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A Guide Book to Whimsical Development

Part 2 Project 2009
Zuzana Kovar
University of Queensland | Australia

proposition >
01 density - densification occurs via the constriction of area and consolidation of functions, rather than the unrestrained
spread of building mass.

02 public space - public space compensates for the restriction of built space, accomodating occupation as an extension to
internal space.
the plateau - plateaus allow for civic structures, which support public space and act as visual markers in the landscape.

03 program - as a result of consolidation of functions through densification, it becomes necessary to address conflicting
relationships between adjacent programs.

04 urban character - the design of a building of civic function that sustains and contributes to the form, scale, material
and grain of a significant inner city suburban cultural centre.

rationale >
as an inner city suburban centre, paddington is subject to increases in density and continued development. despite existing controls on development, precedents exist within the area of inappropriate responses to scale, street frontage, form and grain. the proposal thus seeks to demonstrate a
civic scale building, that responds to densification that is sensitive to the existing context both culturally and architecturally.

Zuzana Kovar

A guidebook to whimsical development in Paddington

This project for a series of programmatically diverse buildings and forms is proposed for two sites in the demolition control enclave of Paddington in Brisbane’s inner west, whose landscape is characterized by a chain of connected ridgelines that unify the dominant urban condition, noted for the eccentric ‘perching’ of small single-level timber houses and shops on steep hillsides.

The proposal concludes two semesters of self-directed research examining the impact of changing density controls, which have placed unprecedented pressure on existing urban patterns. It raises questions concerning the sustainability of the urban structure and speculates on the nature of an appropriate architectural response to landscape, urban form and cultural context.

The diverse programme, includes a small amateur theatre, hostel, cinema, studios and gallery, kindergarten, commercial unit development and sex workers facility is the result of original and detailed demographic and sociological research of the enclave. This work is coupled with further research culminating in a detailed urban design analysis report. The report examined development controls and tested density models in order to define and locate suitable sites that would support and confirm the proposition.

A decommissioned electrical substation, downgraded suburban Fire Station and abandoned service station were strategically selected to speculate on a revaluation of civic-scale buildings.

The study is successful in many ways. It demonstrates skilfully how existing character; scale and form can be deployed to inform a new and highly inventive formal language. The repertoire of forms developed in the project is an attempt to seriously consider how the local ephemeral vernacular might be re-imagined at the civic scale combined with materials and technology appropriate in achieving this ambition. Particular constraints of the local hilly topography have been used to curate a multiplicity of scales in the architecture of the project.

The result is an exemplary, elegant and eclectic resolution of the project aims. The provocative and complex formal experiments showcase a mature and competent design sensibility brought to bear on a compelling contemporary urban problem.

Douglas Neale
Course Coordinator


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