Saturday, September 25, 2010

CarriageWorks, Sydney

Carriage Works #1

Carriage Works #5

Carriage Works #3

Carriage Works #2

Carriage Works #4

Carriage Works #6

Carriage Works #6

Recommended by an architect friend in Sydney, I had the privilege to visit this piece of beautifully conserved architecture tucked inconspicuously at the south west of Sydney city (well I got a lil lost finding the exact location of it). Located in close proximity to the intersection of central rail tracks, CarriageWorks was once a railway workshop complex built between 1880 and 1889. You can see traces of rail tracks as you cross the roads, as well as bays complete with huge steel beams hovering over high volume spaces, the walls stripped off to reveal their original brick-laid infill. This place is now a home for contemporary arts and culture with large theatre spaces and galleries, to me a perfect programme to suit the site. Each programme is nailed down on the location map by the track and bay number, a reminiscent of the previous use of the building -- how brilliant! What I loved about the interior space was this elegant balance of rustic material from railway workshop and the latter programmatic volume. I totally loved the cafeteria at one corner of the building -- a raised timber platform to demarcate the use against the backdrop of the new off-form concrete wall while large yellow steel beams hovered above the space, the traces of this huge mechanism a stark contrast to the finer scale of the coffee tables. Too bad I was in a rush to sit down and enjoy a sip of mocha.

More info and location of CarriageWorks here.


Apologies for the lack of update for a good 9 months. We've been busy with thesis, post thesis, job hunting & settling down with the new jobs. But hey,


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kampung Kali Chode, Yogyakarta Indonesia

Kampung Code
view of the village from the bridge

Kampung Code
2 completed houses with freshly coated paint

Kampung Code
Kampung Chode at night

Kampung Code
the beacon of the village - the multipurpose hall built in the unique A-frame style

Kampung Code, Yogyakarta
houses under construction

Kampung Code, Yogyakarta
houses under construction

The pro-con team was part of a group of 13 youths, Building Lives 2009, who recently went on a mission to rebuild the houses at Kampung Chode, a humble village hugging the banks of Chode River on refuse dumps. An Aga-Khan Award winning project, the architecture of these squatter houses detailed the aspiration of the architect who fought to upkeep the life of this village -- originally reputed to house poor, unhealthy, undesirable groups of people outcast by the society. Hence, on countless times, the settlement tittered on the fear of being demolished. Connected by intricate alleys and terracing steps (with extremely steep ones too), the houses were simple, functional and unique. The structures were lightweight (consisting of timber structures and bamboo woven walls and windows) and were raised above ground on pilotis due to poor soil conditions. Interestingly, these raised platforms allowed livestock inhabitants of multi-coloured chicks to roam about, and were temporary shelves for villagers while they cooked or did their washings. Despite being on actual site for only full 7 days, we completed 2 houses (that could house 4 families in the double storey structure), and given them fresh coats of colour. We grew to love the village: we go to know the names of the giggling kids who would sit by us when they came back from school sipping their cyan blue drinks (I later learnt from one of the girls that it was blueberry), we bought pineapple tarts & butter cookies from the housewives who baked in the makeshift kitchen at the multipurpose hall, we knew the friends of the chicks and sort of knew where they belonged. City folks like us tend to romanticize the 'kampung' lifestyle, thinking that dipping our legs in the river and strolling down river banks are ideal getaways from the bustling city life. Yet seeing old folks climbing up steep stairs or sieve through rubbish wastes and make do with just that handful of belongings is painful. Or merely watching children walk happily barefoot in our construction site while we were heavily guarded with protection gloves, masks and shoes makes me realise that disparity which exists in our clouded ideal world.

Thus, in many ways, they built our lives too.

Some original project details of this village:
Architect: Y.B. Mangunwijaya
Site: under the Gondolayu Bridge
Design: 1983-85
Site Area: 3,600 sqm

Drawings' source to be verified.