. Our brief was to create a design that acknowledged the area’s cultural and social heritage and reflected new narratives about contemporary Aboriginal experiences.
This project is a new model for self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Pemulwuy project has been named after the heroic Aboriginal warrior who was one of the earliest Aboriginal men to lead in the resistance of British invasion of Sydney. The design draws on Aboriginal Symbolism through people, culture and land and sky which has evolved harmoniously with the aspirations of the Aboriginal Housing Company and the unique sense of place they want to achieve through Pemulwuy.
The inclusion of public art and symbolic representation of Aboriginal history and culture at Scott Carver branded Pemulwuy in Sydney’s Redfern, in the location currently referred to as “The Block,” creates a sense of meaning and ‘spirit of place.’ As Pemulwuy will be the heart of Redfern exhibiting connections to land and sky, people and culture, public art in the precinct will evolve in collaboration with the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) and local artists to ensure a strong sense of place runs through the veins of the precinct. Creating this identity and a place of community is crucial to this project.
Aboriginal Housing Company
Professor Michael Tawa (University of Sydney)
Danny Eastwood (artist)
The acknowledgement of the social and cultural heritage of “The Block” and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, was a crucial element while creating a new robust urban environment with a cultural heart – the Meeting Place.
The three buildings across the site offer a mix of functional uses, that together define the urban space, circulation patterns and environmental amenity. Active street interfaces are encouraged including residential, commercial, gallery, gymnasium and retail uses.
The inclusion of public art opportunities and symbolic representation of aboriginal history and culture provide a deep sense of meaning and ‘spirit of place’.
What end users say
What end users say
Lani Tuitavake, Aboriginal Housing Company, “the rebranding of public space ‘The Block’ to Pemulwuy was the first time someone translated what was happening and transformed it into a logo and art work strategy. The symbol needed to speak to the people, and speak for the people; for all Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.”