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Student One, Elizabeth Street

We were delighted to have worked with seven-time Archibald Prize finalist and nationally recognised artist Kate Beynon and her representative Milani Gallery to deliver the integrated public artworks for Student One Elizabeth Street on the site of the old Elizabeth Arcade in Brisbane.

Designed by Arkhefield Architects, Student One Elizabeth Street is a welcoming space punctuated by openings to the sky, and is a landscaped urban living room at its heart. Two purpose-built student accommodation towers are home to 901 residents who activate the arcade at all hours. Beynon’s artworks Kindred Spirits Soffits, Guardian Creatures Art Boxes, and Guardian Creatures edit (2019) are located on elevated soffits and ceilings of the Elizabeth Arcade Social Heart and Laneway, contributing to the social benefits of these gathering spaces. Both sheltered and open to the sky, both public and private, this ‘third space’ is a liminal space of rest, interaction and transition that will help develop meaningful ties and memories for both students and visitors.

Kate’s sensitive response to Arkhefield’s design clearly interprets the mixed- use nature of the Elizabeth Arcade, tying in mythical, supernatural Chinese and Japanese guardian figures that invoke togetherness. The Kindred Spirits Soffits and Guardian Creatures Art Boxes refer to forging connections, friendship and kinship, which is of as much social/emotional importance for the students living at Student One as it is for the future users of the Arcade itself.

The Kindred Spirits Soffits create a narrative path from the Elizabeth Street entrance through to the Social Heart and beyond to the Guardian Creatures Art Boxes. The soffit artworks are visualised as four parts that flow into one another: the Realm of the Gorgon Guardian (Elizabeth Street entrance); the Vision of the Sprouting Heart (Social Heart); the Lotus Sky Guardian Goddess (Social Heart); and the Ginkgo Dream and Third Eye (staircase soffit). They ultimately reach the Guardian Creatures Art Boxes at the Charlotte Street entrance.

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We acknowledge the traditional custodians of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters, culture, and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.