ARCHITECTURE Lonsdale Street Footbridge The Lonsdale Street footbridge, otherwise known as the Myer connecting walkway or the ‘appalling two level Sky Bridge’ (Carney, S 2009) was facilitated in construction by architect Ashton Raggat McDougall in 1993. Originally the Melbourne based artefact was subjected to controversy over the principle being that it crossed over a main road, however it has also opened up a new standpoint for interpretation in a symbolic architectural sense. As the main material is glass, the bridge allows for pedestrians to see out to the streets below them whilst also the buildings above, the view from the top communicating a particularly symbolic message about the city of Melbourne. P Hubbard (2006) builds on the notion of a vantage point at which a city is looked at from above in his book ‘Cities from above and below’. Hubbard’s argument is based on the panoptic view, which allows the conceiving of a city in which many of the potentially disturbing conceptions of an ordered city can be blurred and instead be seen from a positive street life perspective. In essence Hubbard concludes that the view from the top is a romanticised version of the facets of life on ground level and therefore unrealistic, thus making a connection to the Myer/ Melbourne Central footbridge in a symbolic sense. The Myer/Melbourne central Lonsdale street footbridge brings to Melbourne the opportunity to continue a classic retail experience with eradicated disruption from the city floor. Whilst pedestrians cross the bridge they are interpellated with a feeling of superiority and class when opposed to the feeling of claustrophobia and inferiority at ground. Along with the sense of escape from the realistic essence of street life, that the footbridge brings to Melbourne comes the fear of decline in street culture that the city prides itself on. On a totally different scale in dimension The ‘Calgary Plus 15 system’ can be linked to the Lonsdale Street footbridge with the concern of reduction in street life. The Calgary Plus 15 system is the name given to 57 skywalk bridges over 16 kilometres in Canada’s Calgary Alberta which connect not only shopping malls however, residential properties, dining facilities, sporting gymnasiums and hotel emporiums. The notion of feeling connected is interpellated within the crossing of bridges. Whilst Calgary on a incomparable scale connects facilities of all types, the Lonsdale Street bridge acts under the same principle connecting
shoppers to hospitality sites, and entertainment options confined within the Melbourne Central Mall walls. Editor Sean Carney of The Age 2009, distinctly expressed his disparagement of the sky bridge that ‘befouls the street view’ in his article ‘A piece of history is demolished for a slice of retail sameness’. The bridge is not a wonder piece of design excellence however its functionality and physical context including multipurpose uses for displays ranging from fashion to display‐housing models should count for more, as all good designers know, to be aesthetically pleasing is one thing but to be functional and to have the ability to be used in more than one way, is better. Alex Grivas ‐3285253
The Block Arcade The Block Arcade was designed by Twentyman & Askew, and is located at Elizabeth and Collins Streets. The “architectural design [of The Bloc Arcade] facilitated new ways to display and purchase fancy goods.”(Parsons, D. 2010) The very fact that the Block Arcade displays such expensive and fashionable items gives it’s vistitors a feeling of superiority in that they can afford such prestigious items, and awe that they are in the presence of such an establishment. First opened in February 1892, the arcade not only gives residence to expensive and desireable products, but houses varying architectural features modelled on arcades “developed in European cities such as Milan, Paris and London.”(Parsons, D. 2010) The Block Aracde specifically takes inspiration from the Milano Galleria Vittorio Emmanual arcade in Italy. Melbournes very own Aracade features skylights, wrought iron decoration, stained glass windows and mosaic tiles. Each architectural element within the Block Arcade works together to create a specific mood and affect the behaviour and mindset of its visitors. Such elements include size, width, lighting, temperature and flooring. Each of these components work together to create a slice of Europe that can be experienced and enjoyed by shoppers and browsers. The mosaic tiles are an important architectural aspect in the Block Arcade. The mosaic tiles help “break up the monotony of lengthy malls or walkways” (Casazza, J.A, Spink F. H, et al, 1985) and add to the distinguished European feel of the Block.
The bright lighting in the Block Arcade flows from the ceilings and the electric lamps that line the walls. The bright lighting is well suited to the activities that take place within the building. “Requirements for illumination…must be based on the activities being designed for, as well as the intended psychological and visual experiences…desired in those spaces.” (Lang, J. et al, 1974) People need to be able to see the items they might be purchasing, and people enjoy being able to survey and analyse architectural features, which can only be done well with sufficient light. Furthermore, brighter lights affect peoples’ moods, as people are generally more likely to feel energised in spaces where the lighting is bright, while dim lighting tends to make people feel relaxed. The stained glass windows are also a key feature to the design. The stained glass windows add vibrancy and colour to the building, giving it an aesthetic appeal that regular windows would not have been able to deliver. This adds to the European aura of the Block Arcade, as stained glass windows appear in many European cathedrals and churches. The design of the Block Arcade ensures that it is well ventilated. Fresh air floods through the entrances and circulates within the building. This helps create a lively mood, as the cool air tends to invigorate and energise people. This is more desirable than an over heated building, for if the Arcade were over heated, people would begin to feel sluggish and tired. To conclude, the style and design of the Block Arcade mimics European architecture. As a result, the building creates a feeling of sophistication, class, and superiority within the minds of those who enter it. Elana Julia Monteleone‐ 3286242
City Lights on buildings This artefact is located at Yarra riverside where links to Flinders street station, Southgate and Federation Square, presents a part of Melbourne’s inner‐city landmarks and riverscapes. The city seems likely transformed at night, usually is visionary then inspires people to imagine and contemplate the city with a different appearance. In other words, light could be seen as a build form, which helps the city temporarily transform out of daylight into the other artistic and more attractive place. Overall, the city light does not only present the
city’s design or architecture aspect but also it shows the actual life at night, the connection between the city and with its citizen and other cities. In the design aspect, the light architecture is considered as a new creative material. It is about more than illumination of buildings, following Saunders (2009) the use of light to create architectural effects and the city at night is not only a place for sex, drunk or other midnight pleasure. However, the city itself needs black, grey scale to balance the contrast. Without them, people can never learn how to love the light. Furthermore, the article points out interestingly the communication between light, urban space and people lives. We‐ people should learn how to use the light more effective and in fact, more and more people are aware of light and they also become aware of the city as an accessible place. On the other point of view, the city light helps to present Melbourne as a modern city that offers opportunities. In fact, Melbourne attracts many immigrations and it becomes a multicultural city with many different languages and foods, life styles. According to the article ‘Melbourne‐is their life after Florida?’ (Berry, 2009), a dynamic fast‐growing city region can manage to attract and keep creative workers and entrepreneurs and growth depends on the collective and cooperative of people who work/live in particular place. Otherwise, in the highly integrated and competitive world, growth depends on the collective and cooperative of people live/work in particular cities. The level of development, economy, civilization, modernization is clearly shown through. Related to Florida article (Berry, 2009), light offers hope for prosperity and opportunity for work and betterment of one’s life. Even though Melbourne is artistic and modern city, it keeps on finding a particular identity (Dovey, 2005). What Melbourne needs is not only a public place but also it must be important of communication perspective between the city and its citizen or other cities. Federation Square now could be seen as Melbourne’s identity where the lights depict Melbourne as a welcoming city to all. Moreover, in terms of symbolic nature of lights, lights communicate safety, that’s obviously we stay away from dark alleys and a city is full of light usually more believable. Minh Y Nguyen – 3223636
The Sandridge Bridge The idea of giving old spaces new life or new meaning is a design practice favoured throughout the city of Melbourne. If you wander around the town you can see this love of renovation and rejuvenation is extremely evident in the stylized laneways, converted church
spaces and old architecture framing the landscapes. Melbournians are keen preservers of tradition yet also embrace individuality; therefore design professionals are often finding the balance between nostalgia, modernity and convenience. The transformation of the 1880’s coal carrying railway line, Sandridge Bridge, is a prime example of design principles mixing with a city’s values, postmodern architectural theory and multiculturalism. Today, the Sandridge is a footbridge carrying pedestrians to and fro the Southbank precinct and Flinders St. Station over the Yarra River. As people cross the landmark they pass 128 glass panels revealing immigration statistics from countries all over the world. As businessmen hurry to make the next train, or tourist amble across the river, eyes flitter over the number of Sudanese who fled in the 70’s or Italian families seeking peace after World War Two. Melbournians footfalls mimic those of the immigrants who made the same journey from homelands to foreign Australia. ‘The Traveller’s Project’ bridge symbolizes the walk undertaken by those immigrants who now comprise a large part of Melbourne culture. The bridge concisely summarizes the theories of Michael Zimmerman (2009, p 162) by proving commonalities exist between postmodern design theory and multiculturalism. Echoed in the bridge, post modernism and cultural diversity share the same foundation values; not all buildings and spaces need conform to one style and that architectural practices need not mimic modernity. As discussed by the City of Melbourne council (see City Council site, 2010), the redesign of the bridge serves an important purpose‐to communicate visually with the city’s inhabitants and to be utilized by another generation of Victorians as a meeting place of different cultures. ‘The Traveller’s Project’ reflects Melbourne’s strong belief in maintaining multiculturalism and the importance of recognizing how immigration trends have helped shape the city and influence design practices. Design ultimately is seen as the creative solution to a problem. Good design efficiently communicates with its target audience. ‘The Travellers Project’ was designed by a Lebanese artist, Nadim Karan, who applied the same basic design principles to his work with the bridge. The target audience being everyday civilians meant the transformation of the bridge required a certain appeal to ensure it was noted and message conveyed. As Foster (2009, p22) highlights, landscape architecture, like the Sandridge Bridge, aims to create imaginative outdoor environments that are responsible and sensitive to both aesthetic and ecological issues. Because the bridge is public space, the redesign balances aesthetics, functionality and usability.
The bridge remains in essence a bridge, whether it be carrying coal or people, on foot or by train. However nowadays, it has been redesigned as a functional aspect of Melbourne city architecture which serves to highlight the importance of our cultural diversity. And as Foster (2009, p26) emphasizes, design aims to “create places with purpose... we want to come up with a design that says something about the space of that site; creating a contemporary design extracts all the qualities that are special about that place, because every site is special.” Tayla Gentle – 3238500
Reference List: Carney, S 2009, ‘A piece of history is demolished for a slice of retail sameness’, The Age, 29 July, viewed 17 April 2010, < www.theage.com.au/.../a‐piece‐of‐history‐is‐demolished‐for‐a‐slice‐of‐retail‐ sameness‐20090728‐e02h.html> Hubbard, P 2006, Cities from above and below, course reading from COMM2411, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 14 April 2010, RMIT University Learning Hub. Hallswoth, A 1988, ‘Downtown in Canada’, International journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Volume 16 Issue 4 Page 26‐28 Published by MCB UP Ltd. nd
Casazza, J.A, Spink F. H, et al, 1985, Shopping Centre development handbook 2 ed. ULI‐the Urban Land Institute, Washington, D.C. Lang, J. et al, 1974, Designing for Human Behaviour: Architecture and the Behavioural Sciences Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross Inc; Pennsylvania. Parsons, D. 2010, The Brief History of The Block Arcade The Block Arcade Melbourne, Viewed 14 April 2010, http://www.theblockarcade.com.au/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&id=2& Itemid=90 Berry.M, Melbourne‐ Is there Life after Florida?, Urban Policy and Research, vol. 23, no. 4, p381‐392, December 2005. Dovey.K, 2005, Federation, Fluid City: Transform Melbourne’s Urban Waterfront, chapter six, p93‐261, University of New South Wales press: Sydney. Saunders.A, 2009, City light, the Nation Reviewed, the Monthly August 2009. Foster, K 2009, ‘Landscape Architectural Design’, in Becoming a Landscape Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design, Wiley, New York, pp. 22‐27. Zimmerman, M 2009, ‘Globalization, multiculturalism and architectural ethics’, in Architecture, Ethics and Globalization, ed. Owens, G, Routledge, New York, pp. 154‐172. City of Melbourne, 2009, Sandridge Bridge Precinct Redevelopment, City of Melbourne, viewed 11 April 2010, http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/AboutMelbourne/projectsandinitiatives/majorprojects/pages/San dridgeBridge.aspx