Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Scoop Homes and Art 36 Contents 94 HOMES & ART AUTUMN 2013
Spacemarket | Charac ter building
allowing users to independently upload
and view spaces on their website. Beth says
it’s going well, “but now we can’t track
successes and see what’s going on.”
Ideally, the pair would like to operate
as advisors between each space and tenant.
“Especially when it involves activating
old stuff,” says Nic. “Everyone gets really
excited about it, but the reality is difficult.”
Take Moana, for example. While the
build required just six months, “we did
18 months of diligence with City of Perth,
going through all the building and surveying
issues, planning permits, costings, fi re
reports – front end stuff like that,” he says.
Still, their greatest challenge was,
and will be for the foreseeable future,
dealing with the Building Code of Australia
(BCA) – an epic, two-volume document
which stipulates things like fire treatments
for floorboards, and how many treads
a stair can have before a landing.
“If you’re dealing with something already
constructed, it sets up a big conundrum,”
In heritage buildings, the very features
that give it character can become
problematic. “Often they need to be
modified or replaced,” she says. “And the
cost involved is a major preventative.”
Particularly in the city, where ground
floor rent is so high, it’s easy for owners
to neglect the upper levels.
Nic says Moana was an exceptional case.
“We had fantastic support from the
building owners and the City of Perth,
and we did a lot of the work ourselves,
which kept the total cost down. So all the
stars were aligning.”
Still, they hope the concept will blaze
a trail for similar projects in future. “That’s
our biggest ambition with Spacemarket,”
he says. “To develop a new set of guidelines
that are applied to old or underused
For now, the company is thriving with
a new advisory group, including members
of the local architecture and political
scenes, “and a couple of uni students who
are really jazzed about the city,” says Beth.
However, their meetings a ren’t typical.
“We sit around and talk about all the
amazing things we can do,” says Nic.
“You can’t really monetise that, it’s just a
vehicle for conversations and ideas.”
It’s in this unconventional form – like
the work they are renowned for – that
Spacemarket hopes to leave a memorable
mark on Perth.
“Our biggest philosophy is that a city
gains character not from the big moves,
but the small moves,” Nic says. “You can
do as many Perth Arenas and Waterfronts
and City Links as you like, but it’s for
nought unless the middle space gets filled
with something quite tactile and full of life.
The fine grain. That sort of stuff makes all
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