TERROIR imagine the world as already full, as a complete set and therefore imagine architecture as being an act of modification rather than imagining the world as half empty and requiring the addition of new objects.
Our role then is to take what we find and re-configure it, transform it, alter it, manipulate it. In this re-configuration process we aim to accentuate experiences of this place through the architecture (what it looks like, what it feels like to move through, what you imagine it would be like to touch...Ruskin actually wanted to taste architecture) unravelling the onion layers of a site's inherent character and its history as a set of spatial encounters. And then we add something new, a proposition about the future (or at least the present).
At the Patrick Street site we were confronted with a 1970s bank building with a strong textural material palette (exposed brick and exoskeleton concrete frame) and unique double height building envelope in the existing banking hall.
The site itself had four distinct characteristics: one side faced Mount Wellington and West Hobart with views to Henry Hunter's St Mary's Cathedral; another faced the city, Derwent River, and the eastern shore; one fronted onto a fairly in-tact early 20thC section of Patrick St; and the final side of the site faced north providing a sheltered and sunny micro climate at ground level. Instead of ignoring these conditions, or worse, working at odds with them, each unit responds to its unique condition.
One set of units are mezzanine units each with double height volumes facing on to courtyards at ground level and the sun. Another set slot in between the existing structure creating three storey units with views to the mountain. The interiors of both these sets reach back far into the existing structure.
At the point furthest from the window we created 'nest' or burrow like spaces tucked away and protected with correspondingly darker colours and materials, a protected niche from which the space opens out to the larger landscape (the sky in the case of the mezzanine units, and the hills in the case of the others). The remaining units in the existing building face onto Patrick Street - the existing building provided a successful contribution to the streetscape so changes are small-scale on this side.
The final act was to provide a new 'plug on' which deals with contemporary construction techniques and materials (precast concrete) in a matter-of-fact way picking up on lines and volumes of the existing and exploding in a super-graphic bar code treatment of the eastern facade. In these units internal courts are created to make sheltered out door space rather than leaving people with useless wind-pounded balconies.
Photography by Brett Boardman