Mt Stromlo Director's Residence

The Mt Stromlo Observatory's Director's Residence restoration project launched 30 January 2015, bringing to an end our year of incredibly rewarding research into the history of this nationally significant astrophysics research institute.

Project Details

Esem Projects spent 2014 working with the Australian National University Heritage team and Tanner Kibble Denton Architects on the $1m restoration of the Mt Stromlo Director's Residence. This iconic site had remained a ruin since the devastating Canberra bushfires of 2003.

Team

Project Lead: Dr. Sarah Barns (Research, Engagement, Sound Research & Composition) Audio visual Design: Michael Killalea Video Editing: Olivia Ciok Technical installation: Leif Wilson

We began 2015 working with the Australian National University Heritage team and Tanner Kibble Denton Architects on the $1m restoration of the Mt Stromlo Director's Residence. This iconic site had remained a ruin since the devastating Canberra bushfires of 2003.

Esem Projects was selected by ANU to work on the project following our successful Thinking Spaces installation of 2014. We produced and directed the audio-visual interpretation for the site, working closely with Heritage Officer Amy Jarvis and the collections of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, as well as managing all aspects of the technical design and installation. Eyes on the Skies, Home on the Hill, The People of Stromlo and Wild Fire Wild Life offered different insights into the personal experiences of the Stromlo community, and a celebration of the achievements of the astrophysics research community over the course of the century.

We loved working with recordings of artist Rosalie Gascoigne, who developed her love of Australian landscape while living at Stromlo as wife of notable astrophysicist Ben Gascoigne, and interviewing Nobel Prize winner Professor Brian Schmidt about his experience of the 2003 Firestorm.

We were especially excited to hear the restoration project won the 2015 ACT National Trust of Australia Heritage Award for Outstanding Project.

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Eyes on the Skies by Esem Projects for Mt Stromlo Observatory (2015)

A Home on the Hill: Soundscape design by Sarah Barns with Nigel Cruikshank

A Home on the Hill explores the domestic life of the ANU's Mt Stromlo Observatory, from its establishment in the 1920s to more recent times, including the recent Firestorm of 2003 that nearly destroyed the place. The soundscape features within the interior of the Director's Residence, partially restored in 2014 by ANU.