Umbakumba Men’s Shed
What was the issue?
We were approached by the Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC) to review each sport and recreation facility on Groote Eylandt so that they could determine where to best invest their funding.
The site was selected partly due to its proximity to undeveloped bush land while connecting with the other cultural facilities in town. The old men wish to be able to sit on a deck and look out over country while working on their crafts.
Our investigation revealed an opportunity for the development of a Men’s Shed in Umbakumba to provide the male Elders with a place to gather and practise craft.
What did we do?
Working extensively with the Men’s Shed coordinator and several community Elders, we investigated numerous sites and workshopped suitable approaches. Privacy and security were key to the design. The result is a series of spaces shrouded by colourful steel screens that protect the sacred men’s activity from outside eyes.
Building a connection to country was also important; outdoor gathering spaces are strategically positioned to overlook the bush and open to the cooling Barra breezes.
The Men’s Shed consists of a large ‘parasol’ roof structure sheltering all program spaces. The roof form includes a feature entry point to assist in way finding and creating a welcome point to the building.
The slightly elevated work deck is a space for gathering and woodworkding. The space is oriented to maximise the cooling wet season breezes while protecting from the cooler dry breezes.
Significant consultation was undertaken with key male artists and their coordinator, to ensure the facility best met their needs.
The project was designed to respond to the unique characteristics of the Groote archipelago. The colour palette was designed to respond to the local landscapes.
What was our impact?
The new facility will service the needs of men working together to build small projects, complete workshop training and gather in a socially conducive space. The Men’s Shed will provide an environment for building skills and at the same time foster a strong sense of community.