Engineering Innovation and Collaboration – Design Canberra Festival

Dark Crafts pavilion Project Team. Photo: Five Foot Photography
Dark Crafts pavilion Project Team. Photo: Five Foot Photography

Engineering Innovation and Collaboration

You’ve almost certainly walked through somewhere Sellick Consultants helped come to life, from apartment buildings in all corners of Canberra, shopping centres in Civic, Casey and Denman Prospect, student residences for both ANU and UC and hotels in Braddon and at the Canberra Airport.

And if you walked through Civic Square in November, you might have encountered a rather unusual black cardboard tube construction which was the latest project Sellick Consultants was behind. In a first of its kind collaboration, Sellick Consultants teamed up with DESIGN Canberra, the University of Canberra Faculty of Art and Design and Cardboard Tubes to create an installation to form the centrepiece of Civic Square for this year’s DESIGN Canberra festival, now known as the Dark Crafts Pavilion.

The brief was to create a sculptural intervention to reclaim the civic function of the square through the creation of a new urban room for formal and informal festival events while reinforcing the important Ainslie City Hill axis as a gateway to the festival’s home base, Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre. Underpinning this was a need to use affordable materials that were sustainable and could be reused or recycled.

Nick Borner and Dean Harding from Sellick Consultants were tasked with the job of evaluating the structural integrity of a radically new construction. Robotically fabricated and constructed out of cardboard tubes, the Dark Crafts Pavilion needed to withstand the changeable weather conditions of Canberra in November as well as the demands of public interaction.

“I am interested in how we can make the construction industry greener through design and collaboration” says Nick Borner, Senior Structural Engineer. Projects such as the Dark Crafts Pavilion are important for fostering that innovation and teaching future engineers, designers and architects about the possibilities of new materials and innovative construction methods. The multidisciplinary team, consisting of industrial designers, architects, engineers and makers, enthusiastically embraced the transformative role of emerging technologies on design practice and production.

The Dark Crafts Pavilion has been disassembled and taken back to the University of Canberra campus. Hopefully this successful collaboration will continue to deliver innovation into the future.

Selected Civic Square festival programs were made possible with support from the ACT Government under the City Renewal Authority’s City Grants program.

DESIGN Canberra acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the ACT and surrounding areas. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We aim to respect cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.