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The Labyrinth and the Aedicule: inner city interventions

Part 2 Project 2003
Liam Young
University of Queensland Brisbane Australia
The inner- city village of West End is entering a phase of rapid transformation, without architectural or urbanistic preparedness. A radical increase in inner city densities requires a new architectural and urban language able to contribute to the making of the city.

The narratives of local people tell of largely unsuccessful campaigns aimed at defending boundaries from encroachment. The disappearance of public buildings and urban spaces that hold place memories were spoken of with sense of loss as having represented ‘aedicule’ like places of retreat, reflection and a secure buffer against the ambiguity of the larger urban environment.

Juxtaposed with the stories of loss and defense of boundaries were my observations of what Walter Benjamin defined as ‘porosity’ - a blurring of boundaries and an interpenetration of the sacred and profane, of private and public, of past and present to create new constellations. Porosity finds its expression in the labyrinth, which provides the conditions of possibility for unpredictable encounters in the crossing of entwined paths.

Across all scales of design, the promise inherent in the labyrinthine qualities of West End are integrated with the protection and prospect of the ‘aedicule’ to explore the possibility of creating new stories and urban languages.

Liam Young


The inner city village of West End is entering a phase of rapid growth and demographic change raising the question of emerging urban frameworks and their architectural transformation.

“Labyrinth-Aedicule” is an outstanding submission that proposes an inter-related urban and architectural project where research based tactics and strategies interact with and extend the qualities of ‘surrounding pre-existences’.

In this well-judged project – close observation, recording the storytelling of residents and cognitive maps of community life contributed to the formulation of an intelligent working manifesto.
The intention was to explore a sustainable contemporary architecture that can create a ladder of relationships between past, present and future – between the broad urban landscape and intimate interstitial spaces.

“Labyrinth-Aedicule” is both imaginative and generative in proposing an urban-based architecture where emphatic imagination informs the making of places for free association and for retreat.
In keeping with the Benjaminian framework redemptive qualities are found within objects and events that are at the point of disappearance – given an ‘after-life’ that is expressed in architectural form.

Tutor(s)

2003
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