Family With his father as both client and mentor, architect Raffaello Rosselli has created a unique workspace, designed to challenge our perception of recycled materials.
TROLE AS THE CLIENT. It was daunting at rst, where Luigi was both my father and client, but also a successful architect and mentor. But we worked well together, our shared interest in recycling and material re-use gave the project a strong direction. My enthusiasm for experimentation was well balanced with his many years of experience, which meant that we could push each other to create something really special. WHAT HAS INFORMED AND INSPIRED YOUR ARCHITECTURAL PHILOSOPHY AND AESTHETIC? I have a strong interest in material re-use. Construction waste makes up almost half of Australia’s land ll. Material re-use is the best solution – it reduces land ll and has little-to-no embodied energy compared to other materials. By using a material in a unique way we wanted this project to challenge people’s perceptions of used materials, and for it to be a role model for future projects. On top of the environmental bene ts, a re-used material has a past and character and helps imbue the building with a feeling of history, grounding it in its place. IS THERE A COMMON ELEMENT OR APPROACH THAT RUNS THROUGH ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR WORK? All of my projects include a deep exploration of materials. The most successful/popular have been using recycled materials in unexpected ways. I have had people hitting the brakes when driving past the Beehive and my earlier re-use project the Tin Shed in Redfern (which retained the rusty tin of the existing shed and installed a modern interior). Buildings for so many are an unseen backdrop, and l like projects that challenge and expand people’s interest in architecture. At the same time I want my projects to respond to the site and immediate context, which stops a project feeling alien in its landscape. WHAT INITIALLY APPEALED TO YOU ABOUT THE SITE OF THE BEEHIVE, AND WHAT DID IT ENTAIL? As an empty site the design reacted to its context, the terracotta tile brise-soleil screen was required to lter the harsh western sun the building faced, and we loved the paperbark street tree which encroached on the empty lot, so that
the design embraces and curves around this tree, creating a strong connection between the building and the street. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE COMPLETED PROJECT? I currently work from the building and nd that it’s an idyllic space. We look out through the delicate terracotta facade into the canopy of the paperbark tree, where lorikeets congregate and sing. The facade casts a dappled light and allows the windows to be opened wide as it restricts gusts and provides a tempered breeze, naturally cooling the building and connecting the of ce with the environment around. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN ELEMENTS? While we laboured over every element of the project, from developing bespoke steel windows, marble oor tiles and brass lighting, the project’s soul is its terracotta tile facade. This was unique and we developed a system that was economical, functional and striking. IS THERE A PARTICULAR ARCHITECTURAL ERA OR STYLE THAT RESONATES WITH YOU? I draw on in uences from all over – from the stepwells and forts of India, to the traditional tropical architecture of Asia, contemporary Latin architects who have explored the brise-soleil, as well as Le Corbusier’s expressive use of complex curves and geometry. WHICH DESIGNERS AND ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE? I admire Kengo Kuma’s practice and the way in which he manipulates and multiplies simple objects to create an ordered but complex architectural language. I am also drawn to furniture and object designers such as Max Lamb who rapidly interrogate and push the boundaries of how materials are worked and perceived. I see furniture and sculpture as being at the forefront of design thinking, as architects who work at larger scales, constraints and timelines are often having to play catch-up. WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE COMING
YEAR? ARE THERE ANY NEW DIRECTIONS OR DESIGN CHALLENGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURSUE? I am working on a mixture of scales of projects, from small public pavilions to large houses. I am also exploring some ephemeral projects that bridge architecture, materials exploration and sculpture. rdotr.com; luigirosselli.com