building the unfinished:
BAU003M Victorian Pride Centre, St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia

St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia

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Discipline

Architecture, Interior Architecture

Typology

Public Building, Culture, Office, Commercial

City

St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia

Date

2018

Status

Competition 1st Prize, Documentation in progress

Client

Victorian Pride Centre

Program

Shared work spaces, theatre, library, medical clinics, office, meeting rooms, commercial tenancies, roof top terrace, garden.

Download Media Release

Competition

Grant Amon Architects (GAA) and Brearley Architects and Urbanists (BAU) have won the design competition for the Victorian Pride Centre in Fitzroy Street St. Kilda, Melbourne. From an initial field of 18 entries, the scheme was included in a shortlist of four for the second stage of the competition. The jury selected the winning design from these second-stage submissions.

The Victorian Pride Centre will bring together Victoria’s LGBTQI community by accommodating a number of resident community organization groups. The building will be a place for work, collaboration and exchange for the LGBTQI specifically, and the Australian community in general. The building houses offices and work spaces for the resident organization groups and will include a communal ground floor of shared workspaces, hot-desking, a theatre, and a library. It will also include a roof top garden function space and an indigenous garden.

GAA and BAU conceived the building as a series of conceptual tubes that create a robust armature – a 3D infrastructure. Extracted from this armature is a series of urban design initiatives and flexible interior planning requirements that generate a surprising and accommodating series of spaces and forms responsive to the various organizations programs. The conceptual tubes fully integrate landscape, urban design, architecture and interior design, into one clear, strong, iconic building.

Introduction

be proud

This is an important project, not only for the LGBTQI community but also for Australian society in general. Given the recent positive outcome from the marriage equality postal vote, this is a building with a calling to become a national landmark. This building signifies important social progress, like the Victorian Trades Hall Council Building, which has been the site for same sex marriage celebrations in Melbourne.

becoming, complexity, and the sublime

We have sought an architecture of inclusion – an architecture of and, and, and. …and meaningful form and space full of potential and order informed from the top down and the bottom up and a robust aesthetic and rationally pragmatic and cost effective and symbolically informed and poetic and rigorously articulated and flexible and surprising and equitable and free and trans-cultural and ….

design response

a good neighbour

The building: accommodate s urban design setbacks and urban character requirements in Fitzroy Street; addresses solar access and perceived scale issues for residences at the rear in Jackson Street; manipulates the development envelope to save the existing trees in the residential area of Jackson Street; and, is shaped to ensure light and outlook from the floors overlooking any future development on the adjacent corner site.

robust armature

A raw, robust armature of conceptual tubes has been created to integrate landscape, urban design, architecture and interior design.

The extraction of urban issues and the extraction or addition of the specifics of the VPC brief generate change, encourage difference, diversity and inclusion – resulting in surprising and emergent outcomes.

connectivity = urbanity

The edges of Fitzroy Street and the commercial part of Jackson Street contain commercial active edges, encouraging pedestrian activity and providing eyes on the street.

The spaces between the programs are considered as important as the programmed spaces of the building. Circulation from the entry to the central VPC ellipsoid atrium is an exhibition-gallery; and the VPC ellipsoid atrium grand stair ensures the atrium is a great place to be, not just a space to pass through.

Consultations with local indigenous representatives has ensured indigenous cultural influences will range from small-scale details cast in concrete elements, to acts of naming; from indigenous garden to the ground floor taking on the significance of country.

learning from St. Kilda

Fitzroy Street is one of Melbourne’s grand promenades with a broad pavement and views toward the bay. Several buildings have built porticos and balconies with colonnades approaching the road edge; most notably, the Seaview Hotel and Ballroom at the George Hotel and the Prince of Wales Hotel, a home to the LGBTQI community since the 1970s. Leo’s Spaghetti Bar, with its giant pop façade spelling LEO, reminds us Fitzroy Street is a place of the night.

St Kilda’s spirit of place comes largely from its connections to the beach, the bay, and its history as an entertainment destination. St. Kilda’s architecture and landscape has responded to this unique place with exotic exuberance and romantic escapism, most notably with Moorish influences – playful and seductive, with vaults, arches, domes, cupolas, and curvilinear forms.

Conceived as a semi-public building, this landmark sits proudly within the Fitzroy Street commercial strip. A double height colonnade with a terrace over the footpath provides the VPC with a vantage point to view the street’s unique daily activity and events.

The VPC includes and then abstracts these St. Kilda traditions. This abstraction enables further interpretation – from the surreal follies of Luna Park to the rolling waves of St. Kilda beach, from Inga King’s Forward Surge to the nooks of Catani’s foreshore rockeries, from the pragmatics of the Esplanade Vaults to the iconic Catani arched bridge.

spatial clarity

The spatial arrangements in the building are clear and legible: circulation radiates from the VPC ellipsoid atrium; each floor is a clear collection of related programs, visually and spatially linked via the ellipsoid atrium; structure and non-structural fabric is clearly articulated, further explaining how the spaces are constructed and what is permanent and what is easily changed; and finally a colour scheme that clarifies the different levels in the building and a users position within each level has been developed.

community

The building has a strong identity, clearly different to the commercial architecture of Fitzroy Street, but it is also respectful of its context. It reaches out to Fitzroy Street and blurs the line between the interior and St Kilda’s street life, but also provides a secure place for the LGBTQI community. The Galleria, the VPC ellipsoid atrium, the Forum, the theatre-cinema, and roof top facilities are unique spaces for the LGBTQI community and the community in general to engage.

cost effective

To ensure financial viability, the project provides flexible rentable commercial space. Shop Front commercial tenancies face Fitzroy and Jackson Streets. The rooftop includes retractable fabric vaults, a bar-servery, and amenities for large events. A preparation kitchen is provided on level four. The theatre-cinema includes a bar-servery to enable a private operator to cater for both private and VPC events.

catalyst

Architecture alone cannot ensure certain activities happen, however, architecture can definitely stop activities from happening. This design of the VPC uses the above strategies to ensure this building is a stimulus not a barrier.

embracing difference

It is hoped this building will become a nationally recognised Melbourne icon, celebrating the LGBTQI community’s achievements and Australian culture’s progress.

Welcome to the VPC.

Public

2017

Office

Office

Shanghai

2018

Culture

Culture

Retail

Retail

Melbourne

2016

Private Landscapes

Nanjing

Public Landscapes

2000-2005

2005-2010

Playgrounds

2011

Urban Landscapes

Residential

Jiangyin

Education

Hospitality

Mixed Use

Sports

Urban Design

Kyneton

Healthcare

Hotel

Suzhou

2015

2014

Hangzhou

Structures & Pavillions

Wuxi

Planning

2013

2012

Fuding

Shaoxing

Chongqing

Kunshan

Wuhan

Hotel

Healthcare

Cixi

Ningbo

Meishan

Canberra

Jingzhou

Chengdu

Hospitality

1990-2000

Xiamen

Residential

Hopetoun

Caofeidian

Huai’an

Xi'an

Xinyu

Mixed Use

Sports

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staggering:
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warp and woof:
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shopping sandwich:
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antidote: not another ghetto city:
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at last …finally …some diversity:
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recycling and beyond
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streets as shelters, bars as amphitheaters, landscapes as playgrounds:
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exquisite corpse
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no longer drowning – waving:
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yet another point of view:
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a park for everyone and everyone in their park:
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mosaics of teaching, networks of learning:
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walled cities within a walled city:
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co-existence without incompatibility:
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clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
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space-time conflict:
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