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EWPs bring vibrancy to neglected urban areas

Photo: People congregate at Fish Lane to admire, climb inside and enjoy experimental engineered wood structures at a night exhibition in Brisbane. Materials supplied by Austral Plywoods, Brisbane.

IMAGINATIVE engineered wood structures made by University of Queensland architectural students and displayed at an inner-city creative hub attracted swarms of art lovers along with both civic and government leaders.

The Fish Lane Follies, centred on a community-focused arts space aimed at engaging Brisbane’s emerging talents and art enthusiasts between West End and the South Bank, featured experimental structures made by students from the School of Architecture and the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland.

Photo: People congregate at Fish Lane to admire, climb inside and enjoy experimental engineered wood structures at a night exhibition in Brisbane. Materials supplied by Austral Plywoods, Brisbane.

“Fish Lane Follies demonstrated how temporary structures could play a role as urban activators in promoting public activity and bringing vibrancy to neglected urban spaces,” said Kim Baber of Baber Studio, one of the prime motivators of the exhibition.

A part-time lecturer at UQ, Mr Baber worked with final-year Masters of Architecture students in a research coursework program to develop the experimental plywood structures.

Working with exhibition coordinator Monique Baber, they sited Fish Lane as a strategic location to showcase students’ structures as part of an overall urban strategy for inner city laneway ‘activation’.

“As a public exhibition, students were proud to be able to showcase their design ingenuity and capability,” Mr Baber said.

Special guests at the exhibition included Jackie Trad, Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning; Steven Miles, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection; UQ school of Architecture Advisory board members Dr Michael Bryce AM AE, Lindy Johnson and Paul Quatermass; and  members of the architectural and design profession from large corporate firms to small boutique practices.

On behalf of the School of Architecture and its students, Mr Baber thanked the support of the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia and EWPAA member company Austral Plywoods, Brisbane, for providing the construction materials and technical advice.

Sponsors also included the Brisbane City Council, Aria Property Developers, The Fox Hotel, Inlite, Blumen Watts, Rothe Lowman Architects and MAAP Media bank.

“Special mention must be made of the hard-working workshop crew Sam Butler and John Stafford,” Mr Baber said.

“The event has received positive feedback from students, local business and sponsors who have expressed their interest in supporting the next Fish Lane Follies event.

“Anticipation for future events would be to increase the content of experimental structures, with the potential to move into the entire length of Fish Lane.