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    New book from ARM Architecture uncovers the mysteries of their projects

    Nathan Johnson

    From the firm that brought you two of the most polarising projects of 2015, comes a new book that could give insight into the driving force behind one of Australia’s most celebrated—and occasionally execrated—architecture practices.

    ARM Architecture, recently responsible for the public-dividing designs of Swanston Square apartments (“Portrait Building”) in Melbourne and Water Tank House in Port Melbourne, just announced the release of its first major monograph: Mongrel Rapture: The Architecture of Ashton Raggatt McDougall.

    The title of the book, ARM says, is indicative of its content.

    “It’s a crossbreed of content from numerous architects, writers and photographers,” says their media statement. 

    “It’s a coffee-table monograph, a manifesto, an opinion piece, a history, an object of design…It has essays, interviews, architectural drawings and, from Melbourne’s most prominent architectural photographers, hundreds of images.”

    “For a while there we got a bit obsessed with plastic water tanks, as you do, everybody did…” Howard Raggatt p 406. Water Tank House by ARM divided opinions on its look and sustainability credentials. Photography by Aaron Poupard.

    While its focus is on the works of ARM, the book’s contributors list is formidable and includes the likes of Charles Jencks, Leon van Schaik, Harriet Edquist, Conrad Hammann, Naomi Stead, John Macarthy and Vivian Mitsogianni.

    It has been designed by renowned Australian graphic artist Stuart Geddes, and contains QR codes that point to exclusive digital material beyond the book’s pages, including drawings of all of ARM’s major public buildings, conceptual animations and audio material. 

    “We tease out the weave of the grid; the lines begin to move. We imagine a frayed edge along the torn hem of the Yarra, we tied off the loose ends at Federation Square.” Mark Raggatt p1186. Photography by Eddie Jim.

    Mongrel Rapture will also include interactive puzzles of ARM projects that you can cut out and assemble into models for yourself. But at $89 a pop, ARM has advised that you download the puzzles from the internet and print them out rather than cut up your book’s pages. 


    "One of the things that makes ARM unusual, I think, is that we do talk about architecture and that we don’t rely on the idea that architecture speaks for itself, that the work speaks for itself, the building speaks for itself.” Mark Raggatt p 66. Pictured: ARM Directors (L to R): Stephen Ashton, Tony Allen, Howard Raggatt and Ian McDougall.

    The book can be purchased here:

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