«To make you truly beautiful I have poured my soul into this tattoo. Today there is no woman to compare with you. Your fears are gone…» The tatoouer, Jun’ichiro Tanizaki «Tattoos are souvenirs, they’re road maps of where your body’s been». John Irving

How can we translate to architecture the very essence of the art of tattooing in such a multi-cultured city like Melbourne? A tattoo is an artefact, often the result of a personal story, a unique symbol, a beloved drawing or a text we chose to mark on our skin. A tattoo is an artificial layer on our body often created after a strong emotion, an important life event, an unforgettable adventure, or as a simple spontaneous act. Set in one of the most culturally diverse and inclusive cities in the world, the Melbournen Tattoo Academy acts as a landmark and tourist attraction, all the while helping to break down the stigma attached with tattoos.

The Tattoo Academy proposal has two interfaces with the city

First as a strong and sharp signal. The proposal challenges the urban complexity of the site, in particular its triangle shape, size and the automobile activity surrounding it. The proposal sits on the edge of the site boundary where a large imposing perforated aluminium screen overlaps the nature within.

The tattoo is reflected on the entire facade of the academy, as a shed, it lets the light draw its way inside the workshops, the presentation venue, the reception, the library, the bar, the coffee shop and the guest house. The second interface with the city is the pursuit of nature. Inside the «signal» is a particular microcosm for the tattoo students: a forest overlooking Melbourne’s emerging high-rises.

The proposal concept strives to reflect this duality of the art of tattooing as an artificial artefact on the body in opposition to the softness of the trees and the quiet view of the forest.


architects: Nathalie Eldan Architecture, Bettyna Zadeh  |  client: Beebreeders  |  status: Competition (2016)  |  competition: Melbourne Tattoo Academy  |  clasification: honour mention  |  location: Melbourne, Australia  |  climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate  |  materials: glass, metal  |  environment: Urban  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: 630 m2 small  |  types: commercial, shop  |  views: 3.427

same competition (+1)

Nathalie Eldan Architecture, Bettyna Zadeh | Alex Tintea, Arturo Garrido