2Girls building – Art meets Architecture

An award winning Melbourne photographer, a developer with a vision to create a unique statement in inner-city living and an internationally recognized architectural practice that brought a bold and beautiful design to life is a great combination. The end result is the 2 Girls Building.

This story begins with Melbourne photographer Samantha Everton completing a much-heralded photographic series called Vintage Dolls. It was this photographic exhibition that stuck in the mind of Peter Cahill from Domain Hill Property Group, a developer with a simple philosophy of developing property that people will be proud to own.

Peter Cahill engaged architects KUD Architects and its principal Billy Kavellaris to oversee a project with a difference. Billy took Peter’s brief to design something special and developed a fusion of art and architecture in a modern contemporary setting.

The story of how the creative talents of these three people came together to create the 2 Girls Building can be seen in its bold and beautiful design. It has a façade that embraces an image called ‘The Masquerade’ from Samantha Everton’s Vintage Dolls series featuring 2 girls in a setting synonymous with inner-city traditional domestic spaces.  The image, chosen by Billy Kavellaris, was the perfect fit for the building.

Philosophically the 2 Girls Building is not about just sticking a giant photo to the facade of the building.

Instead the artwork forms part of a living skin on the building form, which is embossed into concrete and the image on the glass possessing various translucencies. The components of the composition merge to create a third dimension to the photography with the various elements of the photograph such as the concrete wallpaper and the three dimensional lamp ‘The Masquerade’ photo becomes a real three-storey tall lamp structure that projects out from the facade with the light in the lampshade illuminating at night.

Inside, the façade’s artwork is reproduced again in the building’s foyer and then a whole new artworld unfolds, inviting people to explore the corridors. In fact the entire 2 Girls Building is a work of art, encouraged by generous 2.5 meter wide corridors to give the impression you are wondering inside an art gallery on the way to your apartment or rooftop loft.

The walls of the corridors will be lined with inspiration from contemporary local artists. Another feature will be the light wells that will have sculptured art installations.

Photographer Samantha Everton cannot believe the end result of the collaboration.

“This is such an exciting concept, which I believe is certainly unique to Australia. The ability to marry an image so well into a real building, interacting with its features and the people who will live there really brings it to life. Every artist ultimately creates their artwork for people to enjoy and this is a wonderful opportunity to share my work with a whole new audience,’’ she said.

Architect Billy Kavellaris from KUD Architects says the building will be “a polemic that fuses art, photography and architecture. The project explores the relationship between the three disciplines and blurs their respective boundaries resulting in one craft overlapping and appropriating the other characteristics in the form of a new medium.’’

Developer Peter Cahill from Domain Hill Property Group believes the combination of the design of the 2 Girls Building, its location in Abbotsford and the projects’ affordability makes it special in Melbourne.

“Abbotsford is a remarkable suburb and is now really coming into its own.  It hugs the Yarra River, has immediate access to massive parklands, and walking and cycling tracks, and yet is on the doorstep of the city.  It has great cafes too.  Any wonder it’s so popular,” Peter Cahill said.


The 2 Girls Building has now been officially launched, with construction due to begin in the early part of 2012.