THE AIRBORNE MONOLITH 

 

The Coffee Bar and Roof Terrace is situated in a former barber’s shop, and immediately adjacent to a small family hostelry that once served as a stop-off for Bianconi Coach passengers. On one hand, the design imagined subtle calibration’s between the needs of a small coffee bar whilst one the other- the challenge and intricacies of grafting a roof terrace and bar grafted on top of this structure (a protected structure) whilst required to preserve and re-work a traditional shopfront. The strategy employed for the installation of these constructed ‘elements’ was to create a floating monolithic concrete roof structure- which acts as datum line for a series of vertical and horizontal cast concrete walls set at various levels below it. The concrete elements serving as structure, surface, and furniture pieces.This language extends in to the interior of the coffee bar, with a focus on casting most elements of furniture; the exception to this is the handmade oak stools and bench as well as a blackboard for the menu, and a black glass lighting-rig frame with mirrored surfaces. A mirror extends along the entire length of the coffee bar; an After-Image of the Barber’s shop, and extending the actual space of the bar horizontally in both directions. 

 

The project has been described by Mark Dorrian as being formed through a series of approaches that might consist of a new type of contextualisng field in architecture; whereby through a ‘.....series of approaches offer a non-mimetic, radicalised, and reconfigured sense of that term. He argues that ‘these approaches look for different clues, different ways of understanding a place, drawing upon architectural possibilities that are presented by it, but that are not restricted to valorised historical images or morphologies: an approach that displaces architectural attention away from what – up until then – had seemed its natural and self-evident objects, & uncovers new opportunities out of the inevitable complexity of existing material configurations’. 

 

Design: Jason O’Shaughnessy [A537]

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