Bridging the divide

• Anjana Balakumar and Tuan Ngo from Murray Slavin Architects contemplate bridge living. Photo by Steve Grant.

A FREMANTLE architectural firm wants to challenge the stereotype of homeless people living under a bridge by designing housing for homeless people on Fremantle’s old Traffic Bridge.

Slavin Architects got heavily involved with homelessness issues while doing some recent work for St Pat’s says architect Anjana Balakumar.

As a result the firm, headed by former Fremantle mayoral candidate Murray Slavin, came up with the idea of a competition that asks students to think about accommodation that can be inclusive and adaptable.

“As many may not be aware, homelessness does not only refer to the rough sleepers, which constitutes 7 per cent of those considered homeless,” Ms Blakumar said.


“This competition brief hopes to challenge, educate and and encourage rethinking how we can design places that are more inclusive, to strengthen communities.

“The intention would be to design a vertically zoned development over several levels ranging from street uses at the lower promenade to housing above, acknowledging that the bridge itself is a gateway.”

The bridge is due to be decommissioned soon, with the federal and WA governments committing funds in their most recent budgets for a replacement.

The two best entries in the competition, which is due to be held this weekend, will win two tickets and $1200 to help get to the Architecture Student Congress in New Zealand later this year.


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