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  The centre sites itself at the prominent site of Birrarung Marr. Nestled between the CBD , sports precinct, arts precinct and Gardens. The project has opportunities to create a very public face within a prominent and often  traversed site.  
  The project proposes a mixed use civic centre containing a small Australian landscape museum, public community facilities such as library as well as  private office and retail. The site was once made up of mainly the Jolimont rails and Bearepairs Pool. With all remnants of what once was indigenous land destroyed. The name Birrarung is Aboriginal for “river of mist” which is what the Yarra is called and Marr means “on the side”.  The name Birrarung Marr was adopted after the new design built in 2002, by TCL. Before this time it was not known as Birrarung Marr but perhaps self-consciously applied by planners trying to incorporate some expression of aboriginal presence. 
  So now we will begin our journey within the centre, starting at the Federation Square entry, often used for bus drop-offs of tourists and school groups. As we walk across this curious existing carpark landscape  we are  greeted by a large foreign object inserted within the landscape, both its  placement and material evoke  imagery of  the Australian outback. Its material qualities age with beauty as the natural world imparts its marks and stains upon it throughout its life, somewhat of a  tracing of its immediate natural  environment.  While appearing as this monolithic object within the landscape, there are moments of exposure within the façade as we view cuts mullions and glass exposed much like the CBD landscape across the large trench of train tracks. Other openings offer  outdoor balcony space for the floors above  while below an opening intrigues the  unknowing viewer within, for there are no clues or hints   visible about what lies within.  
  As we move inside we deposit our belongings within the lockers provided and continue  towards the landscape museum exhibits. A series of plinths  are revealed with  artefacts of the Australian landscape placed on top, this is a space that is all about the exhibits and artefacts themselves. The walls and roof and floor start to blur away with only down lights and strip lighting indicating a pathway to navigate through the space. As we continue through the topography starts to slope down eliciting a sense of journey with the plinths and exhibits following along with it. As we look forward we see a large heavy door once again with no indications of what may lie behind it. It is through this threshold that we continue our experience.
  Moving through to the next space we experience a dramatic change in the landscape, we are no longer in a space looking at artefacts representing the past landscapes , but are immersed within a narrative driven environment of learning. The space adopts the language of the pre-historic gondwanan forests which once stretch across the whole of Australia, and now face extinction.  As we walk across this elevated boardwalk we feel as though we are walking through the rainforest canopies as the trees humongous in scale penetrating through the roof  with no clear indication that they end any time  soon. The canopy itself is layered with elements of structure, netting and grates not only filtering through dapples of light evoking a sense of semi enclosure like that of a forest, but highlighting and camouflaging certain elements of the space with the balustrades meshing  and surrounding off-form concrete walls starting to disappear while the tree like structures texture and surface treatment is emphasized . Below we see children playing on mega fauna and running through the dense forestry, the artifacts are no longer something to simply be viewed but are actively engaged and traversed, while tree hollows act vertical circulation and spaces for groups to have talks and relax. We also note the café to the side of the space as mums and dads alike watch there kids play below.
  Walking through the forested space and into the exterior of the building, we  experience a large heavy plinth grounded within the earth as the main building behind rises above like that of Uluru and other Australian landmarks. As we look closer we note that these perceivable large trees from the space before are in fact cut stumps, and perhaps something somewhat symbolic is evoked within the viewer about what becomes of our forests and the missed opportunity to experience there everyday beauty.  As we walk past we notice that a divide has been created with the road abruptly cutting through the site dividing the proposed building and festival mound behind  from the empty flood plain below. A landscape in itself a vast desert plain within the inner cbd.    
  We move towards the stair a civic gesture like that of the Spanish steps and a fissure of the landscape itself acting as a Segway and a journey ascending towards  the building behind. With its entrance clearly visible and civic in size, it takes on an almost colonial aesthetic like that of flinders street station with ornamentation and clock tower portraying a story, all the while being somewhat distorted by its material and surface treatment.  As people move through the stair they begin to notice the walls that enclose it eroded out like that of a fire, a reference to the fire stick burning that has shaped much of Australias landscape, its geometry  allowing opportunites for informal poche spaces  to be occupied with gatherings, buskers and food stalls abound. The walls off form concrete evokes imagery of  dense forestry while its formwork having been burnt off offers the explicit meaning of its formation embodying meaning within not only the eroded form of the stair but the material and surface treatments themselves. As we ascend up we are greeted with a at first perceived as large entry but it in fact funnels down from the civic scale to the human scale inviting people within. 
  Moving within the building we are overwhelmed by the vast exaggerated space above, evoking feelings of movement , progression and transcendence to something greater perhaps a moment of unity like that of the tower of babel. It is a place of gathering and speech a nolstalgic remnant  of the speakers corner which once occupied the site.  It encourages debate  and allows people to voice themselves preaching from the pulpit above down  to the people gathered below.  While this space celebrates unity and speech It is now that a new and more sinister  landscape is revealed  As the oculus, open to the elements allows light to trickle and reflect down its tiled surface within, so does water flowing down to the recessed gutters below . the floor evokes a feeling of movement and continues the eroded theme from the stair walls within, though the walls  material properties remain the same its meaning dramatically changes , a tension is felt within the space with concrete no longer stained by fire but now by water, a glimpse of a foreign future landscape ,one in which waters rise and the coast that much of the world inhabit is swallowed. People are forced to flee and the number of environmental refugees displaced increases exponentially. It forces us to think and confront ourselves on our views of refugees and what place they have within Australia, but also to recognise the growing future conflict within our communities and perhaps this journey of unity to the oculus above is a somewhat detached reality of what is actually happening on the ground within our everyday landscapes.  While the space is emotive and embedded with meaning, it also architecturally challenges the idea of the inside outside threshold  and occupying this poche space as both a civic  and human one with nested spaces within each other serving different purposes. For it is in this large space we see an event space but to the sides bleeding out into other functions such as retail , café and dining reducing corridors and allowing the wall to not only act as a spatial divide but as an inhabitable space embedded with meaning.     
  As we continue through the building we delve down below the dome and into the vaulted  library space. These spaces  will become increasingly important as not only a community space but as a refuge. As the harsh Australian landscape becomes more extreme and heat waves more prevalent posing very real risks to the elderly, disabled and homeless.  As we walk through a sense of enclosure is felt as the walls and ceiling start to blur, while pockets of open air allow for relief from above .A crackling floor exemplifies  a contradiction within the Australian landscape while flooding above , the building is drought prone below. But hidden within is also an exploration of the new crafted landscape of Australia no longer detailed by hand but fabricated through digital technologies shown within the thin patterned balustrades and windows and while this vaulted ceiling may appear heavy and steriotomic  it is infact full of trickery thin and easily replacable.
  Continuing along this space we emerge from below the surface and arrive at what could be perceived as a murder scene of the land a wounded landscape which has become ever more familiar within Australia. Viewers are able to journey further below and inspect the polluted pool of water or continue above the the sports bars and community facilities overlooking the yarra and MCG. Though It is below that the sites true purposes are revealed for this site is nothing more than a polluted landfill, a remant of federations squares construction too expensive to move  a pile of contaminated earth was simply  created next to it and given an aboriginal name, perhaps somewhat symbolic. A strange scene is painted while we view the picturesque yet manmade yarra beyond. We  continue walking above, steel piles retain the earth while temporary buildings prop up on the land posing the question as to what happens to these large hollowed out sites within Australia once there mining resources are exhausted. This is not only meant in the literal sense but, what of the communities and infrastructure forged through these financial booms what happens to the township and surrounding towns , and what role do they play within the future landscapes of Australia. 
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