Architecture - Honours
The design for the Hall of Democracy is to remove the barrier and to bridge the gap that separates our governing bodies from our general public and to rather, create an integrated space where the public has a voice. It is to be designed as an inclusive space where there is direct involvement of the community who will now have the ability to learn, to be kept up-to-date, to interact with and be involved in the political processes. In turn, this more direct involvement of the community aims to balance the divide between democracy and happiness.
Brisbane’s new “Hall of Democracy” is grounded in its connection to the existing contextual conditions. From the upcoming ‘Queen’s Wharf & Casino Development’ to the existing ‘Mansions’ heritage building; the ‘Queensland Club’ to ‘QUT’ and the ‘QLD Parliament House’, this new Government building blends seamlessly into its surrounds while still also stands out as an eye-catching and engaging inner-city public building.
A key motif that is woven through the design of the “Hall of Democracy” is that of ‘balancing the divide between democracy and happiness.’ It is believed that a well-functioning democracy does not only contribute to ensuring happiness among citizens, it also aids in bridging the gap between classes, religions and ethnicities. Therefore, it can be argued that happiness may in fact – if not already – be a prerequisite for a successful democracy.
In the “Hall of Democracy,” happiness is achieved by establishing a strong connection between the building and its natural environment. The ground floor of the building is very open, which allows for direct lines of connection through, to and within the building. By blurring the line that separates the internal and external spaces, the building opens itself up for community interaction and engagement. Furthermore, the design aims to endorse the notion of “the serendipity of conversation” – various spaces within the building are designed purposefully for ‘chance encounters’, casual conversation and opportunities to establish strong and meaningful connections among people. With this key design element in mind, the Hall aims to simultaneously boost and sustain the mental and emotional well-being of the general public while they exercise their voice and involvement within the community.
The building is designed thoughtfully – to both seemingly ‘stand out’ and to ‘blend in’ with surrounds. Most notably, the “Hall of Democracy” establishes itself as a seminal building, suited to its context given its combination of Government, academic and heritage precincts. However, this is juxtaposed by its unique choice of material being Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). Essentially, happiness cannot only be achieved through acknowledgment of the user – it can also be achieved by employing sustainable methods of design and construction.
The addition of access to the local environment and vegetation within the building design, proposes a gentle link back to ‘establishing social happiness’ as the greenery paired with the CLT provides aesthetic appeal and mentally restorative benefits.
The “Hall of Democracy” aims to establish a sense of everlasting illumination that is achieved through the reinvention of the Luxfer prism panels. Below is a series of external model images which capture the luminous qualities of the building.
It is the reinvention of the Luxfer prism panels that allows for the illumination within and around the building to exist. The centrepiece within the building is the ‘Dome of Democracy’ – a concave prism canopy that floats and undulates above the Hall’s collaborative spaces. The reflective qualities of the panels are subtly symbolic of ‘shining a light on new thoughts and ideas’.
Below is a series of technical drawings that detail the construction and implementation of the Illuminating Reflective Prism Panels.
Below is a curated selection of technical drawings and model images which aims to visually detail and describe the “Hall of Democracy” and to also capture certain qualities of the design at a more intimate and human scale.
Phoebe Duckworth is passionate about creating habitable spaces that evoke feeling and that respond uniquely to the existing contextual conditions. In many of her projects, she strives to implement and endorse both environmentally sustainable design and physically sustainable design. By establishing a strong, biophilic connection between the building and the natural environment, Phoebe continuously aims to blur the line between indoor and outdoor; interior and exterior; private and public. She is of the strong belief that architecture exists beyond the building; that it is also emanates from the atmosphere of its surroundings.