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    GASP at Elwick Bay by Room 11 Architects

    Nathan Johnson

    Situated on the Derwent estuary system at Elwick Bay, Tasmania, the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (GASP) extends three kilometres from Wilkinson’s point in the south to MONA museum in the north, linking these landmarks with colourful boardwalks, isolated facilities and sparse architecture constructs.

    Room 11 architects drafted a detailed plan for GASP back in 2010 as part of a limited design competition held by the Tasmanian State Government. As the winners, Room 11 have since delivered GASP in two stages; Stage One was completed in 2011, and GASP Stage -Two in 2013. A third stage now awaits completion.

    GASP was Room 11’s (self-proclaimed) first foray into public architecture, and the architects say their intention was to reconnect that public with the surrounding landscape through an integrated approach.

    “Colour and architecture have been used as a vehicle for re-evaluation and re-appreciation of place,” they said.

    “We hope this reading will promote a re-evaluation of the importance of urban landscapes that fall outside of the wild and well lauded Tasmanian landscapes that are more commonly attributed value.”

    A new walking and cycling destination littered with shelters, picnic facilities and children playgrounds was the rudimentary brief and Room 11 first delivered this with a colourfully calibrated public walkway, a large barbecue pavilion (the ‘Grove Pavilion’) and a small entry pavilion (the ‘Little John Rivulet Pavilion’).

    The GASP Stage Two was a winner at the 2012 Dulux Colour Awards, the walkways (above) are decorated with 44 different Dulux colours.

    The partially enclosed Grove pavilion (below) is the largest of these structures and comprises concrete blade walls clad in ironbark battens. Its large pre-tensioned roof extends over these vertical elements while the pavilion’s coloured glass window frames the Tasmanian landscape and overlooks the rest of the firm’s 2011 Tasmanian Urban Design Award winning project.

    Stage -Two continued the firm’s predilection with the site’s landscape and the result is a massive 12 metre cantilevered concrete pavilion adjacent to a seventeen metre clear span that geometrically frames the surrounding landscape.

    Within that seventeen metre clear span, and continuing the colour versus raw material theme of GASP, is two additional uses of coloured glass.

    This time it’s seven vibrant red glass partitions that frame the view over Elwick Bay and a coloured sky roof that shines green over onlookers who choose to sit on the pavilion’s only seat.

    The project re-uses and interprets the disused industrial concrete apron at Wilkinson’s Point and the firm assures that the engineering components and details have been designed to be robust and allow for the greatest longevity possible.

    Stage Two also consists of approximately 800m of new paths and landscaping including a constructed wetland and toilet facilities.

    Continuing on from its success in 2011, Room 11 were again recent winners at the 2014 Tasmanian Architecture Awards; this time GASP Stage -Two took out the Urban Design Award.

    Stage-Three will be next and consist of a Social Enterprise Hub at Montrose Bay.  It will include a cafĂ© and catering facility, workshop and studio space which offer opportunities for training and mentoring, as well as environmental and horticultural programs.

     Photography Ben Hosking.

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