Loggia forms next chapter of Bowen Street history

Yellow beam in transit

The Yellow Beam (Bowen Terrace Loggia) in transit

Yellow beam during construction

The Yellow Beam (Bowen Terrace Loggia) during construction

An obscure architectural gem is on the move as the New Academic Street project extends its reach throughout RMIT’s City campus.

Popularly known as the Yellow Beam, the Bowen Terrace Loggia was built in 1999 as part of the Urban Spaces Project.

The award-winning urban renewal project was designed by the Director of Peter Elliott Architecture and Urban Design, Peter Elliott, who is also alumni of the University.

The Urban Spaces Project, which has been ongoing for almost 20-years, has reconfigured the City campus from a closed fortress, for which it was well-known, to the public-spirited urban campus on show today.

The Loggia, which stood on Bowen Terrace, was recently dismantled and will be eventually integrated into the New Academic Street project as a freestanding structure on the edge of Bowen Street.

Elliott says the beam offered “a unifying element, to give a new identity to the Terrace,” provide shelter and link together the group of grey buildings lining Bowen Street.

“The Loggia is an important urban insertion within an otherwise ill-defined space,” he says.

“It gives a strong definition to the Terrace as a covered pedestrian way – both coloured and playful; particularly the paperclip shaped twisted columns.”

The Loggia’s relocation adds another chapter to Bowen Street’s ever-evolving and colourful history.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, the street was lined with metallurgy, fitting and turning, and blacksmithing businesses.

Up until the mid-1990s, before the Urban Spaces Project, the street was a working thoroughfare with car parking and driveway access into the basement under Buildings 10, 12 and 14.

And now the New Academic Street project adds another layer to the street’s story, with a major transformation of Buildings 10, 12 and 14.

Elliott says that when the Loggia was installed almost two decades ago; it anticipated the future redevelopment of the campus, albeit on a much smaller scale than that of the New Academic Street.

A book detailing the Urban Spaces Project, Episodic Urbanism: The RMIT Urban Spaces Project 1996-2015 was released last year.