WSP’s Indigenous Specialist Services team has been providing input and recommendations on Aboriginal design that will be incorporated into the finished project.
Michael Hromek, WSP’s Technical Executive, Indigenous (Architecture), Design and Knowledge, says that the team has been responsible for helping to establish cultural context for the project, engaging with the local Indigenous community and developing resources including Aboriginal Design Principles and a video, ‘Connection to Country’.
The video, featuring Uncle Dennis Foley from Cammeraygal, and Allen Madden and Charles Madden, Gadigal Elders, outlines the Indigenous significance of the area and the benefits of including Indigenous elements into the planned upgrade.
A competition to design the new Sydney Harbour Bridge bike ramp was launched in August 2021. Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport and Roads, said that it was important that the designs “…are not only worthy of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, but also respect the heritage of the area, embrace Aboriginal culture and enhance the open space for the Milsons Point community.”
Russell Reid, WSP’s Senior Aboriginal Affairs and Participation Consultant, provided the design firms with technical advice regarding Connecting to Country for their proposals. All competitors also received a briefing from local Aboriginal elders.
Feedback was sought from the community on the three shortlisted architectural designs, as well as deliberations of an expert Design Jury. Our team provided recommendations to the Design Jury regarding Indigenous design in each of the submissions.
More than 1,066 people provided feedback on the shortlisted designs, rating the designs from one to five against Acknowledgment of Country, Respect for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Respect for Milsons Point Railway Station, Integration with Bradfield Park, Quality of the Design and Rideability.
The winning design team, led by ASPECT Studios, was announced on 1 April 2022. The ASPECT Studios team includes Collins and Turner Architects, Yerrabingin, Eckersley O’Callaghan Engineers, JMT Consulting and Design 5 Architects.
The ASPECT Studios team will now progress a detailed design with ongoing engagement with the community, Heritage Council, North Sydney Council, Transport for NSW and other key stakeholders. Our Indigenous Specialist Services team has been retained to share its Indigenous knowledge and expertise for the next two stages of the project – concept design and detailed design.
Connecting Country to infrastructure projects
WSP is the only engineering firm in Australia to have achieved STRETCH RAP status with Reconciliation Australia, a journey it started more than a decade ago.
It is a responsibility the firm takes seriously, establishing a dedicated Indigenous Specialist Services team which provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design input on our major projects. National services provided by the team include:
- Indigenous Design and Knowledge
- Research and Cultural Protocols
- Legal and Moral Guidelines
- Indigenous Representation and Involvement
- Culturally-Specific Protocols and Project Engagement
- Reconciliation Action Plans
- Project Design for Positive Social Impacts
- Collaboration and Co-Creation of Opportunities
- Procurement of Goods and Services
- Employment and Training Opportunities
- Legacy Opportunities for the Community
- Highest and Best Use Assessments
Guy Templeton, CEO Asia Pacific, describes the importance of the team and its work, “Every project we work on takes place on First Peoples’ Land. To have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples engaged in the design process for infrastructure that will help communities thrive well into the future, is key to broadening the way we all connect to Country.”
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