One of Platform’s most stand-out buildings is Boxcar, which includes retail at ground level and office floors above. New it may be, but the design for Boxcar is rooted in the site’s rail freight history.
“The site’s colourful past dates back to its earlier existence as a busy railroad station with freight boxcars, constantly coming and going – hence the name of the hub and the Boxcar building itself.”
Boxcar’s stacked architectural elements echo the look of scattered, abandoned shipping containers – both in their individual container-like forms and in their semi-industrial corrugated metal facades.
“To further evoke the sense of strewn containers, there’s a random element to the design, seen in the blued metal panel in the mid section of the facade,” Abramson says.
Across an internal street from Boxcar stands the new Washington Arts Building – essentially a carpark building, although that’s not how it reads from the street. As the name implies, the building’s almost as much about art as about visitor parking.
Its functionality is set back behind sculptural, slender horizontal blades, punctuated by protruding glass boxes intended to showcase local designers’ works – or simply act as retail displays.
Plus, the side of the Washington Arts Building has a colourful wall-sized graffiti-like mural, by artist Jen Starck, referencing the typical spray can artistry that creeps over a disused industrial environment.
And then there’s Abramson Teiger’s intelligent use of what’s already there – after all, the greenest building is one that’s already built.
“In addition to its freight train history, the project site more recently acted as a car dealership. We integrated some elements of this history as well, with an existing Landmark Repair Shop retained and reconsidered as shops and restaurants,” says Abramson. “We removed the garage doors from the rows of car bays and replaced them with glass storefronts – and these slots are the store interiors.”
The old car dealership’s expansive showroom was also adaptively reused, its high ceiling spaces intact, and renamed the Showroom Building.