project: Machen’s Reserve
location: Kings Meadow, Tasmania
description: Machens’ Brickfields were the largest and longest operating brick manufacturing company in Tasmania. City of Launceston asked for a design that reimagined the story of Machens Bricks in what is a kilometre wide ‘void’ where the clay was excavated and is now a park.
The key design rationale was to make tactile sculptural experiences along the main walkway through Machens Reserve:
– where small individual bricks usually form anonymous units in large structures we chose to ‘super-scale’ the humble Machens brick and make large gestural statements at the entry to the park, and along the its main pathway. Think brick was the big idea behind the Jeff Koons-like BIG bricks made in rusted steel and high grade concrete
– Bricks have a unique proportion and are steeped in making and manufacturing traditions – a material language that has passed down over time, so we decided to celebrate the brick bonds and patterns, colours and textures of brick by making interpretative signs that focus park users and their gaze at one of the only remnant brick walls that remain from the machine factory.
– Machens bricks have a distinctive ‘frog’ that is a pressed indent with the text MACHENS stamped in the process of extracting the soft clay from the mould before it is fired. We found a local breed of frogs live in the park waterway and allowed the story telling to traverse time and engage the park user with both past and present storytelling.
category: spatial design / interpretation