ARM designs ‘Portrait’ building for Carlton Brewery site

September 15, 2010

ARM’s residential tower in central Melbourne will feature a sculpted façade depicting the face of indigenous leader, William Barak.

Construction group Grocon has unveiled the design for its latest project for Melbourne: a 32-storey residential tower designed by local architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall, which will be built on the site of the former Carlton & United Brewery. The façade of the tower will feature a portrait of indigenous leader, William Barak.

The image of Barak will be created using a striated balcony design, with undulations in the shape of the balconies outlining the features of the portrait so that, from a distance, the full portrait becomes visible.

Unveiling the design, Grocon CEO Daniel Grollo described the concept as “world leading,” adding: “We hope the people of Melbourne will embrace what it celebrates as part of our culture, in the same way that we embrace the Shrine of Remembrance at the other end of the Swanston Street axis.”

Barak, an elder of the Wurundjeri tribe, is believed to have been present at the signing of an 1835 treaty with Melbourne’s founder, John Batman, and played an important role in bridging the divide between black and white Australia.

Grollo said it was appropriate that Barak’s life would be celebrated in the building’s design, adding that the design had been welcomed by the Wurundjeri tribe. “I believe they see Portrait as a fitting gesture to commemorate a great leader in their community,” he said.

The design feature of the striated balcony has been explored by ARM previously, in their concept design for the Dupain Building in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. The firm’s proposal for the harbourside commercial development featured a similar sequence of white balconies, cut away to reveal the image of Max Dupain’s photograph, ‘Bondi’. The building was designed and documented in 2005, but construction did not proceed.

Portrait is the latest design to be revealed as part of Grocon’s large-scale redevelopment of the Carlton & United Brewery site in Melbourne’s CBD. The vacant site is set to be transformed into a mixed-use development, with buildings designed by firms including ARM, Denton Corker Marshall, Minifie Nixon, Sean Godsell, McBride Charles Ryan and NH Architecture. ["Studio505’s Pixel Building":] has recently been completed on the site.

  • BT September 15th, 2010 1:11 pm

    Good to see the best architecture firm in Australia are still designing great buildings and pissing a lot of people off in the process.

    Well done!

  • hairdresser September 16th, 2010 4:35 am

    using the portrait of a great indigenous leader to mask a banal apartment building is a smart move for a practice long past its best work. no one will/needs to look too close at the plans. Barak deserves better than to be given the exposed conduit on a corner column treatment handed out to the state library square?

  • luke September 16th, 2010 4:41 am

    ripp off of Lyons RAIA Vic headquarters.

  • Bebejan September 17th, 2010 7:22 am

    Wow. How rare that a private development is able to engage with a broader cultural agenda. Well done ARM!

  • Chris Landau September 21st, 2010 11:23 am

    At least put the image on a flat surface! No respect.

  • Down South September 21st, 2010 11:52 pm

    We will certainly know what we are living in Victoria, not only Euro-Melb.

  • Alvin September 24th, 2010 10:53 am

    go check BIG’s in Yes is More, they have done the ‘portrait’ but with different faces for sure!

  • info September 25th, 2010 12:32 am

    pay the rent macca/grollo

  • Hanna October 28th, 2010 10:29 am

    It will certainly be talk of the town when completed!!! will attract foreign attention no doubt!! well done…

  • whoscopyingwho November 18th, 2010 3:06 am

    BIG Bjarke Ingels Architects From Denmark proposed exactly the same facade design for one of their project Arlanda hotel in 2007. Same ideas, same resolution, same color…. Is ARM just copying ? Isn’t Creativity their core business ?
    Please have a look:

  • groan November 22nd, 2010 3:52 am

    did you read the string whoscopyingwho? It’s actually a rehash of an earlier ARM design, that predates the Bjarke thing:

    See also The Architects radioshow, episode 21 September:

  • BIG thief February 11th, 2011 5:02 pm

    Bjarke Ingels most definitely stole the idea back in the plot days. A picture of ARMs earlier project – a couple on the beach – was given to the design team for inspiration. They could have changed it, but they decided to make an exact copy of the parapets. I worked at plot so I know for a fact. It’s more the rule than the exception that the socalled “prodigy” get’s his ideas from other offices. How sad to be accused of copying your own original idea from the thief!!!

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