A Literal Glowing Beacon - Lightbox by Clare Cousins
Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Sitting amongst a sea of industrial neighbours, Lightbox is a fresh and welcome addition to the commercial fabric of Collingwood. A literal glowing beacon, the glass-block-façade is the work of the celebrated Clare Cousins Architects.
From approach its presence is undeniably felt, and the neighbourhoods’ want for something of this vernacular is bountiful. Clare Cousins Architects have cleverly stripped back the expectations of the traditional workspace typography, and reinterpreted it with a refined rigour, whilst still heavily nostalgic of its industrial roots. Located amongst the hidden laneways and backstreets of its Collingwood locale, there is a curious beckoning to want to explore the extents of Lightbox.
From approach its presence is undeniably felt, and the neighbourhoods’ want for something of this vernacular is bountiful.
Fronted with a wall of obscure glass-blocks, the approach to the site is firstly to create a sense of cohesion; between the vertical levels (which seem hidden behind the glass) and across the mass of its modest medium density stature. This purposed coming together through materiality further cements its presence. The inability to see directly into, or out of the building also aids in conjuring further acquisition, not giving away its functionality as so many architectural forms (whether intentional or not) usually do.
In contrast to the anticipated residential typography, the workplace isn’t usually a place tapping into aspirations, but instead about efficiencies and sense of the commercial. Lightbox deliberately opposes these ideals. Architecturally there is a sense that this could be a gallery. The ability for the internal spaces to be interpreted in any myriad of ways, is also what creates so many unique moments throughout.
Clare Cousins Architects have cleverly stripped back the expectations of the traditional workspace typography.
Fronted with a wall of obscure glass-blocks, the approach to the site is to create a sense of cohesion.
The nod to the industrial past of Collingwood is clear, with exposed concrete floor, a repetition in formality and a restricted palette. The use of stainless steel in the kitchen connects to the neighbourhood’s past, but also is so well articulated with such refined details that it could also form part of a retail experience also. The glass blocks allow for a sense of privacy, for both the occupants, and also from the street. The façade is then carefully punctuated with openings that allow controlled uninterrupted light in. These openings are also situated in locations to allow for an ease of subtle cross ventilation.
The inability to see directly in or out of the building also aids in conjuriung further acquisition.
The open stairwell is connected to a wall of greenery, allowing a sense of life to be brought into the space, and also to connect to the public, adding textures and layers not seen in commercial or industrial spaces. A beautiful addition to the streetscape, and a multi-function solution to both commercial and housing, Lightbox has it all.