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A Whole New Meaning To A Building Face

When the light points in the right direction a face sometimes emerges on the surface of Mars, soon the same could be happening in the Australian city of Melbourne if a unique new tower gets the go-ahead.

The one hundred metre tall 32-storey building has been designed by Ashton Raggatt McDougall as Building 5 of the Carlton Brewery project to contain 530 apartments. The project is being developed by prominent local property company, Grocon.

What makes it unusual as a building can be explained by the name of it, Portrait. This literally means the fašade has a face on it, in this case that of the famous Aboriginal and artist leader, William Barak who was from the Melbourne area.

To recreate Barak's face the tower has undulating concrete balconies wrapped around it that have been sculpted to manipulate the light and cast shadows in the form his face. Of course, this will only work from some angles, but surprisingly despite the obviousness of it, it's never been done before.

As well as being an obvious piece of artwork, the use of white balconies, and shadows are supposed to symbolise the bringing together of white and black skin colours.

Despite its novelty value, it's a technology that could have a long life. Company headquarters could have their logo branded into the fašade, but likewise a football stadium could be covered in even more Nike or Adidas logos than presently.
Portrait, Melbourne
Portrait, Melbourne