Design Speak After 96 Hours Awake…

I’ve finally gotten around to watermarking and uploading my Semester 2 Architectural Design major project… took me long enough. I had the most terrible time getting this finished, including becoming very ill the day before the final crit. A 2-day extension (that I didn’t want because I just wanted the damn project over and out of my life forever – I’m not going to lie) saw me hand in at 4:52 am on the Friday. I’ve just realised that I see all the hours after 2am way more than I (or anyone!!) should.

I wrote this design spiel when I was exhausted so no judging!!… 96 hours awake and I was having 2 conversations with the people I was with… one was about architecture and master-planning, the other one was about Indians and a classmate wearing grey pants (tired ramblings). The latter conversation was as I was falling asleep mid-sentence and it was also about that time that my friends put me to bed at long last. Apparently I slept for 13 hours. Not a bad effort but I’ve done worse 🙂 I should probably say that yes, I am concerned about the long-term health effects of what we are currently putting ourselves through but right now, I’m still too tired to care… and this is 2 weeks on….

So here it is –  positive or constructive comments only please! The most critical parts of this assignment (I’m led to believe) is the master-planning element and the ability to show how the building works IN PLAN. I wish I’d had more time to work it through more rigorously but I was happy enough with the end result. Of course, my tutor had never seen it before the final hand-in so this is one of the biggest risks I’ve taken so far. Nothing to worry about, it’s going to be fine……. *cringe*

URBAN VERITE

The film project uncovered a gritty, urban space that had long since been choked off from the cityscape by the freeway structure. Its strangle-hold over the river’s edge meant a systematic degradation of the riparian; a space left gasping for breath and longing for reactivation.

The Northbank has deep scars & cultural significance enmeshed within its history. Those roots should not be forgotten. Rather, they should be celebrated. The site called for an iconic structure that reasserted dominance over the freeway and reclaimed the river’s edge as a place of culture and experience.

The architectural proposition for the space is a lightweight, seemingly continuous structure that wraps sinuously around the freeway and out into the river to form a series of public platforms and cultural spaces.

It is an architecture of inclusion that engages the freeway travellers, the existing bike and running path users, the water traffic and the wider community on both sides of the river.

From Southbank, the broad faces of the structure can be projected upon to create an ever-changing series of facades – the building envelope becomes the cinematic projection canvas. On the freeway, the drivers travel through the series of twisted ribbons, which are particularly vibrant at night, when the edges are illuminated and the building itself becomes a cinematic experience.

From the city, users are pulled to the site through a master-planned underground voyage, the tunnel entry from Brisbane square creating a visual connection to the larger structure beyond. This new devised entry is designed to heighten the patrons’ awareness of the site’s subterranean roots.

The ribbon-like skeleton is wrapped in a skin that twists and curls to create platforms for public screenings. The broad expanse of the Northbank-facing, semi-enclosed facades is ideal for cinematic screenings and the formal articulation of the ‘strangling’ architecture offers filtered rather than expansive views of Southbank and the river beyond. This is a deliberate design to draw people out onto the platforms and back to the riparian.

Integration of the ferry stop within the proposed structure aims to formalise the site as Brisbane’s northern entrance to the city from the water and as a site of cultural significance. To better address the issue of people and bicycle traffic flow, ease of access to the ferry stop has been provided by taking a dual cyclist / pedestrian path out into the river, loosely hugging the architectural lines of the structure and passing over the top of the pathway to the ferry terminal.

Through the implementation of this architectural insertion and in-depth master planning, the Northbank is reignited as a space of cultural significance. Deliberately large in scale, the building presents unique opportunities not only for this particular site but for the entirety of the northern bank of the river. The entwined, strangling form could be repeated and reinterpreted at various intervals along the riparian, creating a series of cultural hubs and a cinematic experience whether viewed from the bike paths, the water, the freeway or the air.

Wrapping  ///  Strangling  //  Entwining  //  Drawing Together

The concept evolved from a simple folding up of the ground planes in project 2 to a much more concrete line of thinking.

By returning to the film project – working through the darker nature of the site – there were several elements that needed design solutions.

The first issue was that by simply building a structure that floated on the water or rested on the bank, the real problems of the site were not being addressed.

The space is transient – people always moving through but never stopping. A destination had to be created. Northbank provided its own unique set of challenges to this… Its history of crime, the dimly lit space, the unwelcoming atmosphere, freeway noise and so on.

The building needed context, one that reflected and built upon the existing Northbank environment. The building strangles the freeway at the same time as providing an experience for all those who interact with it and those who are just passing through.

The blank, folded facades  that resulted from the folding of the ribbon like form became the obvious solution for integrating projection and cinematic technology from south bank and the soaring height needed to adequately clear the freeway gave rise to alternative projection spaces on that facades that face the city.

The internal facades offer the chance for more intimate public screenings, whilst the fragmentation of them and the act of journeying between the ribbons folds make the location ideal for film festivals or multiple live performances. It also seeks to make for a more interesting experience and invites exploration.

By having the vehicles on the freeway pass through the structure, the freeway users are not exempted from the experience. Particularly at night, the looping forms are articulated by the structure’s lit edges. Given the scale of the building, this can be seen from multiple viewpoints and each view is different.

The fitting together of the architectural volumes required a great deal of resolution, particularly when integrating the required program within the urban context. It was essential that the structure at least appear continuous, even if, programmatically and architecturally, it was not feasible.

The strangulation concept from the group film making project enabled a program that moved from beneath the freeway to past the river’s edge and into the river itself. By doing this, several means of accessing the site were made possible… a critical element in a successful urban scheme.

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