Alter Atlas

Then & Now

The Nature of Communal Architecture based on the Great American Songbook


Project Data

Year - 2011

Scope - Maquette, Concept Design

Scale - 400mm x 400mm

Location - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Material - Balsa Wood

Photography - Daniel Herrmann-Zoll


The Great American Songbook is a communal construct representing a diverse repertoire of enduring songs. The maquette is a physical manifestation of this communal nature and also an exploration into a communal architectural language.

The maquette questions a relationship between 'then' and 'now', and addresses the issue of change that might be seen through popular music. We think this gap between then and now is not merely a static relationship but a relentless exchange between the past and the present. Like the movement of humanity and its values, it is a continuous movement forward. A movement that none can grasp completely. Analysis and studies of history constantly shape and influence the present, while the present is constantly crystallised into history. It relates to the moral philosophy that things change, but things remain the same.

The maquette reveals an investigation into ways to engage with the present. The value of moving forward, a relentless movement, symbolises a sense of freedom and wilderness that we believe in.

The nature of an exchange between past and present then ceases to become a mere relationship but the very ingredient for a cultural, multi-ethnic melting pot.

This is the very nature of a communal architecture.