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Feature article


THE COMMONS_Photographer:Andrew Wuttke

WORDS BY Brett Seakins

Project 1. Laneway house CHILTON ARCHITECTS

Infilling a line of garages and corrugated iron fences on an inner city laneway, this house is built to fill all boundaries of its 11m by 14m site. Constructed in a similar form but with more refined materials of glazed bricks and zinc cladding, the façade hints at the domestic life behind.

Irregular vertical timbers are used throughout to filter boundaries both inside and out. A screen of timber fins and vertical battens form a capping around the first floor terrace, softening the hard edge of the brickwork and echoing the creeper-clad lattice topping neighbouring fences.

Project 2. testing grounds MILLIE CATTLIN

The project is designed, built and operated by ‘These are The Projects we do together’. The Testing Grounds occupies a large vacant block of Crown Land within the arts precinct, at the intersection of City Road and Sturt Street. This land had been vacant for 23 years after the demolition of Melbourne’s YMCA Headquarters, which stood on the site since 1926.

Envisioned as a free open-air art space and bar, Testing Grounds is a place for experimentation, public gatherings and educational opportunities. Open to the public every day and night, Testing Grounds is an exploration into ways to use under-utilised civic space to provide the general public with greater amenity.


LANEWAY HOUSE_Photographer:Carrie Chilton


TESTING GROUNDS_Image courtesy of Millie Cattlin


TESTING GROUNDS_Image courtesy of Millie Cattlin




NGV COMMUNITY HALL_Image courtesy of McBride Charles Ryan

Project 3. brimbank community & civic centre LYONS

Brimbank City Council appointed Lyons to undertake this $50 million project following a select design competition. The project is located in the heart of Sunshine and will act as a catalyst for the ongoing development of this activity centre. The project consolidates the Brimbank City Council’s offices (from Sunshine and Keilor) with major new community rooms, customer service area and a major new community library. The design creates an explicit figure for the public and community spaces within the building, including a memory of the old Sunshine Harvester industrial buildings which previously occupied the site.


Project 4. ngv community hall MCBRIDE CHARLES RYAN

The NGV Community Hall project for the Melbourne Now exhibition is an installation that will engage with the iconic ‘water wall’ at the gallery entrance, providing a space that can seat 140 people and be used for workshops as well as incorporating a ‘catwalk’ for various events. The form is wrapped in a concertina of reflective surfaces, gathering together various colours to reflect diversity as well as silhouettes of buildings iconic to Melbourne – a fitting homage to Melbourne’s architecture, a familiar gesture that McBride Charles Ryan has employed successfully over multiple projects. When installed, the form will also have an external presence, inviting further.


Project 5. the commons BREATHE ARCHITECTURE

Located in the heart of Brunswick, the Commons was designed by Breathe Architecture. The housing development occupying a re-zoned and re-developed light industrial area creates 24 new residential apartments that promote a sustainable and socially progressive model. The site is within a stone’s throw of Anstey train station and has a bike path on its border, allowing the project to be free of car parking while promoting more sustainable transport mediums. The project also encourages interaction between residents with a shared laundry and also a drying space on the shared roof terrace that enjoys views back to Melbourne.