Reply To: Existing Structures

Rachel Alford

    Hi Louise, great questions!

    As you can understand, we don’t have a comprehensive list of abandoned/unused structures in Cape York and their locations, however if you have a look through some of the walk throughs such as the Interactive: Explore a Returned Homeland and some of the videos found under View the Cape York Context, both found in Resources, you can get an idea of some typical abandoned structures which are found in Cape York.

    However, when considering repurposing existing structures, it’s important to think about what your structure will be used for, and its desired location. In the example provided where water tanks have been converted into accommodation, water tanks are able to be moved and deployed in a variety of locations. If, however, you were wanting to build on an existing structure that is fixed to a specific place, your design would be limited in its applicability as it would only work in the place where the original abandoned structure is. Depending on your design area and what the purpose of your structure is, this inflexibility may hinder your design, for example if you’re designing a tourist shelter but the existing structures may be in a place tourists would be unlikely to visit.

    Another option your team could look into is retrofitting transportable housing options (such as dongas) which are currently in use in Cape York but which lack the durability and climatic appropriateness for the region.

    In terms of fire resistant materials on existing structures, generally it’s unlikely that there is anything beyond the standard efforts. The biggest fire protection on Cape York would come from clearings and fire breaks around structures, rather than the materials themselves. It’s great to see you thinking about the conditions and contexts in Cape York, and you should also also take into consideration other extreme conditions that may affect structures, such as cyclones and flooding.

    Hope this has been helpful, please reach out with any other questions!