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Museum of Human Rights

Part 1 Project 2011
Andrew Forsyth
Queensland University of Technology Brisbane | Australia
In a bygone era the city of Brisbane established a boundary to prevent the indigenous people of local communities from entering after the evening curfew. A fact rarely discussed, or even known, by current residents of the city.

The Howard Smith Wharves site falls on the North-eastern corner of where this boundary
once resided. Accordingly the proposal for the Museum of Human Rights has a strong
grounding in the historical context of the site and provides a unique opportunity to draw attention to issues related to human rights violations, not only in Brisbane – but Worldwide.

The Museum’s spatial arrangement and form are directly influenced by the ideology of
“folding”. By drawing lines of intersection from key axis connected to the CBD and using
them to generate the scheme, the architectural ambition to maintain strong links to the context of Brisbane was fulfilled.

In a poetic sense the proposal draws upon the theories of Louis Kahn to bring light into the building as a representation of clarity and understanding.

"I sense threshold, light to silence - silence to light, the ambient inspiration..."
Louis Kahn

"I sense light as the giver of all presences..."
Louis Kahn

A massive crevasse, in the position of the original boundary, runs the length of the building and allows light to pierce the envelope. Whilst progressing through the museum one is always connected to the failings of the past and opportunities of the future – the light draws one through the building, guiding one’s path and understanding.

The non-linear path and thresholds established within the programme coupled with the progression from dark to light signify the turbulence inherent in our history, yet our ability to effect change in the world – through a desire to understand.

Andrew Forsyth


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