Client: Curtin University
Location: Perth, Australia
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $300,000
Public Art Consultant
Apparatus: Public Art + Cultural Services
John Wardle Architects
John Curtin Gallery
Curtin School of Design and the Built Environment
Curtin Properties Facilities + Development
Curtin University has been undergoing significant expansion to become a vibrant, mixed use hub that shifts away from the typical university campus paradigm. The new School of Design and the Built Environment (B418) is part of this planned change. The B418 Artwork will become an integral part of the new School of Design and the Built Environment building, characterising the essence of the place and the pedagogy of the building. Artist Janet Laurence’s work presents of the matter of nature in various forms. Western Australia is the great zone of geology: a vast range of rocks, minerals, gemstones, and crystals that form the earth through processes and formations throughout eons of time. Within the architectural materiality of the building, where all materials conform to their function, Janet’s artwork speaks as pure matter – to present the WA landscape as matter of the earth. ‘Cliff’ brings you the earth, not as a representation, but as a presentation of earth itself, in the form of hanging stones, each with it’s geological story – of time, weather, movement and formation.
The project at B418 will be a catalyst for change; an exemplar of sustainable design and civic place making. It will bridge between the existing academic campus and the new urbanised campus. The threads of collaboration between learning, teaching, research and industry will be drawn together. Teaching and learning environments will be tailored to the next generation of students – technology intensive, student centric, multi-modal, formal and informal. The building itself will be pedagogical, a living laboratory that can be the subject of teaching and research. It will integrate spaces that are inviting to industry, open to its partners in the commercial sphere and the cross-pollination of ideas.
The design solution for displaying Janet Laurence’s 'Cliff' artwork went through a number of iterations. The purpose was to ensure a minimal presentation over the five storey wall at Curtin’s School of Design and the Built Environment. Event Engineering landed on an elegant claw setting providing a discrete profile that gives prominence to the rocks and minerals as precious objects, while maintaining a safe and secure connection. Western Australian metalwork specialists, Kanyana Engineering fabricated the steel brackets to the strong and discrete specifications. As in nature, so it is with this artwork - no two rocks are the same. Each claw setting was individually modelled, fabricated and fitted bespoke for each rock.