Studio leaders: Simona Falvo and Dayne Trower
Located 31km east of the Melbourne CBD, The Basin is a small town nestled within the picturesque foothills of the Dandenong Ranges.
The longest established institution in The Basin community is the Salvation Army, who purchased 219 acres of land, collectively referred to as ‘Eden’, in 1897. ‘Eden’ was founded with the vision that the therapeutic value of farming could help rehabilitate young offenders. Over time, a collection of ‘homes’ were constructed on the site and today, the Basin Recovery Centre of the Salvation Army provides support, recovery and rehabilitation services.
Along with this significant site, The Basin also comprises a series of peculiar, yet quintessentially suburban, intersections with buildings including The Basin Theatre, the Romanian Seventh-Day Adventist Church and a main shopping strip that Robin Boyd would have referred to as an exemplar of “cultural cringe”.
However, there is much to be celebrated in these characteristics of inconsistency clear in the vernacular of The Basin, and more broadly, many of the suburbs operating on the outskirts of Melbourne. Here, what reigns is an idiosyncratic pragmatism that challenges the elusive architectural paradigms of proportion, truth, arrangement and beauty.
Basin investigates the formation of The Basin township as a case study of suburban vernacular in order to explore how architecture can navigate the complex terrain of site, identity and memory in the context of the ordinary. Basin questions and responds to places where often unseen, conventional details found in the existing landscape - roads, carparks, retaining walls and kerbs - are characteristic of the composition of a public ground plane in which the land is continually rewritten within the parameters of these artificial modifications.