University of Tasmania and Menzies Research Centre Co-location Project

This striking new building in the heart of Hobart is built on ancient foundations. Archaeologists uncovered multiple layers of artefacts from previous eras of European settlement, and these were carefully conserved and incorporated into an interpretive display in the foyer of the new building. Rather than lining up row upon row of dusty objects, the artefacts were gathered into imaginative groupings with titles such as Gambling, Babes, Nobility and Ghosts, where their presence breathes life into earlier times.

The design of the ground floor also incorporated a number of windows into the past: glass-covered apertures in the floor offering a view of ancient foundations for previous buildings on the site. An unusual design challenge involved the creation of a pattern to be fritted onto the glass – enough coverage to avoid creating a slipping hazard, but enough free space to allow a view through the glass.

We were in a good position to undertake this work, not just because of my experience with graphic design for interpretation. I had been involved with the co-location project from its earliest days, designing a stakeholder newsletter to disseminate information on the progress of the project.

Graphic design: Julie Hawkins
Interpretation/writing: Peter Tonkin
Three-dimensional design: Tim Williams, Red Arrow