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Type: Conference item
Title: Evaluating the cultural responsiveness of the design of an Aboriginal Court Complex for Aboriginal Users: Post Occupancy Evaluation of the Port Augusta Court Complex
Author: Grant, E.
Rowden, E.
Taitz, M.
Citation: 2011
Issue Date: 2011
Conference Name: Annual Conference of Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (Victoria, Australia)
Department: Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)
Organisation: Centre for Australian Indigenous Research and Studies
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education: Wilto Yerlo
Statement of
Elizabeth Grant, Emma Rowden and Mira Taitz
Abstract: The design of Port Augusta Courts Complex is unique. The design aimed to meet the environmental needs of Aboriginal people in the court system and to support the process of Aboriginal Courts. The design process drew on extensive consultation with the local community resulting in a court complex inclusive of Aboriginal signs and symbols, way finding and legibility mechanisms, strong relationships between the internal and external environments and considerations to meet the socio-spatial needs of Aboriginal users. The design intended to support culturally sensitive court processes such as the Aboriginal Court while fulfilling the requirements of the Anglo-Australian Western judicial system. It is unknown how successful the court complex was at fulfilling these requirements. Post-occupancy evaluation is the term for a broad range of activities aimed at understanding how buildings perform once they are completed and how satisfied building users are with the environment that has been created. This paper discusses the results and issues involved in conducting a post-occupancy evaluation of the cultural responsiveness of Port Augusta Courts Complex to Aboriginal users’ needs. It analyses various spaces including a flexible courtroom space in the complex, designed to cater for Aboriginal Court. Observations of the latter reveal a divergence between the architect’s intent and the users’ intentions, demonstrating a shift in agency from the designers to the end users. The case study raises various questions. What does this case study tell us about the importance of court environments in the justice system? Do innovative court environments such as these act as passive vessels for the perpetuation of colonial cycles of incarceration, or do they afford a better and more therapeutic experience of the justice system for all?
Keywords: Post Occupancy Evaluation: Court Design: Port Augusta: Aboriginal Architecture: Law: Cultural Design:
Rights: © 2011 University of Adelaide. © Authors. © Photos and sketches Emma Rowden
RMID: 0030000993
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Appears in Collections:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education: Wilto Yerlo publications

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