Brisbane City Council contracted Kali to conduct nine community workshops with year 7 students in three schools near Gaythorne in June 2019. The study helped the Council understand life and space in Gaythorne Village from the perspective of 12-13 year olds, a group that is often left out of city planning yet have insights and perspectives that adults, habituated to their environment, too often don’t see. Creative exercises were a fun method of exploring public space and amenity in the area and culminated with a public photography exhibition at the Gaythorne Community Festival on July 27. A report collated the findings from those workshops to articulate challenges and opportunities for growing public life around a strong neighbourhood identity.
Gandhivas Neighbourhood Identity
This project aimed to embed environmental thinking into community center curriculum for students in fifth grade living in a disadvantaged ‘slum’ area in India. Creative exercises allowed students to think critically about their surrounding built environment and culminated in an exhibition of photography work to the community center students, staff and local parents. Their displayed work identified the strengths and weaknesses of their neighbourhood and demonstrated the pride they took in their work. The presentation gave them a unique opportunity to voice their opinion when they are otherwise not provided a platform to be heard.
Photographs by Kali Marnane and Tess Martin.
Densifying Queensland Neighbourhoods
The “Paired Twin House” proposal was a winning entry in the Density and Diversity Done Well open ideas competition run by the state government of Queensland. It suggests a new housing typology to affordably increase block density incrementally from 20 to 80 dwellings in a typical Brisbane suburb.
Critically, whilst increasing the population, the proposal supports density with infrastructure that encourages safer communities, active lifestyles, public transport use, connects with neighbours and retains nature. The typical Queensland suburban street has much potential to be used for more than just car transport. Repurposing existing street zones and decreasing lane widths will reduce traffic speed and prioritise pedestrians. Cycleways, community infrastructure and pocket parks intermingled with street parking provide a rich, safe, active street condition.
Bholu 15 is a preschool located in the Ramapir No Tekro informal settlement in Ahmedabad, India.It provides a peaceful and safe sanctuary in the often stressful lives of children living in slum communities.
Two volunteer architects, myself and Niini Mendonca, worked for five months in close consultation with the community to deliver the preschool, make friends over cups of chai and play some great games of street cricket. We conducted a holistic process from initial research, site analysis and community consultation to generate a brief and understand the goals and objectives for the project; design presentations to gather feedback; tendering to local contractors; construction and finance management through to an inauguration celebration and post-occupancy review. We even helped out with manual labour on site!
The preschool is administrated by a local NGO, Manav Sadhna, whose mantra is to "reduce, reuse and recycle". We achieved this objective through reusing existing material on site; collecting waste stone to reuse in floor and wall mosaics; recycling plastic waste into a rainbow mural and reducing energy use with abundant natural light and ventilation.
The Hawthorne Deluxe Cinema is a boutique addition to the 3-screen Cineplex theatre across the road. Encompassing two restaurant tenancies (one in a re-purposed pre-1900s house), the precinct celebrates the characteristic features, place specific materials and strong community atmosphere of the site and its surrounds. The proposal privileges street life and pedestrian experience to create a lively hub that will become the heart of Hawthorne.
Using the existing theatre and pre-1900s house as anchor points, the project explores the idea of occupying spaces underneath in contrast to those on top. The project is imagined first as a ruin from which lightweight walls are built up, fold back and open out.
Artist's impressions by Kali Marnane. Completed whilst employed at The Buchan Group. Check out some photos of the project here.