Liminal, Snøhetta and Rush Wright project at Hobart’s Cascades Female Factory progresses

Plans for the construction of a long-awaited development at the World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory Historic Site in South Hobart have advanced, with the submission of a development application.

A team comprising Tasmanian practice Liminal Studio, international firm Snøhetta and Melbourne landscape architecture practice Rush Wright Associates was unanimously selected as the winner of a design competition for a new history and interpretation centre at the site in 2018.

The Cascades Female Factory is Australia’s most significant historic site associated with female convicts. It was originally built as a distillery in 1823 until it was sold to the colonial government and converted for use as a prison for women by colonial architect John Lee Archer in 1828. The site operated as a convict facility until 1856. More than 6,000 convicts were incarcerated at the Cascades Female Factory. The women housed at the facility were subjected to up to 12 hours of labour per day.

The proposed centre will occupy an original yard on the historic site, with a rectilinear building and a landscaped courtyard.

The competition was notable for requiring that a “significant proportion” of the design team be made up of women. Liminal Studio’s team is 70 percent female, Rush Wright’s team working on the project is all female and Snøhetta, which has an Australian office in Adelaide, is 50 percent female.

The application is on public display until 20 April.

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