Art as Architecture in Melbourne

Bringing art to life with sculptural architecture

Art as architecture, or architecture as art? The 2 Girls Building in Melbourne brings art to life with a photographic skin and sculptural elements that recreate Australian photographer Samantha Everton’s vivid photo Masquerade, which depicts two girls in a theatrical domestic setting.

Everton collaborated with local architecture practice Kavellaris Urban Design to mingle the disciplines of fine art, photography, and architecture on the façade of the mixed-use building. Masquerade, from Everton’s Vintage Dolls series, was chosen for its drama and theatricality, as well as its depiction of inner-city traditional domestic spaces. The building is primarily residential space, with some offices and a primary circulation space that doubles as an art gallery. 

KUD employed a range of materials and techniques to recreate Everton's photograph. Large portions of the image are laminated inside safety glass (by DigiGlass) while other elements are reproduced on de-embossed concrete patterned to mimic the photo’s wallpapered backdrop. An illuminated, three-story sculptural lamp (also recreated from the original photo) adds a third dimension.

"The project explores the relationship between the three disciplines of art, architecture, and photography, and blurs their respective boundaries," says KUD principal Billy Kavellaris. "As a result, photography appropriates architectural materiality and photography shifts into the architectural space of the third dimension. Architecture becomes photography, photography becomes architecture, and the building becomes a hybrid urban artifact within the built environment."

It’s a beautiful example of life imitating architecture, imitating art. 


Location: Melbourne

Project Area: 4,300m2

Open Date: 2014

Design: Kavellaris Urban Design

Design Team: Billy Kavellaris, Rodrigo Mateluna Sandoval (design); Rodrigo Mateluna Sandoval (project architect)

Artist: Samantha Everton

Builder: Liberty Builders

Fabrication: DigiGlass (decorative glass), SA Precast (concrete), Vitra Panel (decorative external cladding), Alutile (external cladding)

Photos: Peter Clarke; photo of original artwork courtesy of Samantha Everton and Anthea Polson Art

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