Matthew Blake Watson

Deakin University

This project positions itself as an architectural intervention in revitalising public space in regional Australia. As a curation of structures that creates a journey from the urban interface to the natural formations beyond, it is a form of public architecture that exhibits regional culture, provides a connection to land, and promotes regional growth.

Kanawinka is an architectural proposition that aims to capture the emotional qualities of the region, promoting diversity and social cohesion, while introducing new forms of ecology and contributing to a sense of place.

With a growing populace and expanding urban sprawl, redistributing the population to regional areas is an appropriate response, and revitalising respective communities assists with this ideology. After completing a research thesis, key areas relevant to revitalisation were identified and an architectural framework was created.

The project takes place in Mount Gambier, a regional town in South Australia. Mount Gambier is primed for growth, providing all essential urban amenities of a central hub. However, it still has had a rather stagnant growth rate, well below the national average.

The proposal aims to establish a form of public architecture that provides a connection to the land, celebrating regional Australia, and promoting regional growth. This is achieved by bringing together the arts, food, and cultural heritage of Southern Australiana into a central destination, promoting community engagement and creating a sense of place.