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Australian palawa buildings: rethinking interiors and their representation

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 19:51 authored by Jacqueline PowerJacqueline Power
Australian Tasmanian Aboriginal building typologies challenge preconceived notions of what constitutes an interior. This challenge is due to the range of interior-types that are represented by Tasmanian Aboriginal buildings, ranging from windbreaks to full dome buildings. These building typologies require a rethinking of interiors to take place. This article provides an introduction to Tasmanian Aboriginal, or palawa, buildings and their associated interior spaces. The notion of interior is discussed through a framework of interiority. This is presented as a means to engage with the condition of interior-“ness,” which may exist beyond the enclosed or internal space demarcated by a building. This expansion of the definition of interior allows for a broader spectrum of interior expressions to be explored. In addition to the paper’s purpose to expand conceptions of interior space, how these conceptions of interior space are perpetuated is also explored. This is revealed through a discussion of how palawa buildings are represented in the historic literature from which knowledge of these buildings is derived. Language is explored as a means through which recorded observations of buildings have acted as critiques, operating referentially to the culture of the observer.


Publication title

Journal of Interior Design








School of Architecture and Design


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2016 Interior Design Educators Council

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Understanding Australia’s past

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