With the closure of a nearby wood chipping mill and the decline of forestry in the area, the rural township of Triabunna in Tasmania needed to refocus and revitalise. The council commissioned Gilby + Brewin Architecture to lead their revitalisation strategy. Stage one saw Ross Brewin collaborating with Monash University and University of Tasmania architecture students, identifying the need for a more prominent and enticing town entrance. A highway bypass meant less travellers were stopping at the town and those that did found little to welcome them.
Triabunna Gatehouse is a welcoming roadside information hub sitting prominently at the entrance to the town. Providing essential amenities – shelter, seating, town orientation and bathrooms, the small but bold contemporary structure encourages travellers to exit the highway and explore the town. Designed to be more than a resource for tourists the Gatehouse features an exhibition space curated by the local community. This provides a much-needed community focus, creates a sense of place and provides an opportunity for locals and visitors to celebrate the surrounds.
Triabunna Gatehouse was one of 15 projects exhibited in the Australian Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Architecture Biennale. The work was selected by a curatorial team led by architectural firm Baracco + Wright and artist Linda Tegg for the exhibition’s theme ‘Repair’. It won the Small Project Architecture Award at the 2018 Tasmanian Architecture Awards and in an ‘Architecture Australia’ feature story Associate Professor, Richard Black, celebrated the role the building plays in ‘constructing identity and building local pride in a community’ describing it as ‘bottom-up urbanism at its best’.