Commercial Architecture

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Commercial Architecture Awards


5–9 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross by Durbach Block Architects

This is a tight, ninety-two-square-metre site, in the Sydney tradition of wedge-shaped sites that can be found dotted around the inner city. An exterior of curved concrete walls is both subtle and elegant, the exaggerated curved cornice giving the building a sculptural quality from the street and an unusual edge to the sky. Walls are punctuated by steel plate frames, which denote various opening types. The building scale is in harmony with its surrounds, yet there is a distinctive presence in its form and its mosaic-tiled facade, whose soft colours glisten day and night. The curved building language continues internally, through elements such as the restaurant bar and ceilings. The building is fully occupied, with restaurant, nightclub and architects’ offices.

A rooftop function area adjoins a lush rooftop garden with framed views of neighbouring residential and commercial Sydney. The building has a spacious quality created by its simple, elegant palette, column-free space and good daylight penetration.

The budget is considered, and devices such as curved glass are used judiciously but to maximum effect.

Nothing is redundant. The architects have carefully crafted an engaging but relaxed building that can accommodate a range of commercial uses and interior fitout characters. Each interior fitout sits comfortably within the building while expressing its individual “personality”. For the jury this gave the building a particularly human quality and a strong sense that the building would adapt gracefully to changes in commercial use over time – a mark of an exemplar commercial building.

For full coverage see Architecture Australia vol 99 no 1, Jan/Feb 2010.

Images: Peter Bennetts.


Port Phillip Estate Wood by Marsh Architecture

The architects and the client set out to achieve a contemporary wine chateau in the heart of Port Phillip. This is a response to site topography, to much needed site remediation, and represents architecture integral to the business proposition. The curved and barrel building forms derive from the rolling hills of the site and, in the tradition of the European wine chateau, serve to integrate all functions. From restaurant to wine tasting rooms, accommodation, laboratory, wine bottling and cellaring – all are wrapped in the rammed limestone walls of the building. Arrival is protected; the experience beyond is a secret to be revealed. The building is contemporary but rustic. Heavy timber portal frames radiate off the rammed limestone walls to form the main upper-level spaces for the public. Indeed, this limestone is the primary organizing element for the building; it screens the car park, denotes arrival, aids cellar conditions and is the material with which all other materials are either combined or contrasted throughout. But it is the building’s relationship to the vineyard which is paramount, with rooms and functions organized around panoramic views of the estate hills and valleys.

Materials are soft and warm and include exposed aggregate concrete floors and heavy timber structure, all contributing to the chateau ambience. This is a fine example of high quality architecture adding to the tourism vitality of a region. Here architectural quality, the quality of the wine and food, estate reputation and estate hospitality merge to form one immensely satisfying experience.

Images: Earl Carter (top), Jean-Luc Laloux (bottom).

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