Today I spent from 10am to 3pm wandering around Richmond and Cremorne, filming for an Instagram video I made [here for Instagram, here for YouTube, why not give both a like?]. Our final project of second-year in TAFE involved a site in Cremorne, and I thought while I was in the area I’d walk past to see if anything changed. Nothing has changed, physically, but I was overcome with a lot of nostalgia which I thought I’d try and translate into words.

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I first visited the site in 2011, I was in my second year at TAFE and wasn’t sure where I was heading with things. I was traveling okay in TAFE and had a casual job as a draftsperson, and was financially stable. I can’t remember under what circumstances why I traveled to Cremorne from Wodonga, but I do know I had other commitments and this personal site visit was a “Since I’m here” kind of thing.

The project called for an office building with car parking, cafe and an exhibition space for the BDAV. There was (still is) an existing disused warehouse on site, and the street was mixed in scales, functions and setbacks. I used this site visit to take some photos of neighbours, the existing conditions and some buildings floating around the area.

At the time I was a member of an architecture forum and would often post on there for crits on my progress, with some responses not too favourable (at the time) but needed to be heard. I remember one comment asked me how my design related to context, and at the time I had ZERO clue what they meant by ‘context’. In TAFE, the term, or even idea of, context wasn’t taught so I had to ask what it was. After 3.5 years in university, I now know what ‘context’ is!

My original design called for the site to be cleared, the entire existing building to be demolished. When I was there today I couldn’t help but love the single-storey brick warehouse, and thought about how I would do things differently. Of course if I was doing that project today, the existing warehouse would be retained and reused, but back then it never occurred to me about retaining old structures.

Today as I wandering around I also came across some buildings which I used as “precedents” and realised I wouldn’t even consider them if I was doing the project today. However I find it interesting to think about how my brain operated back then, to how it operates now.

I have a feeling the nostalgia is quite strong seeing as the site is still the same as it was back then. Had the existing building been demolished and replaced with a glass and concrete office block, or even a new adaptive reuse apartments, the feeling of nostalgia would have been less I can imagine.

Both times I visited has been during football season, and I remember the first time football fans parking in the street and walking past me to head to the MCG. Today, sirens from the MCG could be heard and I immediately thought back to that first time.

I set out to write a post about the feeling nostalgia I got today, however have found it difficult to express it in words. It’s this really strange feeling in my chest and my brain thinking back to the small moments in my life. At that time in life I was pretty happy, and despite everything that has happened between then and now, revisiting the site today I am still pretty happy.

I don’t know if any of you have experienced nostalgia when returning to a project site, especially when that site remains untouched, but if you have, how was it?

P.S I only took the one photo today, I was consumed with the video and didn’t think I was going to write a blog post about it today. If you’re interested in Google Mapping it, look up 55 Dover Street, Cremorne…. Even writing 55 Dover Street is really playing with my emotions in a strange way.