Thanks to the contrast between the Yardmasters Building (designed by architects McBride Charles Ryan) and its surroundings, the Yardmasters Building reads a bit more tedious and fragile than it might otherwise. It’s not lacy, but describing the exterior as “jewel-like” agrees with the faceted geometries and the subtle sheen of the brighter bits, but disagrees with the darker palette of the exterior. The color is dirty and gives some grit the jewelbox sitting alongside the tracks in Melbourne.
When a building’s skin has a pattern this intricate, it is hard to understand the scale without some kind of reference. Anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting Jean Nouvell’s L’Institut Du Monde Arabe may have been as shocked as I was at the scale of the mechanical aperatures that cover the south face of the building. They’re huge. Back in Melbourne, you can see from the interior photo that the windows are larger than they appear from the exterior. The rich geometries that wrap the building are somewhere between optical illusion and disguise: a mechanism for creating mystery. The designers liken the project to a “jewel in a junk-heap” which seems like fitting place to begin a mystery.