Park Bench House
‘Melbourne – the world’s most livable city’ – (provided you have somewhere to live) The 1996 Australian census revealed that for every 10,000 people in inner Melbourne, 173 had no form of shelter. A humane city can provide its homeless with the most rudimentary shelter by building it into the city’s infrastructure – park benches, bus shelters, tram stops and so on and indeed a measure of the sophistication of a society is in how well it treats its underpriveleged.
On another level this project seeks to define ‘house’ in its most fundamental term – ‘shelter’ and attempts to expose a pressing social need within which architects can provide a vital role.
The Park Bench House can be sited in any appropriate urban environment. As an urban intervention it adapts a dual purpose – a seat during the day and a house at night. A static urban element becomes a dynamic part of the fabric of the city.
Within the limits of such a tiny programme we have made a response based on the premise that well considered architecture, even in such a humble form, can be ennobling.