Project Fort Awesome
Project Fort Awesome is a Sunshine Coast based experimental architecture and art practice that uses the idea of making cubby houses as a means of community building. Project Fort Awesome recently completed the Creative Spaces Residency at the Maroochy Arts and Ecology Centre.
“Stepping outside my 'traditional' practice of architecture has been both terrifying and the most fun I have ever had.” Samantha Taylor
What is your practice?
I am a trained architect but 'project Fort Awesome' is essentially an arts-architecture practice exploring play-making projects; thinking about building/ making differently and the exploration of ideas that lead to connecting and enriching communities. This project provides a platform for creative collaborations to come together and design/ build a unique type of play-space that we then help others to make with family or community, and is an opportunity to cultivate lots of interesting conversation about sustainability, urban place-making, play, curiosity and more along the way.
What did you explore during your residency?
We completed the building of several prototype play-space designs in bamboo along with our collaborating artist Miles Allen. We explored immediate public reaction and feedback on our bigger project idea and also on the details of completed built-works from our first collaboration with the wonderful Miles Allen (artist).
Why did the residency model suit you?
It was amazing; it enabled Miles and I direct public feedback on lots of levels: to hear first-hand the children’s feedback as they explored and played within the project and then also to respond to all the questions from both children and adults was really enjoyable and valuable. The residency also enabled us to show our ideas 1:1 in a really tangible way which was immensely valuable.
How difficult is it to find suitable spaces on the coast?
Quite! Although Creative Spaces is doing a lot to close this gap and is a really wonderful initiative which will no doubt result in exponential creative industry growth within the Sunshine Coast.
What were the highlights of your residency?
Receiving public feedback on our ideas; talking to and meeting so many wonderful people; testing out some workshop ideas and seeing how the participants reacted to and enjoyed the process of building with bamboo.
What was the reaction from peers/industry and observers?
Immensely supportive. We have started lots of really interesting conversations as a direct result of our Artist-Residency and are looking forward to seeing the project develop in lots of different ways as a result.
What's it like as an arts/creative industry practitioner on the coast?
Stepping outside my 'traditional' practice of architecture has been both terrifying and the most fun I have ever had. The creative industries community within the Sunshine Coast is incredible- there is such an amazing number of really (really) wonderful artists and creative practitioners who call this area home and the community is wonderfully engaged, proactive and supportive.
Where would you like to see the coast and your practice in the near future?
I would love to see the coast lead the way in terms of sustainable design practices- both environmentally and socially seeking more ways to create increasingly connected communities. My practice looks at how we might be able to encourage more play in our lives generally (as both kids and adults!) and to encourage conversations about how and what we make, inhabit and use so for me personally; I would love to start a series of regular workshops, a studio and a community makerspace of some sort.
Any other outcomes or points you'd like to communicate?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to undertake our Creative Spaces artist-residency at the Maroochy Art and Environment centre over Dec/ January 2019; it was a sensational experience and I am truly grateful.