Sarah Petherick


The Realm of Conversation tackles an architectural agency of reactivating the relationship between Venetians and Tourists by bringing the two together through a mutual interest of art, literature and cultural experience. Named after Paolo Olbi, Venice’s master of traditional bookbinding, The Olbi Centre of Art and Literature utilises an architectural dialogue closely linked to Venetian history and culture in order to widen perspective and provoke conversation.

Designed for a site determined by intimacy, accessibility and connection to context, the architecture is intended to be ‘stumbled upon’ or sought out amongst residents and tourists. The building is a common ground for aspiring artists, writers, bookbinders, podcasters and filmmakers to practice and display their works. Additionally, socialites and appreciators may gather to drink, meet for coffee, enjoy an exhibition or simply…share a conversation.

Externally, the building is a seamless arrangement of linear and curved forms connecting with large curtain walls and a copper mesh facade. The materials gradually become more refined as they make their way up the levels of the building in order to replicate the growing complexities of a human relationship. Flowing in a vertical direction circulation wise, the bottom level focuses on a social interaction and a connectiveness of site and occupants. Level 1 is an exploration of history and culture whilst the top level focuses on the more visual and abstract forms of communication. The interior materialistic components of this project are intended to be minimal in variety but sophisticated in application. The primary materials of timber, concrete and copper find themselves working cohesively to create calming spaces suitable for producing artistic works as well as displaying them. Material application extends to the urban activation of an indented copper drainage strip creating moments along the Rio De Le Toresie canal.

always was, always will be Kaurna land

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