Nyul Nyul Community Packing Shed


2021 Good Design Award Winner: Social Impact

The Packing Shed is a purpose-built partially prefabricated timber structure installed at Twin Lakes on the Dampier Peninsula — near Broome in Western Australia — for the harvesting and processing of Indigenous foods on Country.

This project was a collaboration between The Orana Foundation, SJB and Bruno Dann a Nyul Nyul Elder of the Winawari people, Traditional Owner, and Founder of the Twin Lakes Cultural Park.

Bruno Dann’s partner, Marion Louise Manson, along with The Orana Foundation Founder and Board Director, Jock Zonfrillo, and SJB Director, Adam Haddow, share their insights into the design process and ongoing impact of this project.

The Orana Foundation Founder and Board Director, Jock Zonfrillo, with Traditional Custodian, Bruno Dann, on Country.

Insights from Marion Louise Manson

“For Bruno Dann The Community Packing Shed enables him to stay on Nyul Nyul country so he can fulfil his obligations to his elders by passing on knowledge…”

“For all of us who assisted, it is a culmination of lots of experiences on country with Bruno and the dedication by everyone… Bruno shared his food culture and wisdom with us, taught us how his people lived off the land and sea landscapes.”

“Jock Zonfrillo was so moved by the complex food culture of the Nyul Nyul way of life it helped him on his pathway with Native Foods and this has greatly benefited us and other aboriginal enterprises… but we never expected it would go this far! Jock ended up doing more than we ever would have imagined!”

“’The Harvest Shed’ was able to be brought into reality, in the remote Kimberley, on aboriginal lands and for anyone who has experienced this country, it is a huge feat logistically. The roads are terrible alone but this was very expertly carried out by the team from SJB.”

“[Adam Haddow’s] shed design has amazed all who have the privilege to see it and enjoy it! The Community Packing Shed blends perfectly into the landscape and faces the sunrise and the sunset beautifully. It captures all the natural airflow from the Indian Ocean, nature’s air-conditioner as Bruno calls it and is cooler by far than any other site at Twin Lakes.”

“The bush food Industry was just being pioneered when we met Adam and Jock. It was a way forward for Twin Lakes to be independent and enter into business. Adam really did his research, staying on country spending time with Bruno out at Twin Lakes Cultural Park and then he set about designing The Community Packing Shed. We really had no idea how lucky we were to have Adam Haddow on board and SJB back then. They are so worthy of this Good Design Australia Award.”

The Orana Foundation Founder and Board Director, Jock Zonfrillo, with Traditional Custodian, Bruno Dann, on Country.

Insights from Jock Zonfrillo

“The design process began with the requirements and wishes of Bruno & the Nyul Nyul people. Once Adam, Bruno and I had a chance to stand on country and really feel the earth, feel the importance of not just being on country but being responsible for adding a structure to it, it completely changed our collective thinking around design and how important it was to get this right.”

“Bear in mind this packing shed is miles away from anywhere, it needed to be cyclone proof, weather proof and termite proof. I think at that point Adam and I looked at each other and I just said ‘mate… I’m just a chef so I’m not gonna be able to answer these problems but it’s critical that we think them all through during the design phase’. Adam and the team at SJB immediately started workshopping Japanese joinery to eliminate as much metal as possible from the core of the structure. There are footings poured into the earth which can be removed and repaired, however, other than that the impact to Country is zero.”

“Everything was considered in the process right down to how locals rather sit on the earth while they sort the ingredients around the edge of the shed, shaded by the side doors that swing up. The Zero Mass system provided enough water to keep everyone hydrated with pure clean drinking water and the satellite keeps the project online not just to connect with buyers but now for the first time Bruno can track exactly where his best harvests are coming from, and which areas are in their landcare cycle.”

“The look and feel of the structure was very much born from Adam sitting on country and understanding what Bruno was visualising. It was an incredible experience to be a part of and I couldn’t have imagined a better team of people to bring it to life. If you don’t understand country, if you haven’t sat with elders and Traditional Owner’s on country, listened to the stories of the land, engaged with it, respect it, you simply cannot do a project like this justice.”

“Over two years on and the packing shed… is just as Bruno wished it to be. It’s a place where people come together, not just Nyul Nyul but the neighbouring communities too.”

Architect Adam Haddow with Traditional Custodian, Bruno Dann, on Country during the on-site assembly of the packing shed.

Insights from Adam Haddow

“To support the future growth of their native harvest business, we (SJB) collaborated with the Traditional Elders of the Nyul Nyul Community on the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome to design a multi-purpose community packing shed that is entirely pre-fabricated and can be assembled on site within 7 working days.”

“Over ten years we have worked with and learnt from Elder Bruno Dann and his partner Marion about Country, the importance of place and what type of facility the community wanted. This discussion occurred over many trips to Country, learning a little more each trip ensuring that the design response would be respectful and reflective of the community’s ambitions.”

“By staying on Country with the traditional owners, the project team were able to develop an understanding of the environmental conditions the packing shed would need to withstand – from monsoonal wet seasons and cyclonic winds to heat and hungry termites. As the design developed, this engagement unearthed an important aspiration for the materiality: to protest the disruptive impact of the mining industry by keeping the use of any metals to a minimum, resulting in timber dowel connections for beams, columns and sheets.”

“A predominantly timber structure is achieved using native hardwood dowels in combination with termite resistant treated Laminated Veneer Lumber and Plywood. Where possible the innovative CNC machined elements are preassembled for streamlined construction. Responding to the site’s ever shifting environmental conditions, the shed is designed to leave no trace when disassembled.”

Constructing the packing shed installed at Twin Lakes, Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia.

Follow the link more information on Nyul Nyul Community Packing Shed.

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