Cultural and creative life

119 Redfern wins National Trust Hertiage Awards architecture prize

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and knowledge centre will ensure stories are treasured for generations to come.

  • Always was, always will be

    The new centre is in the heart of Redfern, on the site of a former post office. The 2-storey building was transformed in a project led by Aileen Sage architects after extensive collaboration with local communities.

    Credit: Hamish McIntosh
  • A place that will be shaped by communities

    Redfern is synonymous with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It’s the epicentre of First Nations culture and activism in the local area. “Purchasing the building and converting it for this purpose reflects our commitment to ensuring Redfern remains a proudly Aboriginal place,” Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.

    Credit: Hamish McIntosh
  • A living culture

    119 Redfern is a multipurpose space, designed to play host to all kinds of community events, from workshops to exhibitions or just a yarn over a cup of tea.

    Program manager, Tracey Duncan, said 119 Redfern is place that is “underpinned by culture… where stories, traditions and knowledge can be passed down through generations and preserved.”

    Credit: Hamish McIntosh
  • Inviting an Aboriginal reclamation of a colonial space

    Transforming an 19th century building into a community space presented plenty of challenges. A lift was installed, mirroring the building’s clock tower, along with other accessibility upgrades.

    The building was reconfigured to provide versatile indoor and outdoor spaces including a room dedicated to family research.

    Credit: Hamish McIntosh
  • Tracey Duncan, project manager

    “When I think of a knowledge centre, I think of living culture. Not a place filled with materials and objects, but with people who have real life experiences and knowledge.”

    Credit: Joseph Mayers and Hamish McIntosh
  • Stripped back and connected to Country

    Aileen Sage revealed the building’s original fabric, exposing the brickwork formed from the clay of the Country on which the building rests.

    The detailing and linear patterns are inspired by the ironbark and turpentine forests which once grew here. Shapes and colours used throughout reference the feathers of the powerful owl, a symbol of resilience.

    Credit: Hamish McIntosh