Makers’ Workshop represents a major investment in a post-industrial future by the town of Burnie, on Tasmania’s north-west coast. Until recently, the town has been known primarily for its large scale industries, such as the massive waterfront pulp and paper mill, and busy port.
A local initiative born from the town’s paper heritage, Creative Paper, has built a reputation for high quality, handmade paper products. In addition, the town has a rich sense of its heritage as a rural centre.\
TERROIR transformed the brief for a new visitor and cultural facility, combining the industry and museum components into something even more community oriented, with the idea of providing a ‘living room’ for the town.
A five-spoke diagram is centered on an orientation hub that has free access for the public and features items from the museum’s collection. Each of the five spokes (or arms) houses a different function – back of house, paper-making workshop, multipurpose exhibition/theatre, café and a combined retail/gallery space – and within some are individual ‘pods’ for local ‘makers’ with whom the public can interact.
Each spoke terminates with a large picture window that captures portions of the panoramic view – identifying different aspects of Burnie: port, town, hinterland, Bass Strait and adjacent heritage buildings.
Contextually, the building is understood as part of the collection of industrial objects along the coast. Rather than adopt a sentimental pseudo-industrial aesthetic, however, these objects have been re-imagined as giant ‘toys’ with which this project joins.