Khue Thuy Mai Nguyen

Murray Parliament

In 2019 push-backs against the Victorian Forestry Plan to end native logging by 2030 revealed a misalignment between the Government policies, regional towns’ socio-cultural and economic values, and an understanding of the ecological conditions. In the ecologically damaged Murray-Darling Basin context, this misalignment is especially relevant to twin towns along the Murray River where river political representation is fragmented by the tristate borders.

This poses challenges to achieving effective and sustainable regional resource planning, which requires collection, analysis and reflection of local knowledge, moral and ethical values.

Envisioning new state borders forming the Murray Riparian State, a political representative body for the people and towns along the Murray River, this thesis proposes a new parliament model that is decentralised and semi-replicable at various twin towns.

Challenging the conventional notion of municipal architecture, this model hybridises the pedestrian bridge and parliament typologies while providing a river-specific library and recreational infrastructure at the riverfront. Through the juxtaposition of municipal programs and public spaces, the proposal highlights the intertwined political-environmental relationship in riparian towns and promotes awareness of the river ecology.

With their rich timber production history and adjacency to the internationally significant Gunbower forest, the Mid Murray towns of Koondrook and Barham will be the first site in which this model is further developed