In the architecture and design world, imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery, and copying something outright is completely frown upon, for obvious reasons, if you’re an architect or a designer do you really want to copy someone else’s work? Don’t you want to be recognized for your own efforts? And by the way aren’t designs protected as copyrights of some sort?
That however, is partially the pure genius of what is affectionately known as “The Shadow Villa Savoye” in Australia, designed and built by the architecture firm of Ashton Raggatt McDougall. It is almost an exact replica of Le Corbusier’s original in Poissy France. The building itself is part of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS for short???). If it were just a carbon copy of Le Corbusier’s and had no context, it would simply be a copy without any real merit. ARM Architecture has some excellent street cred, especially in Australia and so within context the carbon copy becomes much more than simply a copy and instead creates a dialogue.
We would like to think that the dialogue created works on many levels – the same building but in reverse hemispheres, the opposite colors reflecting that. While the original is a testament to the new international style of architecture that Le Corbusier was experimenting with and represented modernity and forward thinking expression, the “Shadow Savoye” is for an Aboriginal Institute and for reflection back upon the past.
However you slice up it, the architectural aspect of the Shadow Villa, is very much a successful project in its own right, separate from the original, but in close communication.