While my exchange semester in Melbourne in 2015 I was studying Interior Architecture. In the second half of the semester we investigated the building F at Johnston Street in Collingwood and it’s surrounding further. Through analysing the site we framed an intention how to interact and design the available space. Through one of my art installations in the first half of the semester, where I included and showed the outside into the inside of one of the corridors through sounds and visuals, I came across the omnipresent theme SURVEILLANCE, to which I devoted myself to for this project.

We’re constantly being watched, tracked, listened to, investigated and scrutinised. Virtually our whole identities are public information. But sometimes you still tend to forget that a lot of your life is open to everyone. Public buildings are loaded with surveillance cameras and security provisions. Often visitors of the building don’t even know that they’re surveilled. Sure is that this open concept of tracking everyone brings us closer together because everyone has access to these informations, but how close is too close?

History of the Collingwood TAFE1

The Collingwood Technical School complex, later Collingwood TAFE at 35-63 Johnston Street, Collingwood, was created in stages in 1913, 1923, 1938, 1948-9, 1950s for the Education Department. The building has been given heritage staus, contributing factores being its many long associations for the community, the inter-war and immediate post Second War wings that served as war-related training venues.

In the 20th century, the Collingwood Technical School complex developed as an alternative public centre to the former town hall and court house. The school was opened in 1912 at the former Collingwood municipal offices and the first purpose-built school structure was completed in 1913 (facing Perry St) but most of the complex developed around the World War Two era, playing a major role in retraining of returned soldiers. The school complex contains the highly significant 1938 Administration Building, with its arched Johnston Street entry bay. A superior example of international Dudok Modernism, the building was designed by the Public Works Department Chief Architect, Percy Everett.

Conversion of the building

It‘s really important that the values of the old will remain. The educational character of the building will survive as well in the conversion but it will change from an instructional into a discoverable character. The high ceilings and the natural light especially in the upper floors allows a lot of space for creative thinking and work of the artists who will inhabit the space.