- Travis Walton Architecture
- 21-19 Studio (branding)
- RAD Construction (builder)
- Derek Swalwell (photographer)
r.a.w. is not a gym, a yoga studio, a fitness club nor meditation school. r.a.w. has been designed to be different without compromising any and to offer those who inhabit its space, be it for a moment or a mission, a sense of tranquillity and order.
Situated within a Melbourne CBD basement the client sought to redefine the traditional perception of fitness, wellness and meditation as a true luxe experience that embraced the ethos of holistic living.
We created a sanctuary for transcendent practices but also a multi-functional space for genuine physical training; an integrative environment of physicality and spirit.
The challenge of transforming a neglected subterranean space into a relaxation destination, while maintaining existing conditions for budgetary constraints required a lateral approach to the design.
Descending into RAW studio the design engages the buildings cold industrial aesthetic of large steel structure and exposed off form concrete to frame and offer a striking contrast to the warm timber clad communal spaces that form the heart of the project.
A sunken lounge framed by natural oak timber floors and custom banquettes transcends a gathering point for guests before and after classes to social incubator, an education venue where formal and informal discussions and seminars embrace the concept of health as the integration of spatial, physical and mental harmony.
Spaces are carefully sequenced to transition between public zones and classes, the sense of scale, level, lighting and materiality helping to define and enhance the focus of each activity, becoming an integral part to enhance the user experience.
While many urban renewal projects take inspiration from the traces of an existing condition this project demonstrates how a space devoid of natural light, grace and sense of identity or purpose need not be scrapped or salvaged, but transformed though sensitive intervention.
The project differentiates itself through the intuitive manner it reinterprets the existing industrial scale, aesthetic and materiality to reimagine them as a welcoming environment where the sense of relaxation and wellness is discovered within the bowels of a 50’s telecommunication exchange.
The considered interconnection of spaces and the deft control of light and materials enhance the experience of the user, not seeking to challenge the function of the space but provide subtle compliment, transporting them from CBD basement to socially active urban retreat.
A conscious effort to preserve the existing finishes unaltered and considerately selecting additions reduced budget, but also minimised the environmental footprint of the project.