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.

1 comment:

  1. Some interesting thoughts there. I share your fascination with this area of the city. I've seen some old photos of this section of Flinders Lane and it looked very different to what it does now. The building at 32 Russell Street is fantastic. I have tried to research it myself but the Melbourne City Council's heritage studies are sadly lacking.


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