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Mount Street, Heidelberg

The nature of modern life dictates the division of time into smaller and smaller segments. The journey to and from work is often measured by minutes and seconds, rather than hours. People carefully organise their lives into segments of time modulated by their unique and individual timetables. As such, the experience of the station, the bus stop and the taxi rank is accompanied by a heightened sense of time, both its measurement and its passage.

Such public spaces also represent the convergence of many different timetables, a condensation of daily activity into a confined moment in space and time. In such circumstances, the opportunity would appear to exist for heightened interaction between people, yet the reality is that, despite this proximity, such public spaces often yield surprisingly little personal contact between people. While somewhat smaller, people’s personal bubbles are usually more impenetrable.

Within this context, the design offers an opportunity for the relaxation of private space, and for the evaporation of personal barriers. It is designed to arrest one’s passage through the park, an opportunity to pause and linger, a moment of detachment from the vice like grip of the timetable. Contained within this short interval of inaction, is the moment to observe others and for a greater sense of connectedness and participation within a larger landscape.

The work is a long, sinuous extrusion of form and light that meanders across the site, gently pulling back the sloping terrain and retaining it like a hairpin. Embedded within the concrete form is a series of light emitting diodes (led) that display text and graphical messages that move across the face of the form, animating the site. A flat forecourt paved with compacted granitic sand is created in front of the low concrete wall, allowing for activities and events to be held within the space.

Client

Banyule City Council

Year

2002/03

Awards

2004 Commendation Award in Design, AILA (Vic Chapter)