Friday, May 30, 2008

Borrowed Facades

Since writing the below post I have been considering the idea of the 'borrowed facade.' I am curious to the extent to which it enters into the thinking of architects who design such buildings.

These were several buildings I looked at for about two years, as it they were outside my study window and I would watch them all day. Rain, sun, and night. It gave me a new respect for the beauty of modern city buildings. As someone who spends a lot of time in the Baroque in Europe I think I had dismissed the modern architecture of Melbourne completely as something I could really enjoy. Of course there is still a lot I don't like. Watch for coming soon post on the evils of balconies.

View c. July 2005 of (r-l) tallest buildings) the Southern Cross development, 101 Collins St and BHP Petroleum Plaza.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Architecture of Flinders Lane.

I often think of this as the 'art deco' lane, but it is much more of a mixture of styles. Unsurprising in any city. From Spring to Swanston..

A view of 'Milton House' a small building with art nouveau detail. As you enter Flinders Lane one is immediately struck by the presence of several tall skyscrapers. This one that towers over Milton House is simple, but at the same time it is exemplifies what I find beautiful about the skyscraper. Its simple glass facade becomes a mirror for the surrounding environment, other buildings, sunlight and clouds play across the surface. It reminds me of a phrase common to landscape design, the idea of 'borrowed landscape', when a garden, by virtue of its position, may borrow a scene of a distant mountain or the like, which adds to the garden experience. The skyscraper has instead a 'borrowed facade'

'Duckboard House' has recently been renovated and an extra storey has been added. I haven't been inside, but I rather like the effect of the addition. The simple square and vertical emphasis of the original structure, which must date to the 1930s, are in contrast to the curves of the new upper storey. Yet the contrast of curves and straight lines is not at all alien to art deco, though the asymmetry of the addition perhaps is.

I read a review somewhere talking of how the renovation has 'destroyed' another building. But i really don't think it has. If we want buildings in the CBD of a city to survive they have to be able to be adapted to new uses, which will always necessitate alterations. In this case the extension seems to have been inspired by the building, but it also responds to more contemporary trends in architecture.

I do wonder what the interior was like and what it now is like.

Some background info can be found here.

Signs. Melbourne does signs well.

Architectural detail. Foliage, swirls, bricks. Perhaps more squate than some of my favourite examples but very satisfying nonetheless. Not sure about the history of this building, will investigate.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A return to the parterre

It was my great pleasure whilst wandering through the Carlton Gardens last week to discover that they are re-creating the original nineteenth-century parterres.

The Carlton Gardens has suffered from various interventions, as many public gardens do, but perhaps more than others having been given the privilege of being the chosen site of the quite rubbish Melbourne Flower and Garden Show.

But back to the parterres. They have not yet been planted, but the shapes have been laid out. We shall see what appears in the spring.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Snapshot, Melbourne

View of St Vincents Hospital and other buildings. 19/5/2008 7:07am.

View of Cassleden Place, Melbourne. 19/5/2008 7:13am. Finished 1992.

View toward the QV down Lt Lonsdale. 19/4/2008, 7:13am.

Russell St Police Headquarters (now apartments) and adjoining Concept Blue (yes the grey one). 19/4/2008 7:19am.

Detail of ANZ building corner of Elizabeth St and La Trobe St. 19/4/2008, 7:52am.

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