Past Event

Commodity House


Fri 26 May 7:30pm - 10:30pm


Free, no booking required


495 Brunswick Street
495 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North VIC 3068, Australia


Seating available

Join a talk and walkthrough of the interior of the ruined Commodity House hosted by RMIT fellow alumnus. The Commodity House is filled with ‘Expected Adjacencies’ and ‘Common Ghosts’.  Alone, each Commodity House mimics other architectural styles and lacks interest. However, when the components come together to form a suburb, a network becomes clear, and we realize that the ruins form the finger bones of a still-living structure. They wait dormant for some imagined future and are more than the empty containers of an unrealized dream.

Melbourne’s growing peripheral suburbs are in a ruin-upon-arrival state. The Commodity House is the fossilized matter of its own dream, a domestic style similar to Victorian, Georgian, and Tudor dwellings before it. However, it lacks the Morris-esque romance of tumbling crenellations and knights on hilltops. We read the traces of the city through two different lenses: a palimpsest of fossils from the romantic city of the past on one hand, and on the other, the living ruin of the Commodity House held in limbo by the speculative anxieties of the housing market.

Fossils and ruins are both dead things, but while fossils can be read as the contemplative end of a natural process, ruins can be read as artificial containers for a romantic story that is untrue of the ruin itself, but true of its specific-non-specific type, the fairytale: “Once upon a time in a little house…”


Laura Szyman

Laura Szyman is a multi-disciplinary practitioner who works in the fields of architecture, arts, and academia. She focuses on exploring the relationships between the city and its cultural objects. Currently, she is undertaking a design-research PhD at RMIT. Her ongoing projects examine the development of new hybrid digital-analogue illustration, systemic relationships between architecture and infrastructure, and issues of dwelling and sustainability in Melbourne’s periphery.

Arjuna Benson

Arjuna Benson is a graduate of architecture, currently working at Sibling Architecture. He is a tutor at RMIT and previously taught at the University of Melbourne. His work explores the intersection between architectural speculation and reality, reflecting his interest in this area.

Allan Burrows

Allan Burrows is a architect, writer, researcher and educator based in Melbourne (Naarm/Birrarung-ga). He has led design studios at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University. His research focuses on contemporary living conditions, exploring how architecture can act as an agent within interdisciplinary systems and institutions.

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