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Feature article


PROJECT 3 A Better East West Link Design ATELIER RED+BLACK

WORDS BY Marie Lecef


Brett Seakins recently resigned from his involvement with Architect Victoria. The Editor wishes to thank Brett for his input over the past four years, and in particular his contribution towards Slice. From this edition, Virgina Mannering will take over Brett’s role as compiler of Slice.

PROJECT 1.                 
Engawa House

The name of this North Fitzroy house refers to the Engawa, an external corridor attached to the side of a traditional Japanese dwelling. In this project by Bloxas the Engawa offers the residents, a family of four, a transition space between grassed courtyard and the polished concrete floor of the interior. Downstairs, living, dining, bedroom and ensuite skirt the large courtyard, while upstairs a mezzanine study captures a range of views.

The new north-facing wing attaches itself to the front rooms of the existing house. It combines single and double-storey forms and is reminiscent of the mixed volumes found in the surrounding residences and factories. The stitching together of old and new is signalled on the exterior by an articulated joint where the original brick chimney, white weatherboard and charcoal plywood meet.

Image courtesy_Peter Bennetts

PROJECT 2.                 
Surgeons’ Rooms

fmd architects have recently completed this renovation of a group of orthopaedic surgeons’ rooms adjacent to Knox Hospital. Of interest to the architects were the parallels orthopaedics shares with building; in particular they observed that the tools, process and language of the orthopaedic surgeon are very similar to that of a carpenter. Thus the decision was made to emphasise this relationship in the surgery’s built form.

On the facade, transparent films, steel and laser cut recycled plastic have been overlapped to create effects that are reminiscent of the layers of depth and shading seen in an X-Ray. On the interior, the surgery’s reception desk and waiting room seat have been produced by carving prosthetic forms out of plywood.

Photograph_fmd architects

PROJECT 1. Engawa House BLOXAS


A Better East West Link Design

Melbourne architecture practice Atelier Red + Black has worked with community group Safety Net to produce, pro-bono, an urban design concept that minimises the damage they predict will be inflicted on the inner city suburb of Parkville by the proposed East West Link.

Under the proposal, Atelier Red + Black suggest rearranging parts of CityLink, including Denton Corker Marshall’s yellow steel ‘Cheese Sticks’, as a way of reducing impact on Parkville residents. Other features of the architect’s solution are that it does not require any destruction of Royal Park to access Flemington road, prevents the demolition of 55 homes, and keeps the Ross Straw sports field and the habitat of the White’s Skink intact.

Photograph_Atelier Red+Black


A Clinic for the Exhausted

In Search of an Antipodean Vitality

Edmond & Corrigan and an Itinerant Architecture



By Michael Spooner


In A Clinic for the Exhausted we are asked to perform many labours, and discharge them with the understanding that we won’t enquire as to why. This evasive form however, provides great propulsion forward – soon we realise we’re at sea, quite possibly rowing a life boat – it’s only later that we realise the tiller was turned and we’ve completed a circular voyage. To what end you might ask? I am tempted to recall the afterword to Nabokov’s Lolita “…[the author] when asked to explain its origin and growth, has to rely on such ancient terms as Interreaction of Inspiration and Combination – which, I admit, sounds like a conjurer explaining one trick by performing another.”

This erudite work seeks to take us on an immersive journey that begins on Melbourne’s Swanson St outside Edmond & Corrigan’s newly finished Building 8 with a drunken scrap of correspondence linking two architects flapping in the wind, to places and buildings hitherto unknown. The notional journey allows Spooner to propose his precocious yet cogent methodology of architectural invention and design as the scrap of paper flies away in the stiffening breeze and Building 8 sets sail.

The design research is at worst original, but at best ecstatic – proposing through writing, drawings and collected images an architecture that is highly fanciful yet palpably existent. The methodology, buoyed upon literature, philosophy, architecture, a current of humour, an overwhelming visual sumptuousness, the corporeal and a myriad of hints and allegations to alight at a point outside one’s knowing, damp with déjà vu. In Montaigne’s essay, That to philosophise is to learn to die, we contemplate the life outside the body, kept busy with thoughts and ideas. This time spent traversing the world unknown beyond the body in essence is as death might be imagined. Practicing this, we no longer need fear death, a persistent question for which an answer is not forthcoming. Much like Nabokov, Spooner fends off the question by providing a sumptuous journey full of answers to other questions unasked but wholly necessary. A voyage worth the blisters.