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South Bank Piazza Sound Shell
by ARK atelier



Conceptual Framework / Relationship of Built Form to Context The initial brief for this tiny project was simply to enclose the existing mixing desk at South Bank Piazza in the most economical fashion conceivable in order to allow sound technicians to permanently and securely install their complex audio-visual equipment insitu. The potential mundanity of this brief was countered by the shared enthusiasm of the architect and the client representatives, both of whom firmly believed that any addition to this iconic public place needed to reflect and enhance the significance of the Piazza. Our primary constraint was that there would only be a 2-week time window within which the construction needed to be completed. In order to achieve this we designed a "shell" form which could be pre-fabricated entirely off-site and installed in less than a day, with the infill items being constructed around this superstructure in the remaining time. Program Resolution The actual shape of the shell is generated primarily by the practical requirements of maintaining sightlines and avoiding any horizontal upper surfaces which might allow people to stand on or fall from them. An element of theatricality is brought to the shell by the way in which it presents a completely closed carapace when unused but then slowly opens out using electric rams in preparation for use. Public and Cultural Benefits South Bank Piazza is a central public attraction within the South Bank Parklands, itself one of the most important public spaces in Brisbane. The Sound Shell we have added to this public place respects both the original building and the need for all public

architecture to rise above the mundane and in some way embody our collective cultural aspirations. Integration of Allied Disciplines In order to ensure co-ordination of all construction activities, we took responsibility for the construction management of this project ourselves. With this mode of operation, we continued to develop the relationships we have established with selected experts in metal fabrication and detailed carpentry and together ensured that the project was completed within the tight construction window and to the great satisfaction of the client. Cost/Value Outcome An initial budget of $40k and a straightforward structure were suggested for the project, but with the support of a very enthusiastic client we were able to produce a singularly novel outcome for just $35k. Sustainability This project embodies our ongoing critical approach to sustainability, which is focused on producing architecture of inherent quality, robustness and therefore longevity. All base materials are natural, recyclable and are deployed sparingly. Response to Client and User needs The client representative group were immediately positive about the potential of this small project to transcend its banal brief, and perhaps become an exemplar within their organisation for the joyful outcomes than can be wrought from this sort of small, everyday project. To succeed as such an example, it was essential that the project cost no more, take no longer, and work no less well than a conventional solution, and this was achieved by rigorous attention to detail, pre-planning and co-operation between the architect, client, and specialist contractors.

South Bank, QLD
ARK atelier
07 3831 2230
Project Team
Design architect: Stephen Cameron
Design architect: Stephen Cameron
Original architect: John Simpson
Technician: Clare Chippendale
Technician: Greg Foll
Technician: Clare Chippendale
Technician: Greg Foll
Metalwork: Concept Stainless
Carpentry/Joinery: Allscope Building & Maintenance
Painting: Todd Painting & Maintenance Services
Photographer: Stephen Cameron
Photographer: Stephen Cameron

Photographs by Stephen Cameron & Stephen Cameron, text by ARK atelier

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects