Brown Bag No. 3: spaceagency (10 Sept 2010)

Michael Patroni and Dimmity Walker from spaceagency presented the 32 Henry St apartments (which received the Harold Krantz award for multiple residential from the Chapter this year, among others), and their own Prevelly Beach House (also awarded by the Chapter in 2010).

The apartments were based around an attitude to heritage which said 'no reconstruction' and 'this is best left as a ruin' when they approached the remains of an 1880s cottage on the site. The project has many ingenious solutions to the demands from the site and building codes. I like the way the ruin space was made into an interior which was given the feel of an exterior, as the visible services bulged out from the white volume above, like the forgotten backs of shops with ducts and air-conditioning scabbed all over them - but in white! The level of resolution was amazing, as was the brisk use of curved walls and flush-doored cabinet work (though this is obviously luxury residential).

image: spaceagency website

Dimmity noted that in their 'beach shack' they were trying 'not to be architects'. They holidayed in it for a number of years without changing it, filled it with old furniture, stuck salvaged chunks of other buildings in, asked the builder's advice a lot, and avoided creating another large holiday mansion which pervade the South-West coast in increasing numbers. Lara MackIntosh (who always asks the best questions) thought this collaboration with the builder was a great example of an alternative mode of practice, and wanted to hear more about it. There was some musing over whether this was what really architecture is, or should be. Michael noted the Henry St apartments were procured in "a very traditional" way, with a lump sum contract.

It is great that we are having brown bags again (thanks to the organisers and presenters!)


HG said...

I also liked the whimsical leftovers or insertions at Prevelly Beach House. For instance, the upside down windows that open at the bottom instead of being used for heat flushing at the top, and the limestone blocks in the garden - I imagined these would make great seats for children.

FJE said...

On this vein I liked the designed 'cracks' in the concrete patio floor, with grass (purposefully) growing in them!

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