2017 Inception Award | Respite from Modernity


A public project by nature, Respite from Modernity is designed wholly for the enduring commuter and our future of a city dwelling society. Tightly woven into the Brisbane heritage corridor and responsive to the environment, this pedestrian only passage is a place of reflectance and sanctuary to support those who make the city a society. This project’s intention is to instil a sublime vision of the built environment and inspire a cathartic rhythm through experience. The familiar irritants of daily life seem less significant as an invitation for self-assessment and self-awareness is presented. As the undeniable grind of modernity captures the individual, the proposed force of disruption assists the user to manually steer the automatic compass that aligns each foot step like a magnet to the pavement. And when one can begin to gain control and to steer back onto ourselves; one might access respite and a moment of peace.


Respite from Modernity is a theoretical concept to portray the Sublime in a built form to stimulate the user experience of Catharsis, to provide a transient and accessible refuge from modernity in form of public space.
The concept of Sublime is a mental experience, upon sighting or feeling something that is greater than the self, such as power and force of nature and/or power and force of a higher power. The object or thought fills the mind totally, and is perceived through all senses.
Catharsis was primarily defined in the arena of theatre, a way of manipulating and guiding the audience through a story. To which the concluding moment is the final relief from an extreme series of felt emotions. This purging of emotions cleanses the mind to keep it in a state of balance.
These two elements laid down the foundation for the built form to flourish, using the Sublime as a translation to architectural language and the Cathartic as the internal human engagement.
To further strengthen the concept, the concept of Sublime as the physical manifestation was overlaid on to exemplar projects that portrayed characteristics of the sublime through strong use of horizontal and vertical planes. From this, three conditions emerged:
1/Strategic site consideration
As this project demands a site that is public by nature, Post Office Square has been selected to test this theory and be further developed with what existing conditions within the site and the surroundings from an urban to human context.

This project aims to add value to the public realm, as such The Brisbane City Masterplan 2014 has been analysed to deduct any impact to the site. A compilation of planned aspirations that form development restrictions is listed below, this will help shape the constraints and opportunities on a public and social based context.
1/City of Opportunity: Central Station has a large development potential, as well as the surrounding sites, to create a ‘grand arrival’ of the vision of Brisbane as a New World City.
2/Ceremonial Precinct: Redevelopment of the built form to maintain and enhance visual physical connection between central station and the cathedral.
3/Subtropical Heritage Loop: Using iconic heritage buildings to create destinations that interact with the urban environment through wayfinding, landscape and public realm revitalisations.

These three values linked back with the conditions listed early neatly merge into a combined set of rules:
1/Strategic/City of Opportunity – Arrival point with connection to primary pedestrian only venue to the city via central station
2/Guiding/Subtropical Heritage Corridor – The urban environment uses wayfinding, landscape and public realm revitalisation methods.
3/Narrative/Ceremonial Precinct – The celebration of ideas that the site & urban context represent, a celebration of self & renewal.
After these definitions were set, the built form was carved out for each rule, sharpening and honing after reach milestone was achieved. By using vertical & horizontal planes and the manipulation of scale, the design language embodies the concept of Sublime. The result that was formed from this extensive research and master-planning exercise creates a secure, restrained and benevolent addition to the pounding city heart of Brisbane, and for the society that constantly contributes and changes it, and into the future.