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James Ellis Bachelor of Design in Architecture


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0466 826 729 12 Rembrandt Drive Middle Cove NSW 2068 Australia

Portfolio 1. Cinematheque 2. Flinders St. Masterplan 3. Rose Bay Scout Hall 4. Innovative Bridge 5. Sustainable Student Housing 6. Steam Whistler 7. BDES0000 Student Protest 8. Architecture Revue 2013 9. Handmade


Interior Cinema Axonometric

Cinematheque BRIEF Investigate the architectonic qualities of a number of films. Use this as the impetus in the design of a number of independent architectural fragments. These individual fragments could be arranged in such a way as to imply a larger architectural entity - a Cinematheque. Site Plan

APPROACH The early stages of this project involved a vigorous but wandering investigation into the architectonic nature of film. A range of media including drawing, print making, plaster casting, stonework, painting and model making were used to help generate a rich understanding of some key architectonic qualities.

Looking Out

Exterior Cinema Plan Interior Cinema Plan Exterior Cinema Section Interior Cinema Section

These ideas developed to the point they could be acted upon, and translated into individual architectural fragments. Program was imbued into these fragments to allow their further development, however, their absolute relation to each other was kept deliberately ambiguous. The few, highly developed fragments were then positioned in such a way as to begin to describe a possible Cinematheque. The spaces in between are still not clearly defined, and the result is a fragmented, incomplete but highly evocative architectural proposition.


Flinders St Masterplan PROJECT DETAILS Location: Flinders St Station, Melbourne Size: ~50,000m2 With: Mette Christensen Patrick Marsden Rohan Goradia BRIEF Develop a Masterplan to provide the framework to reinvigorate the historic Flinders Street Station, improve its transport function and unlock the urban design and development potential of the wider precinct. Master Plan Melbourne Alley Mapping Model

Intersection Diagrams

APPROACH Our approach had four main goals: Epitomising “Melbourne-ness” Increasing functionality Respecting cultural/architectural heritage Urban integration We achieved this by mapping both the geophysical and experiential elements of the city. This mapping focused on the movements of people, and their experiences throughout different urban fabrics. This understanding of the movement of people around the site directly informed our overlay of a new ‘grid’ over the site. It became a project about streets, scale, intersections and the effects of the minutiae of architectural and urban fabric on the user.

Model Perspective

Exploded Axonometric


Diagrid Structural Layout

Rose Bay Scout Hall PROJECT DETAILS Size: 24m x 50m (1200m2) Subject: Technologies 3, Michael Muir With: Tye McBride Matt Naivasha Niccolo Vivarelli BRIEF Choose an existing scout hall in need of replacement. Design a timber structure large enough to house a basketball court and other necessary facilities.



The site, program and brief provided all the information required to answer every design question as it arose. The diagrid structure was determined by the necessity of a large minimum span and robust resistance to wind loads in many directions. Also, a desire to minimise material use made this a sensible choice. Orientation was determined by the sun and wind conditions of the site with an emphasis on passive heating, cooling and lighting options. Materials, glazing and louvres were chosen in order to help achieve these goals with a minimum of maintenance responsibility placed on the user.




Elevation Axonometric



Innovative Bridge

Draw inspiration from some kind of naturally occurring precedent to design a bridge with a span of 20m using a minimum of materials. This will be tested at a scale of 1:20, and the total weight should be no greater than 1 kg. APPROACH Short Section

An investigation into the relationship of spinal vertebrae gave the idea of a number of separate compressive elements. Through experimentation we developed these to separate tensile members, allowing us to keep the weight extremely light whilst resisting a heavy load. We made the individual compressive elements as preformed ply composites. This further allowed us to minimise the weight of the heaviest elements of the bridge.


Suspending Trusses

After Failure Individual Truss Craftsmanship

Span: 20m x 50 m (1200m2) Weight at 1:20 : 794g Load resisted at 1:20 : 220kg Weight/Load Ratio: 287 With: Niccolo Vivarelli Isabella Moran Liam Marosy-Weide


Sustainable Student Housing PROJECT DETAILS Location: Rose St/Darlington Ln, Sydney University Residents: 53 Units: 3 x 7 Bed, 4 x 5 Bed, 4 x 3 Bed With: Colebee Wright BRIEF Design housing for Sydney University students on the 30m x 45m site. The housing should be informed by research into Sustainable Architectural Practices. Individual parameters were set up at the start of the project, and success was measured against the compliance with those original parameters. Modular Complex Layers of Building View from Darlington Ln

APPROACH Our approach was to address both the near and far future when thinking about sustainability. Three ideas drove every material choice:

Loose FIt Long Life Low Impact Sustainable building requires the minimisation of energy use both in construction but especially in usage. For this reason every room uses passive methods of heating, cooling and ventilation. A good student experience is also necessary to the sustainable potential of such a building.


Steam Whistler PROJECT INFO Subject: Communications 3 With: Liam Marosy-Weide BRIEF Design an organism which could be found in the Alice in Wonderland Universe.


Splutters before Whistling

Alice Follows the Rabbit Alive

The Steam Whistler is what might happen should the Mad Hatter’s teapot come to life and grow roots in the forest. Its speculative Archi-morphis could be fuelled by a cannibalistic consummation of surrounding trees. A huge bonfire creates heat to build pressure, which is controlled and released resulting in a shrieking whistle through a number of different outlets. A scale model was made using a copper pot, copper tubes, valves and individually crafted whistling pipes. When a fire was lit beneath the teapot, it gurgled, spluttered and finally shrieked to life.


BDES0000 Student Protest PROJECT INFO Roles: Manifesto-Refiner Designer (Skeletal Shelter) Builder (Skeletal Shelter) With: Niccolo Vivarelli (Designer/Builder) Michael Baker (Organiser) And many More MANIFESTO

Installing Hanging Sculptures

Students, Tutors, et. al

Setting Up The “Shelter” Paperclip Space Frame

We believe: ​ 1. That manifestos are a good way to get people’s attention. ​ 2. Students should be consulted prior to a change in their experience, and this consultation should be in good faith.​ 3. That when an educational institution has failed its students, it is necessary for students to take matters into their own hands.​ 4. An architectural intervention is an appropriate response because: it would give students a voice which cannot be ignored; it would be a symbol of the claim that students have to their institution; and it is fundamentally constructive act. SKELETAL SHELTER A series of architectural interventions which took over the Wilkinson Building courtyard. Our structure was a shelter-folly. It looked like a shelter, but didn’t serve any function other than a delineation of space. It could be seen as a metaphor for the current state of Sydney University. Press covered the event, including SMH and ArchDaily.


Architecture Revue 2013 ROLES Set Designer Lead Actor SYNOPSIS Form-worshipping architects have run rampant in a small town straight out of a Western. An otherwise tropified saloon has been built to look ‘like a wave’. The saloon doors swing open and a floorboard squeaks. Card players and whisky drinkers look up to see a new architect in town. It’s Blanco, hya-ah! With one eye on the prostitute with a heart of gold, and the other suspiciously turned to the activities of the corrupt mayor, Blanco begins to uncover the sordid goings-on of this strange frontier town. Hilarity ensues.



Reclaimed timber base, concrete seat with beeswax finish. An exploration into the combination of different materials led to the design of this stool. Timber slats reclaimed from the ceiling of a Newtown terrace provide a point of visual and tactile richness compared with the smooth, clean concrete seat. The result was heavy and sturdy, providing a real feeling of connection with the ground which stools are so often lacking.

A desire to practice my welding abilities and the work of the South African artist Leanie Van der Vyver provided the genesis for this project. Stilts which change the biomechanical operation of the human body allow a re-interpretation of how a person moves through space. The user is forever separated from the ground.


Steel reinforcing bar, leather straps

Space Frame

Stainless steel paperclips

This paperclip space frame was the third iteration of a number of projects focusing on the potentials of mundane objects. The regularity of the paperclip encouraged its use in a regular system. With a few small manipulations, the paperclip could become a member in a space frame. The result was sculptural beyond any predictions.

This sculpture is a response to the work of J.G. Ballard. A sub-current of sexuality and violence inherent in the contoured bodywork of an old Morris Minor is explored and exposed. The extremes of human experience are only ever moments away from the banality of every day life.

Minor Ballard

Morris Minor bodywork, rubber exhaust hosing



Timber seat, steel reinforcing bar legs

This bench was designed to with simplicity of material and fixing in mind. It consists of a leftover timber step and 12 steel reinforcing bars. The only fixing is the welding of the individual legs. Small holes are drilled into the bench to accommodate the steel bars, which are held in place by their inherent tension. It is also an experiment to see how the two materials weather in tandem.


Preview portfolio for Sydney Bachelor of Design in Architecture Graduate James Ellis.