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Karungkarni Arts and Culture Centre Redevelopment Stage 2

Version 2 2024-06-03, 22:43
Version 1 2024-05-28, 05:33
posted on 2024-06-03, 22:43 authored by DAVID O'BRIENDAVID O'BRIEN, George Stavrias, Penny Smith, Gina DahlGina Dahl, JAMES NEILJAMES NEIL
The artist community working at the Karungkarni Arts and Culture Centre are dedicated to preserving and celebrating the local culture through arts, language and story telling. Improved facilities are required to support and enhance their programs. In 2018 and again in 2023 the Karungkarni Arts and Culture Centre invited Bower Studio to continue to support their vibrant arts program and extend and improve the facility. The directors are aware of the importance of keeping culture strong with a facility that encourages the connections between arts, language and country. Following on from the 2018 Bower Studio project that doubled the space available to artists at the centre the Bower Studio team was asked to return to complete further improvements in a staged program across 2023 and 2024. Consultation began in 2021 with the primary aims to expand the space available for painters, improve the capacity of the centre to moderate temperature and dust, and improve the capacity to store and exhibit artworks for sale. Prioritising the visual link to the Karungkarni hills was important as the existing centre had poor visual connections to the hills despite the arts centre being named for these cultural landmarks. Maintaining the architectural forms and tectonics of the previous upgrade remained important to the artists. The immediate design and consultation periods led to a period of materials procurement and prefabrication of key structural components. This 'kit of parts' was loaded into a shipping container in Melbourne and transported to Kalkaringi by train and truck arriving one week before the Bower construction team arrived. Over 11 days the team assembled and clad the structure – adding 50m2 of additional floor area and opening the east side of the building to the Karungkarni hills.


Karungkarni Arts and Culture;Aboriginal Benefits Account;


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  • Yes

NTRO Output Type

  • Original Creative Work

NTRO Output Category

  • Original Creative Work : Design / architectural Work


Kalkaringi, Australia


Karungkarni Arts and Culture Centre

NTRO Publisher

Bower Studio


Designing and building

Research Statement

The design of Indigenous art centres is complicated by cultural needs and aspirations,, visitors expectations, and the physicality of the structure and site. This project consults with clients and employs a design/build 'action research' process providing 'hard' outcomes to address community needs. An 'action research' model is used to co-design and co-build a culturally appropriate space for artists tailored to their aspirations. The output - the redevelopment of the arts centre facility, is unique in its aims and architecture to reflect the specific cultural needs of the Indigenous clients. The community of artists using this space have ambitions to develop a bespoke heritage centre to celebrate Gurindji culture and the significant role they played in the Australian Land Rights movement. This project is a significant step in the ongoing collaboration between the Karungkarni collective and the Bower Studio team that was established in 2014 and has continued, via invitation, across projects in 2016 and between 2018-2023 and documented in the media.

Size or Duration of Work

Design renovations and building works on an arts centre building 12x12m


David O'Brien, University of Melbourne

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    Non-Traditional Research Outputs (NTROs)



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