Melbourne University Boat Club by Lovell Chen

Melbourne University Boat Club by Lovell Chen

Architects: Lovell Chen
Design Architect: Kai Chen
Project Architect: Milica Tumbas
Project Team: Joanna Ooi
Client: The University of Melbourne
Builder: Winna Parker Pty Ltd
Photography: John Gollings
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Acting as a ‘bookend’ to the Edwardian boatsheds located on the southern bank of the Yarra River, the Melbourne University Boat Club confidently completes a diverse collection of façades. At ground level, an innovative ‘boat compactus’ system efficiently occupies the limited site – the upper levels provide an array of formal and informal spaces that seamlessly flow through the existing building.

© John Gollings

In keeping with neighbouring architectural heritage the scale and form of the new structure achieves a harmonious spirit. Internal volumes are manipulated by strategically located voids, accomplishing a successful spatial display. Views through interior spaces connect both the landscape and the adjoining heritage building – a wonderfully integrated assemblage.

The building conceals an internal voluminous three levels while giving the appearance of a two-storey building. The use of vertical timber slats disguise and protect generous amounts of glass and provide the ability to freely compose the building’s fenestration and the clever concealment of external balconies.

Sensitive detail and consideration to setbacks has culminated in a building that avoids dominating its contextual heritage, while mastering a complex set of design objectives. This building is an enduring contribution to the public sphere, expanding the future of the boat club’s activities.

© John Gollings

© John Gollings

© John Gollings

© John Gollings

© John Gollings

© Geoffrey Barton

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