North West Tasmania
Completion December 2004
Richard Bennett, Nick Osborne
Located at the Northern end of the Tarkine Wilderness, this authentic experience and visitor centre is now called Tarkine Forest Adventures.
Dismal Swamp is a polje or sinkhole, a couldron starting with an unusual geological formation and mixing in a brew of the mythical and majestic.
The Visitor Centre by Jaws Architects is perched high on the polje rim, floating amongst the tree tops on walkways and connecting to the sinkhole floor far below with a slide.
The natural spring of the endemic Celery Top Pine beams bounces and sways the springboard amongst the giant eucalypts. The slide slips sensuously through the forest canopy propelling the visitor at an alarming pace to commence an amazing journey of discovery in the ancient forest. The floor of the sinkhole is a featureless, flat plane, forested with a seemingly endless stand of Blackwood trees. To be lost in this environment creates an overwhelming experience of disorientation and alienation.
The key concept behind the Dismal Maze is the notion of developing this disorientation further and pushing the boundaries of emotional response to this alien environment, creating in the visitor’s mind, a thoroughly engaging and disorienting experience. A maze winds around the sink hole floor leading the visitor on an innovative journey of discovery, experiencing the story of Blackwood through extraordinary structures and skilful interpretation.