- Article by Online Editor
- Architect Yongpen Shen
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The Art Wall in Southbank is the final year project completed for the Master of Architecture Course at RMIT. Located at the junction of the Sturt Street arts precinct and the Westgate Freeway that passes under it, the site is an open space in the street formed by on-ramps to the freeway.
The project stretches along the length of this free space, containing a mixed-use building with an emphasis on arts programs. An art library and studio/gallery spaces would exist along with residential and commercial space. The approach in the design is to view Southbank as a theatrical mix of small, sculptural buildings and very large developments – especially apartment towers.
The enormous facade facing Sturt Street is articulated by a series of indents drawn from nearby architectural fragments. These are conceptually pushed into the wall to form a series of deep niches and vertical courtyards, with some pushing right through to form holes in the facade. To the rear, the building is heavily vegetated on a series of terraces, creating a buffer to the harsh freeway environment below.
Drainage is often the forgotten workhorse of the building and design function. Yet drainage maintains a simple albeit vital purpose.