The study of language by Ferdinand de Saussure, a Swiss linguist rejected the substantive view of language in favor of a relational one. In the Cours de Linguistique Generale, an argument is presented that language should be studied, not only in terms of its individual parts, but also in terms of the relationship between those parts.
Saussure made a famous distinction between langue (language) and parole (speech). Langue refers to the system of rules and conventions which is independent of, and pre-exists, and parole refers to its use in particular instances. In semiotics, this principle could be applied to understand the distinction between code and message.
This scheme explores architecture which exists beyond its own framework; an architecture that cannot be discerned without taking on the connections to non-architectural elements. This design proposal is not limited by specific power plays or a designers individual expressions, it is a composition of parts that co-exist and inform one another without hierarchy to make up an unexpected significant whole. While this proposed Australian Pavilion in Venice aims to achieve several theoretical design targets, it is fundamentally an exploratory exercise, not a prescriptive scheme. The architecture is a gridded framework that is made active by the different exhibitions utilising this system of grids. When internally utilised it is outwardly expressed. It is a distinctly Australian Pavilion (exhibition), when in an active state, defines itself (architecture) on Italian soil (context).
Setting up the framework, the lattice is broken up into 3 gridded parts. The primary grid defining volume, secondary grid defining a plane or a wall and the the tertiary grid being organised perforations.
A blanket on site defines a boundary and volumes are positioned at pockets of spaces within the surrounding vegetation.
The building is at its passive state during the months when the building is not utilized.
At an introverted state, there is a clear boundary between interior and exterior space. The utility of the interior is expressed on its exterior changing its external building form every time there is a shift internally.
The building at an extroverted state blurs the boundary between interior and exterior as the spaces interconnect.
The wall configuration diagram shows the different spatial qualities with a moving wall gesture.
Perforated panels in a grid for different usage of wall, floor, ceiling and façade systems.
This project is premised on the subtle exploration of the physicality and emotional experience of Goods Shed South, through direct engagement with the structural, material and spatial idiosyncrasies of the warehouse.
It is structured as a sequence of experiences, each dealing directly with one aspect of the Goods Shed and its unique siting.
Upon approaching the Shed from Collins street, the first thing the Visitor notices is, where once nothing could be seen, a Bicycle Shop has emerged. Its clean lines and gabled profile are an exaggeration of the Goods Shed Roof. A simple homage to the iconography of the Shed, it functions as a projection of the Shed’s presence onto Collins Street, as if to coyly say “hello stranger”.
It is here in the frontmost space that complete bicycles are sold, an idiot-proofed setting for the uninitiated. As the Visitor moves deeper into the site, she gains insights into the inner workings of bicycle mechanics and cycling culture.
Past the Shop is a narrow Walkway spanning the Gap between the Collins Street Bridge and the Shed. A seemingly fragile construct, its bouyant, skeletal structure creaks and buckles gently with the rhythm of the Visitor’s footsteps, emphasizing the emptiness below. A whisper of vertigo flits through the Visitor’s mind as she becomes aware of a distinct lack of solid ground. Her breath quickens a fraction as she steps gingerly forward.
The Walkway runs directly into the Roof Space of the Shed, passing through the Trusses themselves. This space, traditionally inaccessible to the everyday visitor, is open to close-up exploration, lit by sunlight spilling through the clerestory windows above. Through a willing suspension of disbelief the Visitor is compelled to recognise the fundamental role that these elements play in the overall composition of the Shed, and are a large part of the reason why warehouses are recognised for their particular brand of aesthetic.
Moving onwards, the Visitor finds herself wandering among pods suspended above the warehouse Floor. Each pod sells a distinct variety of bicycle parts; it is a marketplace in the air. The Visitor gains an appreciation of the sheer volume of space in between the Roof and the Floor, the spatial generosity that is yet another hallmark of the warehouse typology.
It is here that the Visitor comes into slow, close contact with other bicycle afficionados, catching snippets of cyclist jargon as customers and shopkeepers discuss the finer points of bicycle repair and assembly. It is a distinctly different aural environment from the open spaces that came before as well as the noisy Workshop adjacent.
The next stage of the Visitor’s journey is marked by a gentle transition into the open Workshop Podium of the Shed. Turning to look beneath her, the Visitor sees the forests of slender stilts that serve as vertical storage for bicycles and on which the spaces above rest. These spaces appear to float above a cloud of bicycles, and are distinguishable as distinct parts within a whole, rather than different parts of a whole.
Here, the clanging of metal against metal, the smell of rubber and lubricant and the sweat of hobbyists fill the air as an open declaration of the Shed’s repurposing, as well as a subtle reminder of its former industrial role.
It is here that the Visitor appreciates the large spans and flexible open floor plan of the Shed, the very reason for its particular structural system. The Visitor has unwittingly experienced the Shed in reverse: Siting, then Structure, then Void, then Usable Space.
The Visitor’s path ends at the ground plane of the Shed. The Floor supports the spaces above both structurally as well as programmatically. Here, underneath the Workshop are toilets, lockers and change rooms, and an open space where other Visitors gather in informal groups.
As she wanders amongst the suspended clouds of bicycles, the Visitor admires the variety of forms, colours and materials that surrounds her. Each carefully stored bicycle is unique, each has a story to tell. It is both a forum for cycling enthusiasts as well as an ever-changing gallery space where Object and Art come together in a celebration of the pragmatism of individual mobility.
This is a house for two middle aged professionals (who are considered to be primary occupants). Taking into consideration their need to travel frequently, this house has been designed to accomodate a guest house for sub-letting when not in use by its primary uses. Therefore, the planning of this house integrates both public and private needs of the couple, as well as its secondary occupants.
The function of this building supports the primary couples enjoyment of entertaining with wine and food. At ground level, this house comprises of a wine bar with a cellar in its basement level. Utilising the traditional ways of storing wine, this cellar is built to make use of the constant ground temperature and control of humidity level. Also, at mid level, the whole floor is dedicated to entertaining guests which is kept fairly open and public. This kitchen and lounge space can also be utilised by occupants in the guest house when the primary users are not around. The couples private home is at penthouose level with its own private kitchen and ensuite sufficient for two.
Secondly, the served spaces are broken up with split level planning. They act like smaller pods of spaces which have folding walls to open or divide the spaces depending on its use. This not only allows for a good control spatially, it also provides for efficiency in terms of energy use for green living.
The linear planning allows for the servicing needs to be limited to a single service wall. The ventilation, heating, plumbing and main electrical needs of this building is integrated within the one entity as illustrated in the systems diagram below. All the storage and shelving units are also part of the wall to again free up the rest of the served spaces.
How is the city grid read? Transport is one main factor as it defines access mainly the transport spine of Melbourne, Swanston Street. Along with the recently proposed Swanston Street Redevelopment plan, the insertions of new transport platforms as well as the removal of vehicular access can only strengthen this spine. The spine shifts as the city moves towards the educational precinct in the north defining a separate axis from the main CBD grid.
As the city grid shifts and aligns itself with the river, this change created very interesting spatial typologies within the organised square grid of the city with very little use at present time. Most of them consist of public toilets, monuments and vegetation.
Considering the rapid development of this city, these spaces should be examined for a new solution as Melbourne moves forward. I took particular interest in the triangulation at the Swanston Street spine. I notice this triangulation can also be read as the intersection of 2 distinct axis of the city.
Further research brought to question the use of the current building on site. The Melbourne City Council does not have an address for the site. It is almost a ‘site off the grid’ and is merely named ‘the toilet building’. The building is heritage listed as ‘the tramway signal cabin, waiting shelter and conveniences’. Redundant since 1991. With the future proposed removal of tram stop 6 on Swanston Street, this building is being ignored even more.
So, does this building really hold ‘heritage value’? Does it have any real value other than its current function as public toilets? The building in its current state has in fact negative heritage value. It exists in a familiar frame of reference, banal and neglected. By assuming an unfamiliar ethereal form, it transcends physical form and function and forces questions of its origins and purpose: The story of the building becomes more important than the building itself.
The language of this carved out negative space is then brought forth into the adjacent spaces as it creates voids in which informal information of this city can be discussed and shared.
Like a piece of architecture, the city is a construction in space, but one of vast scale, a thing perceived only in the course of long spans of time. The city is therefore temporal art. In different occasions and for different people, the sequences are reversed, interrupted, abandoned, cut across. At every instant, there is more than the eye can see, more than the ear can hear, a setting or a view waiting to be explored. Nothing is experienced by itself, but always in relation to its surroundings, the sequences of events leading up to it, the memory of past experiences. Everyone has had long associations with some part of the city and this image is soaked in memories and meanings. Most often our perception of the city is not sustained, but rather partial, fragmentary, mixed with other concerns. Nearly every sense is in operation, and the image is the composite of them all.
So I’m proposing an information centre that limits the influences of consumerism and marketing ploys. It is one of personal shared experiences and discoveries.
The similar language is then brought vertically. Same grid of 350 height planes but reinvented to suit the needs of a living space. 175 being a step, 350 a seat, 700 a table and so on.
Working with the site constraints, a linear configuration is proposed. It is divided into primary vertical circulation, secondary public corridor circulation, tertiary private corridor and the wall servicing the space. The units are suited for different demographics. Single, couple and family.
This building takes form of its triangular site. But at the same time, it’s planning is linear and directional; an expression of the space in which it is seated on within the Melbourne city grid. I would like to call it ‘the Swanston Street pivot.
There is a growing need for a stimulus to be developed; one that sparks a reaction that induces a positive response: that of laughter, delight, or even amusement; emotions that may be totally foreign to some in this day and age.
LabThreeOFive is the story of seven unique individuals united by a collective vision of a better tomorrow. We seek to answer humanity’s silent cry with life-injecting agents. Their forms may be varied but their mission is the same: to attach itself to members of the human species, with the sole purpose of awakening the true-self of the individual.
The origins of LabThreeOFive are a little hazy, and its history left unrecorded, but the ideals that LabThreeOFive was founded upon still surge through the veins of its current successors - to reinvent the norms of society and to cultivate an inspired and fun-loving culture as inspired by the ultimate designer.
LabThreeOFive completed the installation, SIX, as part of its Re:Launch event. The gallery measures approximately 4m x 4m. With a single entry and exit point; circulation and flow within the gallery were important factors in the overall configuration of the design. To create multiplicity in the experience of the installation, an elegant curve was derived. This curve gently divides the room, creating one space that is intimate and another that is more transitory. The design was configured in a way that would guide the viewer around it on one side, while being drawn into it on the other; resulting in a C-shaped wall.
As one enters the space, they first catch a glimpse of the external face of the structure. While navigating around the wall, it gradually increases in height before diminishing as the viewer approaches the more enclosed viewing space. The enclosed space showcases LabThreeOFive’s product range housed in individual modules.
Exploration into modular structures led to the implementation of hexagons as an effective load-transferring geometry. The resultant module was composed of a hexagonal structure projecting from both ends of a central square shaft which each house removable 90mm x 90mm boxes for the display of brooches. The hexagons were then manipulated in size and shape to create a site-specific form. The duality of the two wall surfaces was celebrated with one being fortified in nature and the other being intimate and personal. A stop-motion documenting the construction process of the installation was projected and stretched onto the outer skin of the angular wall, engaging the viewer on the formation of the installation.
The final design consisted of 53 hexagonal modules, which were decomposed into 1376 laser-cut triangular faces held together by 3316 cable ties. The entire design and construction process took 6 days and 7 people to complete.