The Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park (GASP!) along the River Derwent in Glenorchy, Tasmania, is a staged project resulting from a limited design competition in 2010, won by Australian architecture firm Room 11.
Stage 1, completed in 2011, features a 3 km long colourful public walkway which links previously marginalised, yet stunning sections of foreshore. Rich birdlife and the surface of the river can be closely inspected as one walks the gentle arc which links an existing school, playground, major entrainment centre and rowing club. The long low boardwalk, defined by balusters painted in a cacophony of colours represents Glenorchy’s diverse community.
Punctuating the arc are two pavilions offering shelter, seating and a location to pause and consider the water plane and sky: a large barbecue pavilion (the ‘Grove Pavilion’) and a small entry pavilion (the ‘Little John Rivulet Pavilion’) at the northern end.
Midway along the walk, the partially enclosed Grove Pavilion offers a sheltered place to sit or barbecue. Concrete blade walls clad in ironbark battens form the vertical structure covered by a thin, flat, pre-tensioned roof framing the views. A long timber bench invites rest and contemplation, while a large pane of orange glass in the main wall accentuates and plays with the views. From the road it transforms the river view into sepia. From inside the pavilion, it looks back to a dramatic, amber-toned Glenorchy landscape.
GASP! has been conceived as a ribbon along which contemporary art events and installations can occur. Turner Prize winning Artist Susan Phillipz was commissioned by GASP!, to undertake the inaugural art project, The Waters Twine, an 8 channel sound project embedded into the boardwalk in March 2013.
Gasp stage 1 has won an Australian Institute of Architects National Award for Urban Design 2013. Read the Jury citation here: ArchitectureAU
Stage 2, completed in May 2013, consists of approximately 800m of new paths and landscaping including a new pavilion at Wilkinsons Point with toilet facilities. Constructed from concrete and red glass, this larger structure forms an end point to the trail.
Stage 3 Currently in conception, the third and final stage will involve construction of a cafe and studio building, for a GASP! Social Enterprise Hub at Montrose Bay. It is imagined as a flexible, multi-use building that unlocks for social events and will provide a range of options for commercial and non-commercial use by tenants and community organisations.
Photography: Ben Hosking