Friday, 25 July 2014

Progressions - Futures For Melbourne's Architecture - The Commons

I'm guessing that I am not the only one that laments the amount of ugly buildings across Melbourne, badly designed, incorect placement, huge cement heat radiators that serve only to make our other more appropriately designed structures shine all the more.

I believe that architecture is fundemental in influencing how people move, and intereact and that architechture and building design must be more carefully construced taking into account our climates and geography.  With the wealth of knowledge now available on correct positioning for passive heating and cooling and the mistakes of our 70's builds we should be pushing ahead.

 I heard about the Commons Building in Brunswick from a fellow poster who was lauding it for its integration into the gritty environ in which it was placed, the former graffiti nexus of the upfield line. 

 What I didn't realize was that this building was also awarded the Victorian Architeture Award for both apartment living and sustainability. 

   This building has forgone das auto( residents get carshare and yearly myki with bodycorp fees), saved $750 grand from having a basement carpark and instead spend this on solar panels, bike parks, double glazing, and a wealth of passive energy saving features.  Moreover the search for cheaper options has not been to buy more Chinese stuff - it has been to cut the crap off, get rid of the tiles, thick mass, glue, grout, clay etc, and use thin steel instead, recycled materials, etc.  External deciduous creepers have been utilized to provide summer shade and winter light.  To me this is everything great in Melbourne, the hunter gather aspect salvaging from what we have and creating something progressive, something to take a stand against the run of the mill buildings skyrocketing up across the skyline, full of heavy materials, highly reflective heat gatherers and archaic designs.

  The future for Melbourne deserves community oriented design and architechture.  No more sprawls, shopping centres for suburbs should be three story, you live above your shop, and more pests live above you, no more drive to work. Small centres all accessible to the other centres, areas where individual cultural spots can develop and nourish each other, limit the cars divisive powers by relegating it, learn from our mistakes.  So much can be done.  I'll save some for more posts later.

Since I got back in Melbourne a few years ago I was always thinking how great it would be if some of the well designed apartment towers and complexes that were going up along Smith St and around the more affluent areas ( where the architure and design was subject to progressive ideals and had to confirm to strict principles in line with the exisiting structures) - {and overlooked by a strong community}, if these buildings were put into somewhere like hursbridge, creating a microcosm, everything within walking, riding or public transport access.

This is our future after all, the decline of das auto is enivitable, our horizons must shrink again and the village will once more rear its much needed head.

Below is the interview on The Commons

Some more stats here.

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