Greenshoot Consulting x Greenaway Architects led the Traditional Owner engagement and Indigenous design for the Queen & Collins redevelopment. We embedded Traditional Owner Groups’ aspirations into the design process to create a benchmark in culturally responsive design. The resulting design created a ceremonial fire dish with an embedded wayfinding device.
Image: Uncle Colin Hunter, Smoking Ceremony, Queen & Collins
Image: Ceremonial Fire Dish #1
Image: Ceremonial Fire Dish #2
Image: Ceremonial Fire Dish Details
Image: Ceremonial Fire Dish Render
Image: Ceremonial Fire Dish #3
Image: Ceremonial Fire Dish Making Detail #1
Image: Ceremonial Fire Dish Making Detail #2
The GPT Group is deeply committed to working with First Peoples communities and acknowledging the First People’s history prior to European contact across the range of assets it owns and manages. The Queens & Collins building was developed and delivered during a time of Treaty discussions, within a contemporary context of ‘place’ centred design, the GPT Group was seeking to ground the project in a culturally relevant narrative and appropriately incorporate First Peoples feedback. The design challenge was turning insights into a codesigned outcome, consistent with the aspirations of the three Traditional Owner groups we engaged and the project team.
Our design solution amplified Traditional Owner aspirations from its inception and in design execution, adhering to the principles of the International Indigenous Design Charter. Applying the insights, aspirations and narratives of the Elders representing the sites Traditional Owners, we designed a cast bronze ceremonial fire dish with etched contours of the region on the surface of the dish and wayfinding bronze markers with text that locates and points towards eight Indigenous sites of significance in the CBD, grounding place in a culturally relevant narrative. This serves to further acknowledge that the site sits firmly on Aboriginal Land.
The ceremonial fire dish is an examplar of culturally responsive design, both in the process of engagement and design translation. It increases cultural awareness and recognition of cultural heritage in the city’s built and natural environment; demonstrates to Indigenous peoples that they and their culture are valued and respected; promotes belonging to place and increases culturally safety; provides a culturally appropriate place for gathering and ceremony; reveals to non-indigenous people layers of history and memory of Indigenous peoples; amplifies Indigenous knowledge and culture ; supports self-determination by providing social procurement and enterprise development opportunities that extend beyond design and construction.
Our approach was anchored in our Indigenous Design Consultation Pillars designed and validated by a range of First Nations stakeholders. This framework maximises the opportunity to engage deeply with Traditional Owners to reveal the layers of history and place. This is explored through a consultation process through four prisms: 1) the role of art and artefact in design and the design professions' responsibility to create new artefacts in the built and natural environment that act as urban markers, that give visibility to and celebrate the world's oldest continuous living culture. 2) Connection to Country in the context of a contemporary architectural response. 3) Living History and Memory and the responsibility of design professionals to support truth telling by creating the space in the design process to respectfully engage in the consequences of colonisation, and 4) Connection to People as a mechansim whereby design can reflect an act of reconciliation. To meaningfully engage and incorporate Traditional Owners aspirations and narratives into the design required a commitment to deep listening, true collaboration and co-creation, promotion of self-determination and providing procurement opportunities. Importantly each and every stage of this process were Indigenous led, including design translation