The sun dips,
reflecting off the relentlessly flowing water.
I can still hear the street,
overlaid with a trickling and a rustling.
River red gums,
their canopy now at eye height,
coming to meet with a hand flour mill,
chipped and well used.
Next to it a railway sleeper,
timber greying and bolts brown with rust.
The football scoreboard peeks through between the trees;
Warburton 5 goals 4, 34.
Bricks, layered with stories of labour.
The water runs on.
In a climate of expansion and homogenisation of culture and the built environment, the continuing urban bleed of Melbourne into its surrounding rural towns threatens to supersede and suppress idiosyncratic local identities.
This scheme examines the role of architecture and the museum typology in maintaining the local identity of Warburton — a peri-urban town on the outskirts of Melbourne — through interactions with heritage, relic and artefact. The former Sanitarium Health Foods Factory, Melbourne’s manufacturer of Weet-Bix until its cessation in the 90s, is taken as the existing architectural condition, imprinted with traces of past events, practices and paradigms, and transformed into a factory of identity.
A Transept of connectivity, between symbiotic morphologies — armatures of the main street and the Birrarung (Yarra River) — holds a new bridge form which engages with existing built fabric and the land to houses programs of museological display, practice, craftsmanship and community.
Through an experiential sequencing of spaces, exhibits and contextualising views, the scheme seeks to make sense of and re-collect past traces of industry, settlement, water and power — edifices of a rural identity considered at the scale of the wider ecology, the town, the plot and the brick.
Jeremy Bonwick is a recent graduate from the Masters of Architecture degree at The University of Melbourne who started his life enamoured by the pursuit of filmmaking. After a number of successful short films, he pivoted his interest to Architecture where he continued to explore an interest in narrative through design, the creation of experiential spaces that endeavour to engage the senses and heighten perception, especially when concerned with spaces of culture and art. For him, film and architecture run in parallel.
This project explores the importance of rural life, outside the city and engaged with the land and production. Architecture is always concerned with assemblage, bringing things into being… the mentality of the peri-urban and the country is the same — of production, craftsmanship and community. Reinvigorating this sense of rural identity became the obsession of this thesis.
1. 1:75 Site Section: A connection between the Birrarung (Yarra River) and the former Sanitarium Health Foods Factory
2. 1:150 Axonometric: An internal forecourt revealed behind the scarred brick walls of the 1930s modernist brick building
3. 1:20 Section: An entry sequence depending from olfactory native forecourt, through defusing polycarbonate portal, to the bowels of the collection
4. 1:20 Section: An imprinted heritage surface as backdrop for reinvigorated community engagement and learning
5. 1:20 Section: A museum above the land framing artefacts with relevant views to site
6. 1:20 Section: Workshops on the river, finer grain pavilions of local learning
7. 1:200 Site Plan
1. A hollowed out olfactory forecourt behind an industrial shroud of existing brick
2. Museum of context, exhibits in connection to view
3. The Transept bridge, a tectonic assemblage connecting Main Street to Birrarung (Yarra)