Community Infrastructure, for creative and education-based activities in Brunswick, VIC. Australia. Siteworks provides a range of facilities within a former college and heritage-listed house, for skills sharing, ideas generation, experimental teaching and technology-related development.
Siteworks has an active practice-based research method for site management services which is defined by the following terms and their interrelationships – Caretaker / Maintenance + Rehabilitation / Production.
This research manifests in the following ways:
→ A full-time caretaker embedded into a site establishes base operations. The caretaker holds responsibility for the maintenance of both site and operation, and program and curation.
→ Acts of generosity and inclusion are fundamental to its aims, and are communicated to everyone engaged on the project.
→ Rehabilitation of existing sites provides a return on community investment at a higher ratio than new development.
→ The site and its operation is a net gain, and generative spaces add value. This is in the form of an expanded field of use.
→ Essentially, we are interested in building cultures within communities.
Drawing inspiration from the work of Robert Greenleaf, and in particular his 1970 essay “The Servant as Leader”, the idea of a servant leader is fundamental to the TPT caretaker management approach.
“This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions – often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces operating within them.
The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”
Siteworks Operations Users and Room Areas
The three modes of occupation are Community Hire, Professional Studios and Contra Exchange Program. These three modes have evolved since 2016 due to site and community requirements, as evidenced in casual bookings data and community feedback gathered whilst on the ground.
The three modes of occupation work co-dependently to maintain and provision the community’s requirements for flexible and managed spaces as well as the site’s operation and maintenance in the short term.
Qualitative Analysis – What is Siteworks
As knowledge of a place deepens with time, the finest details and spatial qualities, that otherwise go unnoticed, become apparent. The opportunity to share these observations and have them, even just in some small way, inform the possible future of the site is an absolute privilege – for our practice, it’s why we do what we do.
What its not
Siteworks, in some respects, is like a well designed hospital – the operations and ends of the people who inhabit the site and buildings are what dictate the form absolutely.
It is designed form the inside out. It triages as required.
Siteworks is also nothing like a hospital in that the build-up of personal moments, the ad-hoc attachments to the building, the remnants are allowed to stay, and this informs future use.
|Material Matters 1 – Brick|| 2018
|Siteworks Design and Operations Principles|| 2019
|| Printed matter
|Infrastructure and Activity|| 2018
|A Caretakers Maintenance Manifesto|| 2019
|| Printed matter
|Continuously Under Construction 1 – The Pyramid|| 2018
|MRelay UPTOWN: Reinventing the City|| 2021
|The Wheeler Centre: Self-Made City|| 2018
|Siteworks Sump Cut|| 2019
We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Eastern Kulin Nation as traditional custodians, on whose unceded lands we work and live.
We respectfully acknowledge elders – past, present and emerging. And we extend our deepest respects to all First Nations peoples. In the context of the work we do, we express gratitude for our shared connection through place, to the oldest continuing cultures on earth.
Studio 6, 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick 3065
PO Box 1011, Fitzroy North, 3068