PORT DEADPAN : THE THRILL IS GONE
Nomination, RMIT University Award for Design Excellence, Semester 1, 2017
Our frantic search for luxuries and pleasures is doomed to end in disappointment.
The cruise is a holiday, an interval into which we cram as much enjoyment as possible.
When we get off the boat this artificial paradise will be exchanged for remorseless routine.
If we never get off the boat, paradise becomes routine.
Luxurious repetition is still just monotony.
This is a 50 year chronicle of the Multi Aged Precinct.
“The single principal objective of the Multi Aged Precinct, is the definition of the social condenser of the age. Continuing where the Narkomfin Building left off in 1932, the M.A.P to be known as “Port Deadpan” will operate on the premise that architecture influenced by the luxurious facilities and stimulation of a cruise liner is one of great success. The reiterative force of social condenser theory throughout history not only attests to the power of the Social Condenser as a principle but also ensures its ability to enact its benevolent social promise over many years and in various forms.
By taking the notions of exaggerated passageways, expressive exterior egress, and long corridor arrangements of the cruise liner, it is therefore not unexpected that the precinct assumes the linearity of a Housing Commission design. The pragmatism and logic of this plan arrangement in conjunction with the resort/retirement approach gives a distinctive inside and outside to the project each projecting a different mentality; the inside exhibiting “excess” to the mainland and the outside demonstrating restraint in response to the ocean view.
The atrium as social condenser –when visiting a friend or family member on another floor, one must first engage with the community and circulate thought the atrium space, which will encase all the luxurious programming of a cruise liner including but not limited to; restaurants, theatre, mini golf, five swimming pools, two casino, Water Park, day care facilities, library, fashion boulevard and much more.
Port Deadpan will be an experiment into social housing under the guise of wealth over welfare.
The encouragement of a dynamic coexistence of activities and to generate through their interference, unprecedented events.
Interested parties are cordially invited to attend the grand opening of the precinct whereby Queen Elizabeth II will return to Melbourne for ribbon cutting purposes, to bless this astounding architectural revolution"
- Kate Smith, State Architect of Victoria*
“Over 20 years of mere repetitious frivolity, Port Deadpan M.A.P has begun to invite introspection, scepticism, self-reflection and self-doubt of her residents.
We as the body corporate, are now aware of the independent thought this social housing experiment has bred. The government will no longer dictate how we should interact with form. The reiterative nature of social condenser theory does not account for such extreme programmatic overstimulation. The failure of this precinct mandates that we as citizens be more inquisitive and rebellious against previously held norms and socially constructed codes of conduct. Thus this day shall serve as a watershed moment for the concept of multi aged precinct, as we rise to challenge the dictatorship of how we live and now we must actively choose how we interact with program, form and the like.
We must flee Port Deadpan. Our rebellion will convey the possibility for architectural innovation and sociocultural subversion, as opposed to the rebuilding and rebranding of a socialist utopia to a fundamentally capitalist society and its baby boomers.
We leave at dawn.”
- Jill Hamer, President of the Body Corporate, Port Deadpan M.A.P*
“It began with an idea –Tudor Pastiche.
A shared living lodge for Baby Boomers and their children and grandchildren crippled by university debt and high living expenses, the project revolved around image projection, and the Tudor inside was a way of exhibiting luxury and instilling jealousy to the mainland.
My family and I resided in a small pocket—Seventh Floor, 12th room to the left of the waterpark ticketing booth. It was close enough to the social condensing atrium, but far enough from the redirected 109 tram route that at night we could hear our parents’ ever increasing worry.
The idea of a luxury cruise living conjures up a sense of glamour, but there is nothing marvellous in the image of a bald-headed, middle-aged man in sunglasses who leans on the railing of a ship, staring back at the fixtures and tiled edges of one of 9 on-board swimming pools pondering his mental stability after seeing the on-board musical cats for the 47th time.
My father broke that day, and before I knew it we had abandoned the ideals of exaggerated social condenser living. We exchanged the hypocrisy of a luxurious socially equitable space for the remorseless routines of work and schooling. The impermanence of indulgence became excitement itself, and I have never since longed to return to the stationary vacay.
After the absconding of 2037, the government observed the success of the British prison hulks throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and thus the precinct was transformed into a prison. Once again, the government has assumed and appropriated an international architectural theory, failing to appreciate the subversive nature of the Melbournian.”
- Grandfather John*