michelle halford

Grand Prix & Commercial Exterior Winner: Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel

Architect: Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects

Image credit: Peter Bennetts

The hostel consists of 20 beds over five small ‘cottages’ with a common amenity building providing indoor and veranda based activity. The facility is planned to reflect the different language regions that the residents might come from, and to respond to the cultural and physical environment of the Fitzroy Valley.

The site is in Bunuba Country; on a ford over the ancient Fitzroy River. Fitzroy Crossing is the meeting place of 4 Aboriginal Language Groups- the river and hill people- the Bunuba, the planes people- the Nyigina, the eastern river people- the Goodiyandi, and the people of the Great Sandy Desert, the Walmajari.

Colour plays an important role in the lives of the people of the valley. They express their connection to country and traditional lore and culture with paintings; lively and vivid with song and dance, with their bodies painted with ochre as they have for tens of thousands of years. The facility uses colour to relate to the surrounding landscape and the dramatic seasonal changes from the wet to the dry season.

In the dry the country is burnt buff shades of muted beiges, ochres and the light greens of spinifex, paperbarks, hakeas and Eucalyptus; with a counterpoint of dry season flowers of the bright yellows of cassia and acacia and the pinks of mulla-mulla, turkey bush and kurrajong. In the wet, the riot of emerald greens, copper, purple and red reach out of the orange earth and surge towards the changing skies. Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects have used wet and dry season themes for the colours of each cottage to provide identity and wayfinding, and a full range of the seasonal colours in the west facing shading screen.

The seasonal cycles, indicated by the changing sun angles and light intensity; the daily background change from soft dawns to dramatic sunsets, and the night effect of carefully lighting the porches and building edges animate the project in a delightful manner. Finally, local artists produced paintings that became applied films to be placed on the glazed sidelights of the cottages, providing local identity to each home.

Colour palette

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