The following piece by Frank Godsell was originally published in the September issue of the Critical Australian Review of Architectural Criticism (Australia).
When Elly – our eldest daughter – was seven, she disappeared into the bowels of Flinders Street station. I was not initially worried; our family has a cross-generational knack for spatial awareness; an unerring ability to locate ourselves whatever the terrain. Confident that she’d be able to orientate herself and fold herself back down to our schedule, I left the station and spent an hour or so at the National Gallery staring at the space where the Weeping Woman used to be.
But an hour passed, and Eleanor didn’t re-appear. (more…)
The following is a guest editorial by prolific critic and reviewer, Simon Harrison – originally published in Critical Australian Review of Architectural Criticism (Australia).
“…Yes. I agree. It is entirely possible that future generations will regard our actions with contempt. But, gentlemen, we need to steel ourselves against such fears. In the end, we must do what is required to maintain the Australian way of life, the safety of our cities and the prosperity and strength of our great nation. It may be monstrous, but it must be done!”
Lieutenant General Alexander Seddon, Transcript, Australian Commonwealth Police Wiretap. September, 1970
The recent Capathetical Competition has sparked interest within the firm, and led us, once more, back to the archives.
Ideas of Australian identity and Australian ownership are becoming increasingly tortuous. Our major cities are some of the largest in the world – not simply in terms of gross area, but in population. A long-standing debate has centred on our continued ability to provide sustainable stewardship of our natural resources; on the actual ‘carrying capacity’ of our territory. The entire debate is idealogically coloured – the lowest population estimates are couched in a vision of a hyper-fragile landscape, ill-equipped to handle even two-dozen million on the fertile coastal margins – the high estimates appear to be hangovers of the late-colonial era; positing a nation of a hundred million; a global player and a bulwark against expansionist attitudes from the nebulous asian north.
Design Architect: Frank Godsell Project Team: Frank Godsell, Dmitri Massinof
You think Laika was lonely?
Spare a thought for poor Gagarin – twenty days in a tiny, claustrophobic capsule, with only a purloined balalaika for company. Twenty days before that first, almost inaudible report as another metal bauble nosed its way into the crooked gap between the steel sphere of the life-support capsule and the eight-faced jewel of the retro-rocket.
The Amerikano, Alan Shephard, in the tiny conical flask of Freedom 7. He punched through to Gagarin’s cosy coffin in a matter of minutes. Neither of them were de-orbiting – spot welds and oxy-acetlyne cuts would work well enough to hold in the air.
Somewhere, mouldering away in the State Government Archives, are row upon row of near-featureless filing cabinets, dating from the glory-days of the Melbourne Metropolitan Tramways Board. For the main, they contain little more than the dull minutiae of everyday, bureaucratic activity – minutes, missives, memos. But one cluster holds something dramatically different; thousands of tightly coiled wax paper documents.
It’s this latter collection that we really should be thankful for. While G&C’s local archives are prey to the exigencies of conversion – of transfer from blueprint to any number of mutually incompatible software formats, on any number of broken or compromised media – this collection preserves the original blueprints of the trams and systems that have colonised our city for the last century.
June, 1980. Melbourne’s city circle tunnel, grossly over-budget and years overdue, finally approaches completion. Sadly, this belated finish would also put paid to one of the city’s most novel additions to the public transport network.
In late 1978, Godsell & Corrigan had been invited to design an interim tactic toward the provision of a ‘city-circle’ – a method of transport that would anticipate and formalize approaches for the slowly approaching city-loop. Their solution was – and remains – one of the strongest and simplest urban gestures to ever be employed at an infrastructural level; a 6 kilometre long interconnected chain of carriages, an endless, continuous tram encircling the city centre.
There has been some confusion as to Godsell & Corrigan's association with other Melbourne-based architecture practices. For the purposes of absolute clarity, Godsell & Corrigan has no affiliation with any of the following practices:
Kerstin Thompson Architects
Minifie van Schaik
NMBW Architecture Studio
Jackson Clements Burrows
Denton Corker Marshall
Fiona Winzar Architecture
Andrew Maynard Architects
Paul Morgan Architects
The Rexroth Mannasman Collective
Simon & Freda Thornton
Peddle Thorp Architects
Greg Burgess Architects
Sean Godsell Architects
de Campo Architects
Robert Simeoni Architects
McBride Charles Ryan
Harrison & White
Edmond & Corrigan
Peter Elliott Architecture
Ashton Raggatt McDougall