An unbelievably progressive - if not avant-garde - local council in Richmond, Melbourne has apparently accepted this ingenious solution to the application of heritage protection laws to a local house.
As Core 77 report:
"Jackson Clements Burrows Architects responded to the difficult and often costly heritage protection laws with a superimposed 1:1 scale photo of the original dwelling onto a glass facade. Exploring the notion of virtual memory, the tree in the background lines up perfectly with the photo when you stand in the right spot, the neighbors fence works from any angle like a renaissance portrait where the eyes follow you around the room and the unexpected choice glass actually helps to diminish the physical presence of the building reflecting the sky and surrounding street scape. The architects felt the existing run down weatherboard cottage held little heritage significance yet the local council defended its value. This ironic solution met the heritage controls requirements and makes a comment on the difficulties of the approval process."
Amazing. Memory in renovation and rebuilding is usually handled by preserving the exterior skin whilst ripping and replacing the innards - a kind of reverse of plastic surgery - as with the Grand Hotel Dolder [PDF], Zürich, for instance. This photo illustrates the new foundations within the old skin. (I'm in Zürich today, hence the random choice.)
So the solution by Jackson Clements Burrows is intriguing on many levels. As materials develop, film could be rendered, if photographs can. What of changing the era of photograph, if memory is significant? Scrolling forwards or backwards. What of illustrating entirely different imaginary buildings? At the more mundane, what happens when the tree grows?! Perhaps they've built in a nice line of future modification work there, keeping the exterior photograph in line with the surroundings. Design as a social process indeed.