Designing with Country
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) peoples as traditional custodians of all the lands and waters on which we work and build. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging and seek to engage with and learn from them. We acknowledge the important role First Nations peoples play in building a diverse and vibrant Australia.
*Graphics created by Warlpiri artist Lisa-Jane Van Dyk
First steps include the use of Indigenous place names, or at least an attempt to discover and reference them. With reference to the NSW Government Architect’s (GANSW) 2020 discussion paper – Designing with Country – AJC is currently developing our framework for a systematic approach to meaningful engagement with First Nations people and narratives in our work. We seek out First Nations voices and perspectives in projects wherever possible, to deepen our understanding of Country, and show our support for Reconciliation.
In our own workplace and as we participate in the construction industry, we aim to contribute to achieving greater social equality and employment opportunities for First Nations peoples. On Wilyakali Country in far west NSW, our design for the Broken Hill YMCA includes facilities for Indigenous support groups, and a high proportion of the local tradespeople were Indigenous, contributing both an economic boost and civic pride.
On Gadigal Country in Redfern, at our student village for Scape, a 5-metre mural by a local Indigenous artist takes pride of place at the entry as a welcome. On Birpai Country, the NSW mid-north coast, our design for the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is being developed in close consultation with the Birpai people who will curate Indigenous storytelling in the new visitors’ centre.