It’s midday, Tuesday 8th September in balmy Darwin, I’m at CDU ready to present the
ACIKE BUILDINGS to EmAGN and SONA
Acknowledging the Traditional Owners and paying respect to the Elders, thank you to AIA for the opportunity to share a dream that came true. Apologies from David King-Jones and expanded on his experience and the history of DKJ and some the awards we have won. Praising CDU for championing sustainable building practises and being part of the development of the NT through their innovative approach to education, meeting the needs of the local community and dedication to work collaboratively in engaged research through relationships based on respect and trust.
The NT is vast and geographically diverse with an abundance of natural resources and the need to create sustainable livelihoods, knowledge systems, unity, and economic identity lead to the creation of this purpose-built facility. The CDU masterplan considers the entire campus with an open-air corridor from the Arafura sea in the North through the escarpment reminiscent of Arnhem Land, to this hub in the South. ACIKE was designed in close consultation with the user community to be a place specifically for indigenous students in an environment that is sensitive to their cultural needs, a relaxed, familiar landscape setting, bringing a sense of comfort, harmony and respite, a home away from home. Places for meeting, dancing and ceremony with woven shade structures carefully considering the use of colour and materials. Viewing of special events from surrounding covered areas. Carefully thought-out design of each element including the delicate reeded balustrade surrounding the water. The CDU entry plaza on the South-West corner bringing civic interest, was designed to represent a birdcage, but the brutal corten structure reminds me of the rusted old car bodies abandoned along the sandy roadways. Entry under the huge narrow, high level roof gutter reminiscent of the Alice springs gorges also represents a dry creek bed, then overflows with a gushing waterfall in the wet.
Irwinconslt won the Climate Council of Australia Urban Sustainable award for this project. DKJ received a commendation in the Rev. John Flynn award for Public Architecture in 2013. ACIKE achieved a full 4 Star Green project for its impressive environmental & ecologically sustainable credentials, eco-friendly approach to air conditioning, lighting and water recycling, with particular focus on the performance of the buildings fabric, sun shading, sustainability of materials, indoor environment quality and water, its smart design and latest technology.