Burwood Brickworks mural

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  • 2020

  • Architectural
    Urban

Designed By:

  • Balarinji
  • Mandy Nicholson

Commissioned By:

Frasers Property Australia

Designed In:

Australia

The stunning ceiling mural and outer-facade artwork featured in the new Burwood Brickworks in Burwood East, Victoria, is a unique yet powerful example of successfully embedding and celebrating Aboriginal culture into the urban context that is deeply connected to Place.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • In order for Burwood Brickworks to meet the rigorous criteria of the Living Building Challenge Ⓡ (LBCⓇ), developers, Frasers Property Australia, set out to ensure the building contributed to the local community’s sense of place while also delighting and inspiring occupants. The brief was to design public art for the Middleborough Road facade, as either glazing or precast, that incorporated elements which celebrated local culture, spirit and place. The artwork also needed to meet LBCⓇ requirements.

  • Balarinji presented a design concept based on artwork from local Wurundjeri, Dja Dja wurrung and Ngurai illum wurrung artist, Mandy Nicholson, reflecting the six elements of Wurundjeri culture, showcasing the different layers of Country and how they are connected to individuals spiritually. The black and white line work includes references to Mount Dandenong, the Great Dividing Range, Yarra Valley flatlands and Port Phillip Bay. In the midst of the project, Frasers Property Australia, saw how special and impactful the artwork was and expanded the brief for it to also feature on the ceiling of the centre.

  • Beyond being visually impactful, the design project embedded local Aboriginal culture into the community. It gave a voice to a segment of society that is rarely heard from in a positive and inclusive way and celebrated local stories, people, environment and history. As the artwork is visible to thousands of people everyday, it has helped to educate the local community about its Aboriginal culture, breakdown racial bias and celebrate a truly Australian identity that embraces a rich and ancient Indigenous heritage.

  • Australia’s Aboriginal narrative has never been seen as important in a social, environmental or economic sense. As such this narrative is largely invisible in our public spaces, architecture and built environment. But projects like Burwood Brickworks are creating a shift and helping others to see the value of including culture in the social, environmental and economic triple bottom line. Being exposed to thousands of people everyday, the Aboriginal artwork in Burwood Brickworks is helping to educate the general public about local Aboriginal culture, stories and art. The wider implications for this are: - The breakdown of racial bias towards Aboriginal culture and people among broader society. - The opportunity for local people to learn about and experience Aboriginal culture and stories specific to their community in everyday situations through public art. - The celebration of a truly Australian identity that embraces its rich 60,000+ year old Indigenous heritage.