Cascades Female Factory History and Interpretation Centre (winning competition entry)

Location \ Hobart, Tasmania
Client \ Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA)
Design Team \ Liminal Studio, Rush Wright Associates and Snøhetta
Duration2017-2020 ongoing

The Cascades Female Factory, one of eleven UNESCO Australian Convict Sites, comprises three of five original yards which accommodated, punished and aimed to reform female convicts.

The proposed design concept unravels the stories of the 6,000 women who spent time within the walls. The exploration of the struggle between light and dark, imprisonment and liberty, punishment and reform, threat and opportunity, horror and hope, aims to provoke a visceral experience for the visitor and connect them to the plight of the convict women.

The landscape experience of the competition scheme centres on an open forum – an “empathetic amphitheatre” or “empatheatre” space which is intended to be used as place for storytelling, performance,
re-enactments, education and events.

The world heritage status of the Cascades Female Factory Site is bound to its location on the Hobart Rivulet and the rivulet’s significance to the historical development of Hobart. As a form of conceptual “excavation” the landscape design acknowledges the many layers of human occupation, settlement, suffering and industry on the rivulet and their intersection with the dynamic natural systems of the creek.

“Their design best embodies the heritage values of the site and one which will emotionally connect visitors to the extant heritage fabric of the site and the stories of women who passed through it.”
Jury Chair Sharon Sullivan, chair of PAHSMA.

Landscape Architecture renders and site plan by Snøhetta.