Bana Yirriji is situated on the remote Bloomfield River at Wujal Wujal in Far North Queensland. The place has great natural beauty. The client, Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council (WWASC) commissioned the design of an art gallery, workshop and café with a trade training kitchen desiring productive, creative and inspiring spaces. The aim was to attract tourists, sell art and hospitality services as well as host functions for the community. The spatial design of the building was evolved in conjunction with the WWASC representatives.
Gab Titui is the keeping place for Torres Strait cultural artefacts, some of which were returned from the British Museum. The tropical humid climate immediately posed a threat to the precious artefacts which had been kept in a controlled environment for many decades. Accordingly, the building had to contain a climatically stable, sealed room as well as gallery and retail spaces.
Cairns is a major transit port for cruise liners travelling to Far North Queensland, the Pacific and Polynesian islands. Since the 1990s, passengers had been processed in the adjacent Shed 2 with minimal infrastructure or amenities in place, resulting in a rather rudimentary experience.
This project was initiated in 1984 and completed in 1985. It was not originally conceived as an ecological or sustainable dwelling. However, the open design, the use of readily available materials on the property, and the topographical location resulted in the construction lending itself to be upgraded to an efficient sustainable and comfortable house design.
The owners held a long term desire to build their own home and were at a stage of life where they had the skills, resources and the capacity to take time off work and funds to do the construction without raising a mortgage. The basic objective was to build the home in an affordable manner, using recycled materials whenever possible and using methods with the least effect on surrounding vegetation and soil.