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Tunnel with tendrils: Grand Arbour, Brisbane, Australia by Denton Corker Marshall.

Photos: Christopher C. Hill.

The Brisbane Southbank is a cultural highpoint, not just for the city, but for Queensland and Australia.

A former industrial area of the city, located along the south bank of the Brisbane River, has been transformed over the last couple of decades with a string of superb arts and cultural institutions, many housed in fine quality buildings. Institutions of this quality and quantity are seldom found in far larger cities around the world.

However, to some degree, the Sounthbank lacked cohesion. The subject of a competition to address this concern, the Melbourne practice of Denton Corker Marshall conceived the Southbank Grand Arbour. It unified the gardens and landscaping along the river, and provided a shady route for people to enjoy the climate – full of flowers and colour. Read more

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Cult workshop: L’Atelier by AAVP Architecture.

Photos: Luc Boegly.

The ever evolving notion of the library as place combining a range of cultural activities, has found another expression in the L’Atelier. A cultural workshop designed by AAVP Architecture, in the town of Gournay-en-Bray, France.

Built on the site of an old factory, the project has sought to reconcile a number of existing buildings, with new structures and landscape. The composition also incorporates views and street frontage into a cohesive whole. It was a formidable task, elegantly executed. Read more

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A corker: Inrou; carrying case by Ryosuke Fukasada and Rui Pereira.

Photos: Ryosuke Fukasada.

Portuguese designer Rui Pereira and Japanese designer Ryosuke Fukasada have combined traditions from both their countries to create “Inrou” a cork backpack.

Ancient Japanese garments lacked pockets, so valuables were carried in “inrou”, small pocket boxes that contained medicines and small items of value. They were suspended on the wearer by string. In Portugal, traditional cork containers, known as “tarro”were once used as insulated boxes to preserve food.

This prototype builds on both those traditions.

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Anybody there: Asylum photos by Dan Raven.

Photos: Dan Raven.

Not so long ago, there were special buildings where they took you if you lost your mind. Asylums, as they were known, were usually hidden from society – remote and secluded. They served to hide a problem on society’s behalf as much as to deal with it.

The idea was to protect both patients and society from the effects of mental illness by looking after the sufferers in a secure institution, with specialist medical help. But often, asylums did more damage than good. In the UK and other countries, asylums were generally closed a couple of decades ago, in favour of care, or sometimes lack of it, in the community.

The photographer, Dan Raven, recently came across an abandoned asylum that inspired him to search for others. His photos give us a faded glimpse of life inside such institutions. Read more

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Halfway housing: A renovation of a Modernist Classic.

They became instantly iconic when Dutch architect Piet Blom’s Cube Houses were completed in Rotterdam in 1984. With 38 small cubes and two so called super-cubes, they have become a much loved feature of the city, and have been in constant occupation since completion.

Recently, the buildings have enjoyed a top to bottom renovation and are once again are looking splendid. Read more

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