Ashlee Murphy

Deakin University

From the entrant’s submission:

Every nine days, a woman is murdered by a man she once trusted. This figure is shocking, and yet Australia’s ignorance toward domestic violence continues. As a result, victims often hide these broken aspects of their lives and present a faultless exterior. From the Broken, is a rural refuge which aims to shift this narrative. The architecture takes inspiration from ‘Kintsugi’, a Japanese art form which aggrandises the repair of a broken object through re-bonding with gold. The project expresses how something broken does not infer destruction, but healing and renewal.

Children living in our current Domestic Violence (DV) facilities don’t understand why good people are being put in cages, while perpetrators remain free. Locking people away for protection simultaneously inhibits their ability to regain control of their lives and establish relationships with others. This project returns power to survivors by balancing the private and communal. The architecture is a series of broken pieces, allowing each individual to have a secure space. These havens are connected through a weaving deck, a metaphor for the gold, creating shared open spaces. It is this encouragement for interaction and respect for vulnerability that is a new approach to DV facilities.

The design ambition was to allow occupants to feel part of a community and help one another recover from their experience. The architectural sensibility created through breaking the accommodations apart and reconnecting them is akin to establishing a neighbourhood street. Through separation, this negative space has become positive, it is where light, nature and people converge. As the accommodations open onto this deck, there is always a tangible yet safe opportunity to engage with the refuge community.