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Arguably the indigenous capital of Australia, there is an intensity to this place that makes you sit up and take notice. Black and white cultural tensions resolve themselves on the street in front of you. Pockets of innovative thinking are manifest in front lawns, industrial estate cafés and failed storm water retention schemes. All of these hint at the complex and talented matrix that underlies Alice’s architecture. An edgy place with equally edgy architecture.
How edges are ‘treated’ shows how people and place (can) interact.
When feelings of fear, issues of security (perceived or real) and safety is exercised into the fully or part definition of of spaces, what does this look like?
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Alice Springs is on the edge of Australia's cultural divide...so is it's architecture. Read the zine by CLICKING ON THE IMAGE
• Traditional owners = Arrernte people
• MacDonnell ranges biogeographic region
• Mean annual temps; H - 28.8 L - 13.2
• Mean annual rainfall; 281mm
• Population 24,753
• Elevation 580 m
• The reason for the name “Alice Springs” was not a spring, but a stagnant pond in the todd river that was misnamed in honour of a lady name alice (who has never visited)
• Canberra & alice both have the same % of the population who are tertiary educated...crazy!
Possibly the most obscure souvenir from our trip. This was given to us by Stephi Rainow, a director of Healthabitat and Public & Environmental Health Officer at Nganampa Health Council in Alice Springs who for the past 30 years has been working to reduce the health problems associated with peoples living environments. These songs are about raising this aweness. They include such hits as “The Shower Block Song”. Click the IMAGE to check it out.
We became obsessed with the fences and edges of Alice Springs. You can read the cultural tensions in the city through peoples front fences, the edge of interaction. Here for example is a pretty definite fence that says, don’t cross me, the line is here. Firm but not overwhelmingly aggressive.
At 8 Hele Cres you will find a jumble of creative shops, an art gallery and a pop-up coffee shop. It looks like a sore thumb in the industrial estate. Owned by a renowned photographer and artist Mike Gilliam, he is passionate about Alice and its potential for the future. The “Coffee Horse” serves up light lunches and tasty treats that are devoured by the east side dwelling “greeny” workers from the CLC who are more than happy to escape the confines of the office and sit opposite a tyre repair shop for their mid-morning latte. The Greenery out the front is Mike’s initiative to soften the street edge and reduce water runoff from hard surfaces.
Mike’s true passion lies in places that attempt to make landscapes and ecologies healthier than when he found it. His rear property line instead of being built has been opened and is encouraging the natural water shed down the sacred mountain to take its natural course. A large ditch at the back of the site, retains this run off (rather than sending it to the street) and absorbs it into the site. It’s about allowing the water to move slowly. Driveways slope to soakage and trees provide shade for people and animals.
This park became the informal waiting room for the old Courts. Shade from the hot sun and clear views to the door.
A fence that says, “hey, take a seat, relax, here is the edge but I trust you to respect the boundaries”
A fence by a well known architect. Privacy and security with elements that soften the bulk and provide eyes-on-the-street, critical for a safe street. This design has been copied many times over in the east end.
It speaks for itself
Whilst lots of people rely on the fence to delineate their front yard these radical bastards have made their front yard their living room. A fence that says, “hey welcome home!”
We were lucky enough to have a cup of tea in their living room, with a view like that why wouldn’t you live out on it. A circle of astro-turf provides the perfect all purpose surface for all weather, kids and hanging out.
Since we were so into edges we held our exhibition in the corridor of a shopping centre. An edge of public and private space, commercial and personal, social and day-to-day. We jumped in with a crew form the University of Newcastle who were also presenting their work that day.
Loaded up and ready to go. Thanks to the legend Mez for being our Alice guide the whole week.
We barely saw a cyclist our whole trip and low and behold just out of Alice 8 cyclists converse at the same time!!! We were by far the least prepared.