The Strand

  • Completion Date
    March 2014
  • Client
  • Facade Architect
  • Structural Engineer
    Irwin Consult
  • Building Services
    Simpson Kotzman
  • Lighting Consultant
    Webb Lighting
  • Contractor
  • Base Building Architect
    Buchan Group
  • Building Surveyor
    McKenzie Group
  • Maintenance Access Consultant
    GDD Property Services
  • Cost Consultant
    Rider Levett Bucknall
  • Town Planning Consultant
    Graeme Dickson Partners
  • Facade Engineer
    Surface Design
  • Project Manager

Rainbow light wraps Melbourne’s central retail core in a singular gesture that explores rhythm and sequence; colour and light.

Custom fabricated glass fins form a sequential facade that extends across Lonsdale Street, Elizabeth Street, Little Bourke Street and Drivers Lane. Neighboured by the iconic GPO retail complex, the Myer and David Jones’ CBD flagship stores, and the Emporium retail development; the brief sought a design solution that would enliven and enrich the existing public realm while creating and establishing a recognisable identity for the site and the city.

Fostering studio505’s fascination with geometry, colour and rhythm; the visible light spectrum is split into individual component hues that smoothly shift from red to deep violet and back again, colouring bespoke vertical glass fins. The duality between object and void was tantamount as the facade can be viewed not just as a sequence of actual fins but a sequence of ‘empty’ spaces between. The colour of each fin effectively fills the empty space between each fin as light passes through it. The pure white backing wall behind the fins acts as a canvas; filled by ‘coloured shadows’ during the day, and illuminated at night by strips of white LED lights.

studio505 designed the new façade to create a visual counter rhythm to the towering presence of the building above. The materiality and geometry employed endows the refurbished façade with a rhythmic relationship to the converted office tower above, creating a new vertical cadence to counter the towers horizontal bands, whilst providing a diametrically opposed explosion of unencumbered colour against the rather banal black and white painted articulation of the modernist façade spandrels above.


Rainbow light wraps Melbourne's retail core in a singular gesture
that explores rhythm and sequence; colour and light.

Diagram showing typical and current conditionDiagram showing typical and current condition
Pedestrian view from belowPedestrian view from below

The typical Melbourne condition sees most pathways covered by an awning; contrary to this the Strand façade has a clear glazed section of awning made of glass, pierced by the coloured fins to connect the above and below, and draw the rainbow of light onto the street surface and the pedestrians beneath. The edge is formed in folded white satin aluminium providing both cover and a visual and spatial connection to the pedestrian below. Considering the close-up experience of the façade, and not only its appearance from a distance, has brought the human scale back to the precinct. The façade successfully creates a distinct urban character while contributing and interacting with Melbourne and its inhabitants.

A translucent awning provides both cover and a visual and spatial connection from the pedestrian to the visable spectrum facade above