Fawkner administration building
The Fawkner Administration Building is the new headquarters for Fawkner Crematorium and Memorial Park in Sydney Road Fawkner. The building houses 30 operational and financial staff as well as providing the main arrival / information point for cemetery visitors. Specific areas have been created for people to arrange funerals with staff as well as space for the Trustees and for the resident cat of the CEO. Located beside the main Sydney Road cemetery entrance, the new building was constructed alongside the previous administration complex (now demolished) so that seven day week operations were not interrupted. The building is partially elevated above ground over a basement car park, and the interior allows for some degree of expansion in staff numbers.
The architectural form of the Fawkner Administration Building reinforces the north south axes of highway and railway line. The form responds to the specific conditions of the resulting east and west aspects. A wall of polished concrete panels with glazed gaps between each panel provides a monumental noise barrier to the highway whilst a deep perforated metal roof overhang shields the interior from glare and heat to the west.
In plan the linear arrangement allows for visitors and public space at the north entry end with access for staff at the south end. The plan arranges stores, meeting rooms and toilets along a central services spine with management offices facing Sydney Road and open plan office areas facing west.
By contrast, public access and car park ramps punctuate the long north south building form on east west axes. The form of the building is an expression of linearity and extrusion but with an articulation of parts that are in a kind of slippage. The row of concrete wall panels slip out of alignment with the north and south walls, whilst the expressed box of the office space pushes beyond the roof at the south end. The floor plane hovers over the ground plane using the visual device of a recessed plinth whilst the roof plane is articulated separately from the lower walls with a recessed spandrel enclosing the roof space in black colorbond. The roof plane abuts the concrete panels but is visible through the gaps between them whilst on the west side of the building, the roof sails out 3.6m clear of the curtain wall and curves down toward the ground to assume a new identity as a perforated shade screen.
Inventive problem solving, material choices and detailing abounds, making the macro and micro layers of this building a delight to experience, engage and discover. In summary it is an exquisitely considered and resolved building, which has managed to inject a commercial facility with that rarest of commodities – soul.
Graham Burrows – Jury Chair
- 2005 AIA Architecture Award Commercial New Category
- MONUMENT. ISSUE 71. 2006. ‘DEATH AND A SALESMAN’. By Martyn Hook