The Riawunna Aboriginal Education Centre is located on a prominent site at the main entry to the Newnham campus. The Riawunna Centre is a striking metal clad curvaceous building set in its own garden. The plan shape is pincer like, with a smooth curving exterior enclosing a protected north-facing courtyard. Encircling the building is a field of totem rocks, set in a sea of shell grit. The landscape setting is of special significance, with the design of the garden being undertaken collaboratively with the local indigenous community, and led by landscape architects Jim Sinatra and Phin Murphy.
The building contains staff offices, a community gathering room, a resources centre, archival space, seminar and computer facilities. The main public spaces all have direct access to the outdoor courtyard, which is constantly used for many community activities.
“The landscape became Riawunna – the circle – and the building sits within Riawunna…for the garden symbolises the coming together of people, which is represented in the placement of rocks and plants from different areas in Tasmania”, quotation from one of the workshop sessions.
“…the users clearly love it. The architecture is rich, subtle and well crafted. These gentle thoughtful buildings, derived from a real concern for the occupants’ well-being, herald new life and direction. They are an intelligent, understated beginning to a new vision for the campus.”RAIA National Awards Jury, 2001