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Social Void

Social Void is a reflection on; and response to, a continuing movement lead by neo-liberal policies to privative public space, assets, and amenities, transforming spaces of commons into site of exclusion and corporate accumulation.

The project investigates Melbourne’s city square as a case example of this, where in the late 90’s, a large portion of the publicly owned land was sold off to Westin Hotel Chain and a variety of programs which the square hosted became privatised or lost. Social Void reclaims the space as a public entity once more, and repurposes the structure to cater for a variety of neglected social functions.

To achieve a reconnection with the public realm, a large atrium is cut into the centre of the former hotel, creating a band of vertically organised public space around the void and organising the program to either side of it. The structure is architecturally altered to provide a contemporary exploration into communal social housing, utalising the former hotel rooms. A deconstruction of the structure on the other side of the void to creates a vertically organised sports and recreation facility, promoting community connection and integration.

The building is retrofitted with reclaimed infrastructure which was formerly ideologically tied to capitalist production and consumption in the context of the city, such as the crane and escalators, and refits them to deliver social functions within the space.

The project was a self directed practice based research project within the context of a final master’s studio, Punk Buildings, led by Eduardo Kairuz.

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