We are encouraged that in bestowing the Victorian Architecture Medal on the town hall the jury has recognised something of a welcome shift we see in what and how we value in architecture; that the judicious re-use of existing buildings can have significant impact on the public realm and enrichment for community incommensurate with the scale of the resources used.
These times call for precise and strategic thinking; a resourceful architecture that deploys an economy of means yet is transformative; that finds an ease of fit between old forms and new uses; that prioritises strategy over material change; that combines and confounds opposites – strength with gentleness; subtley with drama; creation with repair; the edit with addition.
An architecture that is humane.
Right now as we isolate in our individual homes the importance of shared spaces in which we can collectively gather and exchange is so evident. Yet unambiguously ‘public’ space is under threat and we as architects must advocate for and defend it. We are its guardians and protectors.
The crucial role of an enlightened and committed client, in this case Hume City Council, cannot be underestimated. On this project Hume has lead the way with its people – councillors, executives, project managers, citizens. We hope that the promise implied by this AIA recognition is delivered to the community, that the Town Hall serves its longstanding purpose to enrich the daily lives of its many different people and is reinforced as a place for new attachments, for new generations.
*Upon its completion in 1964 it was nicknamed the Pink Elephant by neighbouring municipalities appalled at the largesse and ambition of the newly built pink brick monolith by Forster and Walsh.
Better than a white one…
Thanks to all of our collaborators.