Death, Life, & the In-Between
The 20th-century environmental historians have highlighted that colonization has accelerated the ecological destruction of the Murray River to satisfy social and economic needs. Alteration of the natural river flow and frequency of unseasonal flooding due to oversupply irrigation waters in Yarrawonga reveals the flaws of the regulated river system that jeopardizes the ecological health of the Murray River.
Today, the prosperity of Yarrawonga is mainly associated with Lake Mulwala as an integral part of the town’s tourism industry. While the lake appears natural, it has undergone constant modifications to sustain Yarrawonga’s tourism and economic growth. Consequently, the town’s re-engineered landscape has led to significant environmental issues such as water pollution and substantial loss of native vegetation along Lake Mulwala.
In response to these issues, the thesis proposes the regeneration of threatened wetland plant species through a plant nursery along Yarrawonga foreshore. The revegetation zone will also function as a natural water filtration system along the lake edge. The project also provides the town, which relies on tourism, with additional tourist infrastructure: an extended jetty into Lake Mulwala that includes a naturally filtered pool and a lookout tower. These integrated series of programs and interventions will function as public recreation spaces that promote the reflection and observation of the environmental conditions.
The interactions and architectural response to the fluctuating water levels and lake conditions seek to create awareness on the impact of anthropogenic modifications that is causing the death of the Murray River. By revisiting the past, and present, the thesis proposal investigates a new ecological model to progress forward for the future of Yarrawonga.