Wood Marsh has made an indelible mark on Melbourne over its illustrious 40 years – from freeways to bespoke houses, the CBD and suburbs are considerably richer as a result.
June 26th, 2023
Established in 1983, many of Wood Marsh’s initial projects centred on nightclubs such as The Metro at the top of Bourke Street. There was also Inflation where the architecture as well as the music captured one’s imagination.
While some architectural practices follow fads and fashion, Wood Marsh’s work has a sense of longevity born out of responding to both the client and the site. “Wood Marsh’s approach to architecture hasn’t altered over the last four decades. We remain honest to ourselves,” says Randal Marsh.
Through these 40 years Wood Marsh has become synonymous with truly sculptural forms – think of the Choong House, McFayden House, and the Gottlieb House, all making their mark in Melbourne.
There has also been the Portsea House and the Towers Road House, a sculptural edifice as well as a large family home. Other projects such as the award-winning apartments in South Melbourne, with their reflective glass windows, still regularly slows down traffic, both vehicular and those simply strolling past.
While not everyone is fortunate to reside in a bespoke Wood Marsh home or an apartment, such as the striking award-winning Balencia apartments in St Kilda Road, locals as well as those travelling from interstate or overseas, can still enjoy driving along the Eastern Freeway and seeing Wood Marsh’s sound wall barriers.
Wood Marsh is currently working on the Westgate tunnel, one of Melbourne’s largest infrastructure projects. It has also just completed two new railway stations in Coburg and in Preston, working closely with the Level Crossings Removal Project.
“Our public infrastructure projects create a complementary and engaging experience for both users and also for adjacent communities,” says Roger Wood, who, with his team, “draws on the context of location to create innovative bold and sculptural design solutions”.
“Our aim is to excite the eye and capture the imagination in a variety of urban environments,” adds Wood.
The Gottlieb House in North Caulfield is perhaps one of Wood Marsh’s most celebrated and published homes – with may architecture buffs and journalists worldwide waiting in anticipation for its unveiling.
As with its strong and monumental façade, the home’s interior, with its curvaceous concrete staircase, is pure artistry.
There is also the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) that made an indelible mark on Southbank as well as the Australian Pavilion in China. The hospitality industry is also better off with Wood Marsh’s contribution to key Victorian projects – including the Port Phillip Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the Mansion Hotel in Werribee and Kisume, a Japanese-style restaurant in Flinders Lane.
There has also been the RACV Club as well as numerous others hospitality offerings that draw people down to the Mornington Peninsular. Some of the inspiration for Wood Marsh’s designs, particularly its larger projects, come from Land Art from the 1960s through to the 1980s.
“Equally as important, our designs are embedded in the engineering and technical outcome, designed with longevity in mind,” says Wood.
While Wood and Marsh remain at the helm of all projects, it also highly values those who have been, and still are integral to the practice. And while some practices continually change direction, Wood Marsh continue to create strong and monumental work that will be as strong and relevant for decades to come.
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