Queensland | Regional
Through a rigorous community consultation process and design workshops, the design team developed a strategy to create a town square that will help Newman to revitalise and grow into a recognised economic and social hub.
The community reference group for the project envisaged the town square as a catalyst to move the town away from its existing mining identity. The aim was to create an enduring and diverse identity that recognised the cultural values of the community, along with the Pilbara lifestyle many community members enjoy. The site is co-located with the town shopping centre, a school, pool and other community facilities, making it a central destination for Newman community. The site was the final stage in early works to Newman Town Centre which included installation of shaded walkways to encourage walkability through the town and to the central square.
The requirement for a place-based design and implementation approach has been embedded in the planning and design objectives. For example, local artists were commissioned to bring inspiration to the project, and the park has been used to recognise local Aboriginal culture, both of which have reignited a sense of place and town pride.
The 2,600 square metre town square incorporates a shaded walkway and seating spine, and the shelter features interpretative artwork designed by the traditional owners, Nyiyaparli, and custodians of Jigalong, Martu. Other artworks on the site include the sculptural boulders and cloud rock. These tell the story of the Cloud Rock and provide tactile/interactive elements through water and lighting.
A large media screen and a stage have audio visual capabilities to support community performances and events. The park space is supported with a built form, containing a small business incubator, and a full commercial kitchen that caters for the different cooking styles of the local population. The commercial kitchen was a request that was strongly presented by the community during consultation, to provide community led, healthy and culturally relevant food options for events. To specifically address this requirement, the kitchen includes a large grill that can be taken outdoors, supporting healthy food environments. The building also includes a mezzanine function space that is utilised for community events. The space is regularly used for sporting and community events and has provided a welcoming green public open space on what was previously an uninviting carpark.
The State Government’s Pilbara Cities initiative has funded the $40 Million revitalisation project.