ANZ Centre artwork



ross mcleod + raphael kilpatrick


Victoria Harbour in Melbourne's Docklands is characterised by its distinctive architecture which houses corporate headquarters and high-rise apartment complexes. These forms of contemporary architecture are defined by the creation of complete privatised interior environments that provide a range of amenities within the building itself. Many of the ‘campus-style’ corporate headquarters are designed around a central internal atrium which host common shared and ‘public’ spaces, informal break-out areas, meeting rooms and a range of cafés and food stands that cater for their staffs’ every need. High-rise apartments offer exclusive access to resident-only facilities which include swimming pools, gyms, spas, libraries, business lounges and rooftop garden retreats which provide spectacular views while maintaining a sense of privacy. This style of architecture sets up a clearly defined barrier between the activities of the occupants within the buildings and their engagement with the surrounding street life. Such a withdrawal or privatisation of public amenity marks a particular moment in the conception of the public realm in our cities.

To unpack the implication of this approach to urban and architectural design, the Inner Worlds design studio engaged a team of RMIT Interior Design students in an intensive design ethnography project that delved deeply into the lived experiences of the workers and residences of Victoria Harbour. With the permission of the building managers and occupants, teams of students were assigned a building in which they interacted with the rhythms of its daily life and attempted to capture the building's character and the interactions of its occupants. The students spent two weeks observing and recording the actions of people in and around the spaces and engaging them in conversation about the experience of living, working in and visiting buildings in Victoria Harbour. The buildings included ANZ Centre, Lifestyle Working, Aurecon Centre, Library at The Dock, and the residential towers at 883, 888 and 889 Collins Street. While there were similarities in the architectural and interior design principles of each building, on investigation each one demonstrated a unique constellation of interactions by its occupants.

At the completion of the ethnographic phase, the students were asked to develop designs for a site-specific public artwork inspired by their engagement with the buildings and the lives of the people within them. Through the iterative process of design, each building group developed a methodology for translating their findings into an evocative visual representation of the building and its users. The final artworks expressed a portrait of the building’s occupants within an abstracted representation of the physical characteristics of the interior architecture. The artworks were reproduced on the hoardings surrounding the new ANZ building at 839 Collins Street, presenting back to the community a glimpse of the lives played out within the precinct's edifices.


Library at the Dock artwork


Lifestyle Working artwork


Inner Worlds Exhibition


Inner Worlds Public Artwork


Inner Worlds Symposium



Students: Natalie Kozub, Dubing Wang, Kayleigh Swindon, Millie Wilson, Patricia Valerie, Stephanie Vernali, Qixin Chen, Eleanor Wong, Jiaping Zhou, Regina Ong, Emma Gatley,Brooke Jones, Rachel Kratzat, Rose Willis, Lauren Kay,Filomina Carneli, Ellyn Hunt, Chen Song