Sealight Pavilion Marks first year in Melbourne Docklands
by John Stanislav Sadar
31 December 2012
Melbourne, VIC, Australia – The Sealight Pavilion has now spent a year ampifying the experience of the sea and sky at the waterfront of Melbourne Docklands. During that time, it has become a drawing card in the neighbourhood, offering both an intimate scale and an experience of natural amenities that had hitherto been unavailable in that part of Melbourne.
The Sealight Pavilion was designed and constructed by a team of twenty architecture students from Monash University over a fourteen week period in late 2011. Orchestrated by Monash lecturer John Stanislav Sadar, the project brought together a range of contributors spanning the globe. The Norwegian practice, Rintala Eggertsson Architects, instigated the design phase of the project with a design intensive and led the four-week construction effort. Grimshaw Architects offered local expertise and guidance in managing the process. Places Victoria, an arm of the Victorian state government, was the client for the project and facilitated approvals processes. The engineering practice Felicetti consulted on structural issues. In addition, materials were sourced locally, through Australian Reclaimed Timbers.
The pavilion was intended the project to amplify the experience of natural phenomena of sea, sky and light, and establish a presence in the neighbourhood as one of the few places in which to experience these natural amenities. This ultimately took form as a pair of artefacts: a tower, which dissolves as it climbs to frame the sky, and a a cantilever, which dematerialises as it reaches out to frame the sea.
Since its construction, Sealight has not only weathered, but has become appropriated by locals. The once golden colour of the reclaimed cypress structures has now patinated to a light silvery-grey, seamlessly matching the maritime surroundings. Meanwhile, the community has left its mark on the structures, imbibing it with signs of life, just as it has charged the surrounding space with potential for creative inhabitation. Furthermore, Sealight has engendered lively on-line discussions, which have noted its human scale and the warmth it has added to its urban milieu, and have held it as an example for future possibilities for public space in both urban and rural locales.
About the Monash University Department of Architecture:
Monash University sits among the leading institutions of higher learning in Australia, and is the nation’s largest. The Department of Architecture is a recent addition to the university, having been founded in 2008. Since its foundation, the Department of Architecture has emphasised the role of building both as a form of learning and as a way of giving back to the community. The results of such engagement can be seen in the Kinglake Outdoor Community Centre that Monash students designed and built over 2 months period in 2009 as a response to the bushfires that devastated the state in February that same year. They can also be seen at the Clayton campus, where a timber-built observatory was built in 2010, and, most recently, in the Stawell Steps, of 2012.
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About Rintala Eggertsson Architects:
Rintala Eggertsson Architects was established in 2007 by the Finnish architect Sami Rintala and the Icelandic architect Dagur Eggertsson. The office bases its activities on furniture design, public art projects, architecture and planning. Their work aims to strike a balance between the natural world and the human-built world, bringing them into contact. They aim that their work must be specific to the site, and yet communicate universally. Thus, site is one important element of their work, as is a concern for the waste of contemporary society, as exemplified in the BoxHome of 2007. Rintala Eggertsson Architects is based in Oslo, South Norway and Bodø, North Norway.
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John Stanislav Sadar, PhD
Lecturer in Architectural Technology and Design?Department of Architecture, Faculty of Art and Design?Monash University, Caulfield Campus?Art and Design Building?Bldg F, Level 2, Room 2.15?Caulfield East, VIC 3145?Australia?T: + 61 3 9903 4029?F: + 61 3 9903 1682