A Project for the ‘Pavilions for a New Architecture’ exhibition, Monash Gallery of Modern Art, 2005
The group exhibition Pavilions for a New Architecture at Monash University’s Gallery of Modern Art included the piece Shadow Cabinet by Graham Crist and Stuart Harrison, with Nicola Garrod and Meg White.
The design of the ‘Shadow Cabinet’ for this exhibition draws together Harrison and Crist’s interests in the generic, the saturated and the precedent in a deceptively simple cubic volume, the smallest possible building.
Using the Australian Standard 1428 for a disable toilet as a given plan, the pavilion describes a low-ceiling interior in contrast to its dark exterior. Analogous to a super-computer, the building imagines its interior as something akin the inside of ‘HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey’, a physically cramped but occupiable interior. Allusions to both the electronic brain and the toilet are made in this half-height room, which is brightly illuminated, and from which lines of light seep through the exterior skin to form a distorted horizontal stratification, which develops an interest in the ambiguous horizon.

Extracts- Essays from the Exhibition Catalogue
The Loaded Word: Conrad Hamann
Harrison & Crist’s Shadow Cabinet is a new undertaking: a desire to create perhaps the smallest building legally possible in Australia – one which could still hold program and functions. In 2002 they completed designs for a vast tourist centre in Egypt – a structure covering hectares – in a competition for a Grand Egyptian Museum at the Giza pyramids. It, too, was simple from the outside – impassively simple, at least, at first sight. But here, as with their Giza centre design, the simplicity is infused with the intense, particularly through the revelation of things going on inside – glimpsed through slivers of light. Their other designs, mainly domestic, have all been deceptively plain volumes, and geared to be read in their direct juxtapositionwith surroundings: for example their house at Drysdale on the Bellarine Peninsula, or their inner Melbourne additions in cubes and tubing. In their pavilion Harrison & Crist invert the expected light and textures: dark and recessive (compacting) for the exterior, light and expansive inside. They literally follow John Soane’s advice to expand a small interior with mirror. They test the dimensions and the scale with varied human forms – Tenniel’s image of Alice in Wonderland grown huge among them; with figures outside and leaning against the pavilion, gazing in, standing nearby. Even the bystanders are shaped and placed by the proximity of this pavilion.
Curious Cabinets: Karen Burns From this tangle of possibilities Harrison & Crist marry evocative cultural sources with the mundane requirements of regulations, one of the forces governing architectural building. Demonstrating that the two are mutually productive, they take the Australian Standard requirements for the minimal dimensions of a disabled toilet and mix them with a range of other connotations to produce a physically cramped and barely occupiable interior. Crouched, stooped, bent by an architecture of cruel and inflexible dimensions, we crane our necks upwards to see our contorted bodies reflected in the mirrored ceiling. Bodies in wheelchairs however should fit more comfortably into this interior. Standards and norms, it seems, govern the kinds of bodies projected into space. Architecture and bureaucracy collude in everyday spaces to stealthily procude stereotypes. Collision of sex and space are evoked in the mirrored ceilings and thus in these private, contained spaces, personal acts become a form of public spectacle enacted for ourselves.