City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

In thrall as I am to the idea of buildings that move, transform, alter their shape or composition, I was drawn to this fantastical sketch in the latest issue of rather enjoyable Australian architecture magazine Monument (#81, Oct/Nov 2007). It’s not actually a moving building – just a building inspired by sense that it might be able to reorganise its constituent parts to fit its context.

The magazine briefly mentions Mulloway Studio’s three-storey residence, designed for the tight, post-industrial environment of Port Adelaide (which was evocatively dubbed Port Misery by the first European settlers, by the way). It’s a complex little structure, comprising its own mixed-use microcosm of commercial tenancies, public space and residential space above, but also attempting to play with the idea of the Australian home – the sketch even has a Hills Hoist. The brick, drawn from the historic warehouses of the local surrounds (and their European forebears), is appealing, as is the fact that it’s urban, mixed-use and medium- to high-density. (This issue of Monument focuses on residences and shares some of the issues I explored in the recent A+U on the same theme, but is far more balanced in terms of urban developments and shared spaces.)

Leaving these qualities aside though, I was drawn to the little sketch accompanying the text, perhaps indicating how the architects had arrived at the idea of the vertical garden. They’d drawn a suggestive fantasy involving the entire front section of the house being slipped off its ‘hinges’, with the back garden hoisted up into the air, replaced and propped to enable increased density. Monument describes this last section thus:

"An east-facing perforated brick screen reinterprets the suburban garden as a vertical plane that mediates and filters light and air, maximising cross-ventilation and illumination."

Forgive the hasty reproduction, but here’s my sketch of their sketch.


Mulloway Studio
Monument magazine


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