Melbourne design practice studio 505 has recently seen their highly textured façade for a Brisbane shopping centre come to life. The 4,000 sq m Wintergarden Façade is a complex new steel screening system on the front of a thriving retail hub and looks to engage visitors with its constantly shifting appearance.
A wide palette of hues and shapes challenged the team at studio 505 who developed their knowledge of screen geometry, cutting, folding and panelising specifically for this project. The design itself is inspired by nature, retaining a coherent identity for the shopping mall.
studio 505 explains: “Our response to this brief was to build upon the deep cultural collateral and public good will that resides in the site and the name ‘Wintergarden’ and create a radically experiential composition, a complex and beautiful study of nature, geometry and layering that communicates the rich diversity of life. It is not an ‘illustration’ of nature nor is it merely an abstract pattern. The depth of engagement with these facades lies within this irresolvable ambiguity.”
While the swirling print of the façade is aesthetically pleasing in its own right, what really sets the Wintergarden Façade apart from neighbouring buildings is the interplay of light and shadow. The folds and undulations in the panelling cast intricate patterns on the interior space in different dimensions and intensities as the seasons change and the Sun shifts on its path across the sky. At night, low resolution integrated lighting systems within the pattern illuminate the façade for the enjoyment of passers-by.
The brief for the new facades to the three street frontages of the Wintergarden Shopping Centre in central Brisbane required the creative application of a coherent identity and architecturally holistic sensibility in order to realise a multitude of intentions – to create an entertaining and engaging retail experience, a lifestyle destination and a ‘must-go-to’ meeting place and thoroughfare – at the heart of Brisbane’s city centre.
Our response to this brief was to build upon the deep cultural collateral and public good will that resides in the site and the name ‘Wintergarden’ and create a radically experiential composition, a complex and beautiful study of nature, geometry and layering that communicates the rich diversity of life.
It is not an ‘illustration’ of nature nor is it merely an abstract pattern. The depth of engagement with these façades lies within this irresolvable ambiguity.
The main visual ‘structure’ of the façade is created by the trees that run (beyond) each side of the façade. As with looking into a forest the first glimpse is of a dense complexity that is almost ‘barrier-like’. Then on closer inspection gaps appear and substantial depth is read. Details emerge and the rhythmic activity of life and light energises the scene and captivates the imagination.
As the position and strength of the sun changes from day to day and season to season so the folds, cuts and textures of the façade generate new patterns of highlights and shadows, and as night falls the lighting within the façade creates yet another reading. A low resolution integrated lighting system has been created that can change from a snowstorm through to the bursting of spring, into summer and finally into autumn, all within a single night.
Rain, sunsets, storms and fireworks are other examples of this systems expressive capabilities. In short, the façade is similar and different but never the same. As well as being functional the façade is also engaging and entertaining.
Every panel and layer in the 4,000m2 façade has a unique design that is fully expressed through the dynamic, experiential interplay between a considered but expansive palette of colours and a rich language of cutting, scoring, folding and lighting all of which coalesce as a rich, coherent, cultural experience.
Our work on Wintergarden has enriched the studio’s knowledge in the fields of screen geometry, cutting, folding and panelising to the point where the most complex elements of design and construction are converted from creative potential and idealism to practical achievability.
Viewed from the street corners at Edward and Elizabeth, and Queen and Edward the new façade clearly establishes Wintergarden as the undisputable ‘living heart’ of this busy urban thoroughfare.
- The Wintergarden facade is a radically experiential composition, a complex and a beautiful study of nature, geometry and layering that communicates the rich diversity of life.
- Every panel and layer in the 4,000m2 facade has a unique design that is fully expressed through the dynamic interplay between an expansive palette of colours and a rich language of cutting, scoring, folding and lighting.
Project name: WinterGarden Facade
Location: Wintergarden Shopping Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Coordinates: -27.469133, 153.026677
Type: Shopping Mall, Art in Architecture, Street Art
Facade Area: 4,000 sqm
Cost: AUD $6.5m
Completion Year: April, 2012
Client / Owner / Developer: ISPT
Architects: Studio 505 – 395 LITTLE LONSDALE ST, MELBOURNE VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 3000
Specialist Engineer: Tensys
Contractor: Urban Art Projects
Artist consultant: John Warwicker
Interior and Retail Design: The Buchan Group
Text Description: © Courtesy of Studio 505
Images: © John Gollings, studio505