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division and multiplication



division and multiplication

building and inhabitation in inner melbourne

division and multiplication

Nigel Bertram & Kim Halik

RMIT University Press, Melbourne

Published by RMIT University Press, an imprint of RMIT Publishing PO Box 12058, A’Beckett Street, Melbourne, Victoria 8006 Australia Telephone 61 3 9925 8100 Fax 61 3 9925 8134 Email: Publications Editor: Brenda Marshall Production Editor: Noè Harsel

Production Laura Harper Darius Tanujoyo Tieng Thai Ling Research Luke Bridle Soo Sing Chang Charina Coronado Jackson Fitzroy-Kelly Belinda Grant Matt Herbert Hui-Yun Jessica Jen Mira Latumahina Lucinda Mason Ratna Sanny Sjam

© School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University, 2002. Copyright of all drawings and photographs is held by the authors. All rights reserved. Except as permitted by the Copyright Act, no part of this publication may be printed or reproduced or utilised in any form by electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. All opinions expressed in material contained in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry Bertram, Nigel Halik, Kim Division and Multiplication: Building and Inhabitation in Inner Melbourne ISBN 0 86459 198 5 Printed by Bambra Press 7-9 Market Street St Kilda, Victoria 3182 Australia


It seemed to us that between social histories and heritage style-guides there was something missing for those wanting to know about the buildings on our own doorstep. This work is not intended as a ‘history’. Rather, it aims to bring to hand something immediately useful to architects and those interested in design. The buildings here are quite robust and knockabout. We were interested in their directness and builderliness, to the extent that these qualities could become part of an attitude towards design. Having been altered and modified over a long period, the buildings are certainly not in need of zealous preservation. If anything, we wanted to continue their capacity to be changed. This project would not have been possible without the energy and enthusiasm of students at the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT, both in the history seminar for this publication and associated design studios. We would like to thank them for their many insights and contributions. Special thanks must go to Laura Harper for all her extra efforts in the production stages. The work of Alex Selenitsch remains an important benchmark for us. His suggestions and comments early in the project were very valuable in focusing the direction of the research.


introduction 12 division and multiplication 16 fragments of analysis abstract and concrete boundaries elasticity orientation interval public mansions concealed divisions 15 projects 32 about the drawings 01 8 X 23 02 4 X 33 03 5 X 31 04 6 X 24 05 7 X 24 06 7 X 40 07 26 X 41 08 21 X 50 09 19 X 40 10 40 X 22 11 91 X 36 12 37 X 17 13 12 X 18 14 21 X 34 15 21 X 19 94 map guide 97 bibliography

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division and multiplication

This booklet is about dividing things, about how to divide. Architecture certainly creates separations. Is it also thereby concerned with an act of division? This research presupposes the latter as an elementary condition. At this point, we will do no more than list some attributes of what we refer to by the use of these terms. Division concerns the use of land/territory/urban space; division creates territory (habitable and non-habitable space); division is differentiation – it creates the difference between habitable and non-habitable, for example, but also the idea of this difference; division is a basic limit of both building and social existence. On the other hand, multiplication is contained within division, in the sense that dividing produces multiplicity. We would also say that division is unavoidable, even if this might sound disappointing. The alternative, a space without boundaries, is not only perhaps utopian but beyond the limits of language; we always remain in language, having to decide between one space and another, between one limit and another, not outside all limits or distinctions. We would like to discuss the above from a formal but not necessarily formalistic viewpoint, but, above all, in the medium provided by the world of buildings. But form presupposes use. Any form contains traces of how it came to be, but also of how it is used, occupied, modified, manipulated, in the present. These modifications, usages contain an intelligible quotient – our understanding of things is congruent with their value as instruments. Usages, habituations, habitations: we emphasise the cognitive value of what is presented. Through the buildings, through their materiality, in the many and varied built situations which this booklet studies, there is provided a means of thinking about actions and things in our immediate world. GROUPS Any city is made up of subdivisions of land. On this essentially legal foundation, a built fabric comes into being whose relation to the division of territory is not one of simple cause and effect. Subdivisions and buildings make a complex and interrelated whole. The richness of this manifold, and its mystery, revealed always through the study of an individual built case, and not some abstract generalisation, is the subject of this work. 12 13

A hypothetical process of subdivision would lead you to believe that the city would end up as an homogeneous repetition of similar elements. But it is interesting to note that inner Melbourne, if you look at it carefully, never actually displays this kind of homogeneity. Particularly in relation to the buildings which form the subject of this study, what predominates is a series of distinct groupings or parts. The group is not the same type of entity as, say, an urban block, but it could be a block, or part of a block, a single building, or even part of a building. Basic to the group is that it is made up of parts. What comes to the foreground in this study is the relationships between these parts. The problems are in the end linguistic, in the way that grammar can be seen as a study of the relationships between words. A group is made up of units but is not simply the extension or repetition of a unit. To this extent, the group is a singularity. A group has limits. It is not able to be extrapolated into a ‘rule’, or a city (or if it is, it immediately changes its sense). The group presupposes discontinuity. Finally, these groups are actual parts of the city, not abstract or ideal entities. The group is an event that gives rise to a separate idea, an idea which comes into being and is only possible because of the group. We can talk about groups on many different scales, however, what we find in Melbourne is that they are generally quite small. One idea never lasts too long. Regardless of the real historical and political basis behind this condition, the circumstance indicates that conflict between an incredible variety of interests is inherent in the speculative city, that it is composed of these conflicts rather than governed by a single overarching will or agreed direction. Perhaps a positive role for the group exists within this situation of discontinuity: that of negotiating differences. Groups manage difference without eliminating it. The process of division differentiates between things, and groups join them back together. DRAWING Scouring archives or building records was not how we started this research. It came out of our wandering around the city. We look at buildings, becoming aware of what is local, what is prosaic, trying not to let generic understandings blind us to the infinite variety of the particular. We think that the particular cases studied reveal certain critical things about the process of dividing and occupying space, particular qualitative dimensions of the idea of division. These buildings have perhaps never been drawn. They are outside of the drawn culture of architecture. To draw them is not simply to record evidence, but to fashion a language, a form of engagement. Necessarily, then, this engagement must be as much invention as it is documentation. The drawings are the research, produced to develop ways of studying particular issues. Our drawing in this booklet is another form of grouping. We draw things in different ways and combinations, and this itself becomes a way of finding new things. Where such buildings as these do appear in books, at the limits of an art-historical discussion, they are generally categorised in terms of style or as a part of a chronology. This discussion of style is really one of taste, but it also contains the notion of a ‘vernacular’, which is thought to lie somehow outside of style. But we are not searching in these ordinary buildings for any ‘natural’ or unselfconsciously vernacular qualities. Rather, we are trying to look flatly1 at what exists in front of us, in something like the manner of an archaeologist. The figure of the archaeologist also suggests distance, detachment from the body of history and from empathy. More so than the historian, the work of the archaeologist engages quite directly with the here-and-now of what remains. Remnants, bones without flesh: thematically, this also signals the manner of observation. These buildings are products of a lapsed history. Inserted into the present, stripped of their holistic historical reason for being, they focus our attention

more intensely on the bare linguistic elements, the manner of their composition and recomposition. What is important to us is not the historical period to which these examples belong, but the critical stance they show. Tying the subjects of this study together is a certain commonness of spirit, an ethic of design. All of them tend to rely on selection from relatively few elements. Each solves a specific formal problem through judicious modification and sometimes stubborn reliance on a limited vocabulary. Inherent in them is a tension – we would say a productive tension – between a limited repertoire of materials and ways of building and increasingly complex social groupings and situations. We looked at all this with the detached eye of an archaeologist, but also with the practical and optimistic eye of one who would like to build. Perhaps it might yet be possible to extend the field of what exists? Our approach to making openings within this field starts through the application of a precise but also interpretive type of observation to the modification and alteration of the known. The examples studied in this booklet are presented in the spirit of looking again at things which may have become overly familiar. Looking again, with unfamiliar eyes, in order to think.


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‘By treating the relation between elements as the major issue, we tried to see the object without pre-conditioned meanings and categories. We tried to look at everything flatly, by eliminating the divisions between high and low cultures, beauty and ugliness, good and bad.’ M.Kaijima, J.Kuroda, Y.Tsukamoto, Made in Tokyo, Kajima Institute Publishing, Tokyo, 2001, p.10.

Plan of Kirtland, Ohio c.1835

fragments of analysis

25 X 40 variations

One striking aspect of the New World city is its dependence upon the idea of land. Land and the availability of land represent perhaps one of its founding myths. The process by which land is divided, classified, bought and sold is of great interest to the cultural historian. However, in this study we wish to focus on its technical, physical and spatial implications. Unlike the situation in Europe, the process of subdivision in Melbourne – predominantly something administrative – was always quite distinct from the process of building. In the colonial city, building and planning are radically separate acts. Reserves for public buildings, for example, are architecturally blank spaces; Hoddle planned for a city, Melbourne, the architecture of which could not be foreseen. Nevertheless, the city was built, and we obviously experience this built reality – the buildings and the subdivision together – as a whole. In what sense, then, can we understand the interaction between the subdivision of a lot and the process of building? What logic belongs to this relationship, and what are the results and effects of the combination of these two fundamental parameters? The split between subdividing and building is not necessarily cause for concern. Perhaps it is the very separation between the subdivisional and the constructive that provides the result with its richness. In the following groups of analysis, what is at issue is a series of very particular linguistic problems. Given a limited formal vocabulary of building elements and a highly regular urban framework, the buildings in this study tend to highlight, often in a particularly dramatic way, the gaps or the elisions in this system, unresolved moments, points of ‘weakness’, as they exploit opportunities for the creation of new combinations. None of these analyses gives a definitive answer to the question of this relationship between building and subdividing. Rather, they suggest its complexity and indicate that the ‘solution’ is the possibility of yet another arrangement.

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Berlin apartment buildings (mietskaserne) Block sizes 18 X 52, 18 X 32

20 X 50 variations

100 X 200

Hoddle’s original 1/4-acre blocks of subdivision, Carlton, 1852. Urban block as theoretical schema.

The same block after private re-subdivision, 1896. Uniformity dissolved by speculation.

1896 built form overlaid on 1852 subdivisions. Unforseen architectures.

abstract and concrete boundaries

Abstractly conceived, the urban lot gives no indication of how one should occupy or use its space. Nor does it indicate the fact that each of its boundaries belongs, at the same time, to its neighbour. A singular boundary envelope becomes differentiated and shared through its relationships to other lots or urban entities. For any given lot, the perimeter boundary is the point where private property meets the ‘public’ – either as public space or as another private condition – but it is also where the built pattern of occupation is exposed (almost as a sectional cut in some cases) and where its compositional order becomes apparent. The homogenous legal abstraction of a property line coexists with the heterogeneity of physical substance. In many cases, dissimilar building elements and materials share the boundary, with their only common task being that of maintaining an alignment.

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Refer projects 01, 02, 07








Irrespective of absolute length, these long thin strips of land tend to be divided into a similar linear sequence from front to back: front yard (A), verandah (B), ‘core’ rooms (C), extensions (D), rear yard (E), outbuildings (F). This sequence, although fixed in one way, is flexible in others, and any one of the parts within the basic arrangement can be stretched to any height or depth, without altering the diagram. Some buildings have deep setbacks, some have long extensions, some have unusually tall cores. Proportion as such is not a concern, and the diagram exhibits a flexibility within its parts that allows it to ‘scale-to-fit’ the particularities of any given site or internal arrangement. The concrete divisions between building elements and limitations of structure introduce a strong sense of differentiation and directionality within the abstract entity of the lot, clearly visible in the lopsidedness of the long section, which reads as a diagram of the interaction between building methods, patterns of use, and larger-scale infrastructure.




D C D’

Refer projects 01, 02, 07, 10, 13


D’ D








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The extreme ratio between front and side characteristic of the long strip lot, when combined with the strong elasticdirectionality characteristic of these types of buildings, has the effect of making corners of each urban block quite difficult to resolve (in the absence of a large, squareish corner building type). The sudden exposure of normally hidden and mute party walls introduces a dilemma as to which direction a building on a corner should face. This is as much a linguistic as a formal or practical problem – a question of address and architectural representation, compounded by the fact that what is supposedly secondary occupies up to ten times as much surface area as what is primary. In a commercial situation, this extra exposure raises the basic issue of how to turn one address into two. Various compromise-formations make what could be described as partial or ‘indecisive’ corner buildings. Within the overall composition of this thin doubleaddress, there remains a need to include frontage for rear yards and service spaces, and often the amount of real ‘front’ required is quite modest. Street surface ends up being shared between aspects of front, side and back, all appearing simultaneously rather than neatly separated into their respective zones. Refer projects 03, 04, 05, 06

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20 X 30

20 X 30 4

5 X 30

Subdivision into strips produces uneven frontage and a dilemma of address



sign house





sign shop

garage yard house




Somewhere between the individual lot and the city is the group. If the logic of subdivision were endless repetition, there would be no variation in spatial character. In reality, however, repetition tends to be finite, and building elements themselves are equally finite. In this context, grouping increases the scale of the parts, creating a distinct image only available in the form of the combination. The grouping of more than one property creates a complex whole. Relationships can be established across and between adjacent lots, most noticeably on the level of finite constructive elements. Side access spaces become broader through adjacency, and are elements in their own right, with the opportunity of entering into a dialogue with building volumes. Interval, or the rhythm of parts and gaps, creates a new type of urban space, strung across property boundaries and invisible within the abstract repetition of the subdivision. Refer projects 07, 09, 10, 11, 12

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public mansions

Superimposition of structural divisions and bar configuration

Similar in overall size to a collection of three or four terrace houses, a hotel makes another type of group or multipleunit within the city. A range of different activities, each with its own door and its own space, is divided and re-connected through a shared bar. The presence of many rooms and many entrances in a single entity is similar to a mansion, and results from a comparable need to divide social activities. But where a mansion operates within a closed system, the hotel directly interfaces with the untold multiplicity of the street. Behind a uniform façade, in place of the relative fixity of property boundaries, interior divisions within this type of group are temporary and social. Nevertheless the container of each activity must be resolved with, but not limited to the structural dimension. This is the function of the bar – to break through structural divisions and connect the sequence of rooms of different shapes and sizes into a single functioning entity.

Public bar as a divider and connector of different activities

Refer projects 07, 08, 14, 15

The Old Colonial Hotel compared to Como House, Linden Gallery, and terrace group

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Hotel as a collection of rooms and entrances

Lincoln Hotel, Carlton

The Standard Hotel, Fitzroy

Old Colonial Hotel, Fitzroy

concealed divisions

Predominantly, the interaction between the land division and the constructive dimension has been explored as a visible thing. The buildings show what they say. But it is also true that these buildings conceal as much as they show. The reasons for this are numerous. Conflicts arise within the combined demands of social, structural and property divisions. The group as a conglomerate entity is also subject to the pressure of changing circumstances. Use may alter, but structural divisions remain, or are perhaps partly modified or even removed altogether. But each division has its own limits and parameters. Thus the relationship between a division and its expression in the object is flexible. Congruences between different types of division are sometimes a product of chance, sometimes necessity. Perhaps this flexibility and the tension it implies provide a key to the ultimately ambiguous relationship between the subdivisional and the constructional. Within the inescapable logic of division, and the exponential power of combination, concealment casts a shadow. Refer projects 08, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15

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Solid group, North Melbourne

15 projects

‘What is “familiarly known” is not properly known, just for the reason that it is “familiar”.’ G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit.

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about the drawings

The drawings that follow make no claim to scientific accuracy or historical or philological completeness. Our aim is only to suggest a set of relationships or congruences between similar or dissimilar elements. The process of editing what the drawings show has the power to modify their content. Nevertheless, this process is not wild or arbitrary. In each case, a good deal of effort has been made to record accurately the complete picture. Where there are gaps in the data, what is missing has been substituted with what we might imagine to be the case. Our criteria in most cases has been not only logical consistency, but also something perhaps more vague – experience or imagination. We considered items such as fences, clotheslines, sheds, signs, furniture to have equal value to the primary buildings as far as the use of the land is concerned. To the casual observer, the subject buildings in their present state might present a highly ad-hoc image. The aim of the process of drawings has been to represent this state as clearly as possible. Each documentary section shows three types of information: the photographic image, site plan and architectural projections show respectively the materiality, urban subdivision and dimensional aspects of the object itself. A location reference is also given to allow the reader to continue the process in the field for themselves. The isometrics show how a particular piece or segment of land is three-dimensionally divided, organised, occupied (and not occupied), built upon (and not built upon), used. Hence, this type of representation attempts to show ‘everything’ relating to the above situation. What occurs outside the frame, however, has been bracketed out. The context, the supporting environment can only be inferred, deduced. On the other hand, the absence of the context is productive. By having no context, we remove distractions and force the reader to extrapolate. Without a context we are able to imagine other scenarios or arrangements which suggest new ways of dividing, occupying and grouping these same activities or forms. The absence of context allows one to represent clearly the object as a whole without regard to its genesis and, perhaps more importantly, to show clearly the relationship between its parts. The isometrics see from all sides equally (front and back are equivalent). Often, we have deliberately not shown certain views or images which are too familiar. The drawings show things that photographs do not show, they aim to prevent easy recognition and to defer closure. Our final aim with the drawings has been to present a clarity about certain thoughts. We would suggest that it is this clarity, clarity in the description of a thought, that is productive.

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This house divides a linear site into a series of bands. On each band, a different structure and use, and the addition of these structures/uses makes the building. The Park St elevation is a direct result of the process of stacking, and reveals a lopsided section through variation of form and the activity. The building walls become part of the fence, changing from chain mesh to weatherboard to paling from front to back. The two backyard spaces (one for parking, one for garden) read as outdoor rooms and part of the overall division. The whole site is a building.


8 X 23 Location Use

Park St, Abbotsford house


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A single house occupies a particularly elongated site. The narrow street frontage is compensated for by a grand verandah, a post-hoc addition which ties together four houses built at different times. A diminishing skillion form stitches together the change of material from brick to metal cladding, which cuts the site in two. Equality of front and back suggests an alternative division of the site, or perhaps a dumbbell plan. The standard functional division between house and outbuilding is camouflaged by the strength of this material change, which the side windows ignore. Again, the whole site can be read as a single composition.


4 X 33 Location Use

Argyle St, Fitzroy house


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Corner shop with residence and garage within a single object. The whole site is occupied by building, displacing the yard space to an upstairs terrace. The requirement for maximising main street commercial frontage has pushed the building front around the corner to match the width of the original shop space inside. This symmetry around the corner exists in an tense relationship with the linear extrusion of the subdivision. The long elevation becomes an astonishing composite of a side and a front, with its upper windows mimicking an imagined four-bay building collapsed into the conventional diminishing terrace-type side elevation.


5 X 31 Location Use

Canning St, Carlton shop-house


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A similar conundrum to Canning St, except the symmetry around the corner shifts between terrace shop front and advertising billboard. The billboard, a large presence, competes with residential side-frontage for light and air. The verandah can’t seem to decide which front to belong to. The cliff-like side wall, pierced by a deep entry recess, masks dissimilar volumes behind it. This brick wall is a taut skin, across the surface of which floats a regular series of apertures and other more esoteric markings. The building volume tightly hugs the front of the site, leaving behind it a strangely vacant parking lot, as if it was planned for a smaller site.


6 X 24 Location Use

Rathdowne St, Carlton office


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Another shop-house combination, now a single residence, but each with each use having a distinct architectural identity. What resembles a two-storey verandah-front villa is alarmingly compressed between truncated main street shop-residence and garage service wing at the rear. Closer observation reveals the combination of languages within the ensemble does not always correspond to the functional distribution within. This building can conceivably be adapted into two shops, two houses, or perhaps a hotel. A red brick perimeter wall manages to convincingly stitch this diverse conglomerate together.


7 X 24 Location Use

Nicholson St, Carlton house


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Perhaps the most extreme example of linguistic confusion in this group. The attempt to combine a quasi-palatial symmetrical side front with the frontality of a traditional double-storey terrace creates a truly hybrid building. The thinness of the linguistic artifice of the side faรงade is revealed by comparing its blind party wall twin. At parapet level, the clash of languages becomes most apparent. At certain points, this building manages to completely undermine its terrace typology. The functional character of the front garden as entrance is transformed into a purely ornamental enclosed space, with a more ceremonial and symmetrical entrance located on the side. By the time we reach the backyard, the artifice of the side as palace-front has run out of steam, and the conventional vocabulary of skillion back sheds takes over.


7 X 40 Location Use

Michael St, Clifton Hill house


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The two-room-deep front block, conventionally the only part of this type of building considered worthy of attention, gains its real significance in the side elevation and roof plan where its relationship to a surprisingly composed ordering of elements across the site becomes apparent. It is worth noting the party-wall condition only runs for the front third of the site. An interesting kind of concealment is the pair of pyramid-roofed pavilion extensions, each form containing a fraction of a part of two houses, and acting as a kind of hinge between the front and back of the site. The section shows that traversing a single house means a path through multiple buildings. The idea of division is everywhere.

26 X 41 4 Location Use

Grattan St, Carlton 3 houses, 1 medical suite



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Almost like a renovation of the previous example, this group, originally four houses, is now used as three restaurants in a busy commercial street. Through a need for permeability, the renovations break down the previous hierarchical layering of space. The original front garden has been adapted into an ‘alfresco’ semi-interior which manages both to absorb the street, and seamlessly extend the interior sequence of dining rooms. At the rear, the narrow lot subdivisions have become completely effaced and an almost industrial-scale space takes over. The displacement of private rear gardens by pure service space allows this zone to merge with the service nature of the rear lane. Does the value of the residual terrace remain only as a type of commercial decoration to what is otherwise a shed?


21 X 50 3 Location Use

Lygon St, Carlton 3 restaurants


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Two buildings are pushed apart to make a shared space between them, and then re-joined by a single front fence. Unlike a conventional duplex, the shared element is a space, not a party wall (which has been pushed to the edge). The common L-shaped verandah/entrance has been stretched to the full depth of the three-room front block giving all principal rooms equal access to light and air, and setting up a continuous loop of circulation around them. The bilateral symmetry of the two houses turns what would be two side service-tracks into a shared garden, with a similar total width to adjacent living rooms. Within this unity, a low wire fence gently re-establishes the property division. Here, the problem of overlooking is superceded by the promise of a generous space, not achievable within the usual mechanical process of subdivision. Across the double frontage, four gates suggest multiple ways of entering and leaving. A house for two half-families.


19 X 40 2 Location Use

Scotchmer St, North Fitzroy 2 houses


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A sequence of pairing that makes possible the creation of unusual spaces within what are quite standard sites. The buildings here work in combination much more strongly than they could individually, questioning the standard proportion of setbacks and building elements. A solemn procession of street slabs leaves gaps of paired courtyards, providing entry to both the house proper and the rear garden directly. The overall site is divided into two halves, occupied by buildings differentiated by height, material and use. In contrast to the strong formality of the cubic brick volumes, the ad-hoc unity of backyards, fences and outbuildings, all corrugated iron and paling timber, join together to make another type of whole. A lucid tower and courtyard house combination, worthy of the attention of any contemporary architect.

40 X 22 6 Location Use

Groom St, Clifton Hill 6 houses



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Big blocks, big objects. A single large gable is seemingly indifferent to what goes on beneath it. The problem becomes how to allocate program and architectural expression within the confines of a reductive pattern. Houses are made by inserting a party wall down the middle. Shops are made by adding a parapeted front. Within the shed-extrusion, duplex houses are only identifiable through minimal decorative surface treatments on the front face. They conceal internal party-wall divisions in favour of emphasising the bigness of their form. The shops have quite a separate presence, but simply extend the sequence of volumes in the street. The equality of the large-scale elements allows one to recognise the inequality of small differences, keyed to iconography and use. One size fits all.


91 X 36 10 Location Use

Auburn Rd, Hawthorn 4 shops, 6 houses


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Three allotments and two houses. Draw a line around three dwellings and two open spaces. A double-storey, double-occupancy has a double-gable roof, while the adjacent single-storey, single-occupancy also has a double roof, but rotated ninety degrees. Alternatively, a double-frontage, signaled by a doublegable, occupies the same amount of street as a single-frontage, concealing a double-gable. A thin metal balustrade ties the two together. The opportunity of making a group in this case rests solely on recognising a chance adjacency of two similar yet dissimilar events. 1/500

37 X 17 3 Location Use

Walton St, Brunswick 2 houses


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The division of this object into three separate properties is largely disguised within a seamless barn-like volume. Groups of three chimneys, three windows, and three verandahs, each with their own meter, are the only indication of interior divisions. The end bay of this group has become unusually narrow by eliminating the front-to-back corridor and slipping the front door around the side beneath a large flat gable that rivals the main street faรงade. This site is almost completely occupied by building. Short blocks mean that rear yards have been severely compressed. The resulting single-storey complex of extensions reads like a different building, but unlike the normal terrace, the logic of division into separate properties is one of interlocking rather than simple adjacency. An almost mute object of intriguing organisational complexity.


12 X 18 3 Location Use

Drummond St, Carlton 1 office, 2 houses


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A large building made up of a collection of small buildings. A more-or-less continuous perimeter wall wraps around a series of disparate volumes and a large external space. Internally, the bar is located close to the street front but acts as a centre to four public rooms of different sizes and social types, from small bottle shop, to public bar, to large family bistro. These different rooms are topologically equivalent, each with a door to the street and the bar at one edge, resulting in a homogenous street faรงade with four identical entrances leading to spaces of different depth. Rather than having one main entrance, each activity has its own street address. Signs above each door tell the uninitiated which one to use. 1/500

21 X 34 Location Use

Brunswick St, Fitzroy hotel, residence


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This corner example compresses a range of activities and forms onto a small squareish site. Similar to the previous example, a perimeter wall wraps around and masks these internal incongruities. At some point, the internal functions of the hotel also absorbed part of an adjoining structure, breaking through its party wall. A north-south layering of structural divisions runs against the grain of the roof and the upper residential floor, and these divisions are in turn punctured by openings that join public rooms back together, making the whole interior permeable. The bar threads through all this as a horizontal band. The blatant lack-of-fit between structure, spatial division, functional use and building volumes is managed with a minimum of fuss.

21 X 19 Location Use

Queensberry St, Carlton hotel, office









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thanks to Marika Neustupny Yasmin Neenan Eva Lee

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On building types, ordinary buildings Steven Holl, Rural and Urban House Types in North America, Pamphlet Architecture #9, New York, 1982. Steven Holl, ‘Teeter Totter Principles’, in Perspecta, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1985. Momoyo Kaijima, Junzo Kuroda, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Made in Tokyo, Kajima Institute Publishing, Tokyo, 2001. Stefan Muthesius, The English Terraced House, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1982. Alex Selenitsch, ‘The Innisfail Section’, in Fin de Siecle? and the Twenty-first Century: Architectures of Melbourne, RMIT Master of Architecture by Project, Melbourne, 1992. John Summerson, ‘Urban Forms’, in Oscar Handlin & John Burchard (eds.), The Historian and the City, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass., pp.165-176. Tokyo Institute of Technology Tsukamoto Architectural Lab and Atelier Bow-wow, Pet Architecture Guide Book, World Photo Press, Tokyo, 2001. On settlement, cities, land William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, W.W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 1991. Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, Thames & Hudson, London, 1978. Miles Lewis, Melbourne – The City’s History and Development, City of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1995. Miles Lewis, Suburban Backlash: The Battle for the World’s Most Liveable City, Bloomings Books, Melbourne, 1999. John W. Reps, Cities of the American West: A History of Frontier Urban Planning, Princeton University Press, Princeton N.J., 1979. Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. and London, 1982. G. Scurfield and J.M. Scurfield, The Hoddle Years: Surveying in Victoria, 1836-1853, The Institution of Surveyors, Australia Inc., Canberra, 1995. Alison and Peter Smithson, Ordinariness and Light: Urban Theories 1952-60, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. and London, 1970. Peter Smithson, ‘Space is the American Mediator; or The Blocks of Ithaca: a Speculation’, in The Harvard Architectural Review, Vol.2, Spring 1981, pp.106-113. George Tibbits and Angela Roennfeldt, Port Phillip Colonial 1801-1851: Early Government Buildings and Surveys in Victoria, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 1989. On order, division, language Roberto Casati and Achille C.Varzi, Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. and London, 1999. Galvano della Volpe, Critique of Taste, New Left Books, London, 1991. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Routledge Press, London, 1974 (1921).

division and multiplication  

building and inhabitation in inner melbourne, Nigel Bertram & Kim Halik, Melbourne: RMIT University Press, 2002