Local Architects win Design Excellence Award

Local Architects win Design Excellence Award for new entrance to Giidany Miirlarl – Muttonbird Island

Coffs Harbour’s other tourist icon has received yet another award, the latest being for architectural design excellence.

The Education Space, at Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve in Coffs Harbour, attracts over 150,000 visitors every year and has been recognised at the Australian Timber Design Awards.

Christian Fisher of Fisher Design + Architecture, and Neil Mackenzie of Mackenzie Pronk Architects jointly accepted the award for architectural design excellence in the Outdoor Timber – Stand Alone Structures category, at the awards dinner in Melbourne on Tuesday, October 18.

Mr Fisher said the judges were impressed by the structures’ organic form and robust character in the highly exposed marine location.

“Timber was chosen for its natural textural qualities, and its ability to be worked and inscribed with the artwork by Grafton artist Shane Phillips”, Christian said.

Commissioned by the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Arts Mid North Coast, Coffs Harbour City Council, Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Coffs Harbour Elders Group and the Marine Park Authority, the project was made possible through the Federal Governments’ Job Fund Program.

Gumbayngirr Elder and NPWS Discovery guide Mark Flanders said the outdoor education space was completed and opened to the public in March 2011.

“The new Education Space encourages an understanding of the cultural and environmental history of the site, and provides a place for social interaction, story telling, learning and rest”, Mark said.

“The project involved the construction of the Education Space as well as the training of Aboriginal Discovery Rangers to deliver the tours conducted on the Island to the public and to schools”, he said.

“The overall project has already received a Regional Indigenous Tourism Award.

“These awards are recognition of the outcome possible when an innovative team work together including an enlightened client, artists and architects.”

The Coffs Coast Aboriginal Discovery Program including the education space, at Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve was also winner in the recent Regional Tourism Awards, and as a result is also a finalist in the NSW State Tourism Awards due to be announced in November.

Bellingen Courier Sun | 26th October 2011