James Russell Architect

Brookes Street Office North

Brookes Street Office North is grafted to the northern corner of a 19th-century heritage-listed Methodist Church in the busy inner-city suburb of Fortitude Valley. The idea embraces the neighbourhood of which it has become a part. It is a model for occupation of inner-city voids. We work under an open sky; we gather on the edge of the lane and read and drink within the ground. Crafted masonry by Elvis Rose grows from porphyry foundations, making a staircase and floor for gathering. The cave within the structure houses books, wine, and a cards table, and is accessed by ladder. A steep, slender stair between the existing church and buttress leads upwards. Arrival into the elevated working platform reveals a hidden deck receiving the sky. I work with the sun warming my back and a breeze across my contented face. A sweeping timber desk and a series of solid timber shutters construct the perimeter wall: hard native timbers that we worked ourselves. It holds memories of the land from which the trees came and recalls the journey of its making. The open deck and adjustment of the façade allows the office to breathe in sounds and smells from this neighbourhood. External glazed awnings and a weatherproof curtain offer protection from inclement weather. Actuators, pulleys, and cables sit taut waiting for our next move.   COMPLETED: 2009 PROJECT AREA: 38m² DESIGN TEAM: James Russell, Lucas Hodgens & Patrick Ozmin BUILDER: James Russell, Lucas Hodgens & Patrick Ozmin PHOTOGRAPHY: Giacomo Rosselli   AWARDS: AIA Regional Commendation, 2009 AIA State High Commendation, 2009 IDEA National Commercial Runner Up, 2008