St Joseph

November 24th, 2014

Formally the grounds for the Saint Joseph’s Technical School dating back to the late 1800’s the St. Joseph project is a luxury residential development situated in Abbottsford, Victoria. Due to its historical significance the site has become part of the cultural landscape within the area, demanding a highly responsive and respectful design outcome. Our primary objective was to incorporate the critical components of school’s culture and history as a celebration and balance of the past and the future – creating ‘future heritage’ for the next generation. We were interested in exploring ways to interpret and represent the critical ‘story’ that created the culture and history of St Joseph’s Technical School.

After examining the school’s historical records, we carefully selected historical photographs that best captured the schools culture and incorporated the narratives within the visual content into the architectural response. The design intent was to recreate multiple simultaneous layers of history within the articulated screens that wrap around the street frontage facades. The faceted panels create a “Lenticular Image”; an optical phenomenon whereby singular segments of an image converge at specific points of view to recreate the completed image. The observer can view multiple images to a given surface by changing their position.

The images are transferred into the facade by two distinct yet complementary methods. The first method is perforating anodised aluminium sheets whilst the second is and embossed double-anodising aluminium sheets which introduces depth into the surface of the material. Each method is assigned to each opposing direction, creating a highly articulated and abstracted outcome.


November 24th, 2014

The subject site fronts a main street to the south, a railway corridor to the east and the RMIT University car park to the north, forming three dissimilar and challenging interfaces. Although the car park is a private space it is utilized as a public thoroughfare from the Jewell train station opposite and from Dawson Street to the North. As a result, these site conditions provided for a building that is highly visible without any obstructions.

The Jewell project draws on classical design principles which we consider to be not only relevant to contemporary architecture, but are design strategies essential for good design outcomes. The rhythmic box geometries are referential variations of the same architectural language resulting in a sculptured building that evokes a strong sense of movement. As the building is experienced from the various vantage points, the building form takes on different readings. This movement is reinforced by the reflective nature of the metallic cladding that changes the colour and textural qualities of the building with the varying light and shadow of the day.

We incorporated landscaped streets and laneways within the subject site to provide spatial separation between dwellings and to enable every habitable space to receive natural light and ventilation. In addition, these separations allow the spaces to be naturally cross ventilated thereby minimizing the need for air-conditioning.

The asymmetrical forms that wrap around the edges of the building form a continuous architectural expression. The southern elevation has been specifically designed with a constructed view of the building, typical of the classical order, when viewed from the street. Vertical strip windows capture the opposing perspective providing a visual connection and a conclusion to the journey for occupants that have entered the building from Watson Street. The accented double height entry void that interrupts the rhythmic articulation of the composition emphasizes and clearly announces the entry into the building as seen from the Street.


November 24th, 2014