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Right Carey Lyon’s Seppelt Award installation at the MCA, Sydney; a corner veneered with brick-sized postcards advertising his brotherly practice Lyons, to form an image of topographic urbanism.

Scanning the nation for architectural news and noteworthy nuances.

In another corporate reformatting, Lend Lease Projects has become Bovis Lend Lease, managing projects in 38 countries claimed to be worth $37 billion. The Sydney office will manage Asia-Pacific (MD Bob Johnston), with Adam Tindall back from the US to look after Australia and NZ

The Speedrail between Sydney and Canberra is not going ahead because the federal government won’t provide $1 billion worth of tax breaks to the promoters, including Leighton and Qantas >> Liberal Senator Margaret Reid has been urging Prime Minister John Howard to honour an election promise to build a defence staff college at Weston Creek >> Bovis Lend Lease has won a $150 million contract to redevelop the Benjamin and Cameron office buildings; the latter designed by John Andrews and subject of his ‘leaky roof’ libel suit >> The Australian National University has closed its urban and environment program, led by Professor Ian McAllister, after 30 years >> The ACT Government is moving closer to building its first prison

UNewcastle’s Dr Michael Ostwald has won the NSW Board of Architects’ $35,000 Byera Hadley post-graduate scholarship for a study of neo-Baroque impulses in contemporary architecture. He will be studying at Harvard and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal >> The Museum of Contemporary Art’s new director, Elizabeth-Ann Macgregor, has abandoned the Seppelt Contemporary Art Prize, which honoured various avant-garde Melbourne architects in recent years. This year’s winners of the environmental art category were Lyons, Wood Marsh and Kerstin Thompson >> In politics reminiscent of the 1980s, the RAIA’s NSW Chapter has declared war on the Institute’s national structure – seeking a larger share of membership revenue and more autonomy. New NSW president Graham Jahn is working with National Councillor James Grose, plus Ken Maher, Kerry Clare, Stephen Varady and Peter Mould to change the scene >> When The Sydney Morning Herald asked 10 architects to choose their favourite city place, nine chose streets without modern buildings “such as those they design themselves”. This point was noted in a following letter to the editor by Neville Gruzman, whose own choice for the article was Macleay Street, Kings Cross >> Sydney’s suburban apartments boom is still frenetic in Chatswood-St Leonards, Parramatta, Hurstville, Auburn and along the Parramatta River, with growth rates three times the average for the rest of the metropolis >> “Changed traffic conditions” in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills caused gridlock when the Eastern Distributor opened in December. Flows are expected to improve, but there is ongoing criticism by the anti-car lobby >> In the wake of a “cash for comment” exposé by Richard Ackland’s ABC Media Watch, 2UE radio announcer Alan Jones has been sprung on the main reason why he suddenly came out in passionate support of the Walsh Bay finger wharf scheme at a point when it was threatened by public opposition. Jones was paid generously by Walsh Bay Properties (as well as Walker Corporation in relation to its Woolloomooloo development) to spruik their projects >> 1999 Gold Medallist Richard Leplastrier followed his Hook Address at the RAIA Housing Conference in Melbourne with a convivial Tusculum lecture-dinner, where he enthused about the primal pleasures of the family home and copped off-the-cuff ‘roasts’ from Peter Myers, Paul Pholeros, Glenn Murcutt, Peter Stutchbury and Tom Uren. Uren urged him to employ his talent as “a visionary”, by speaking more often in public and Murcutt revealed that he had persuaded fellow Medal jurors to annoint Leplastrier despite the rule which limits the medal to RAIA members >> Archaeologists have gathered

about 1000 colonial pieces from the Conservatorium of Music site – lead currency, buttons, pipes, tableware – to be conserved and exhibited at a heritage centre in the redesigned foyer. Remains of an early bakery were found under Verbruggen Hall >> Yvonne and Paul Maule, owners of Aberglasslyn, a John Verge Georgian gem at Maitland, report that the NSW RAIA has returned a fire surround mysteriously taken from the house before their purchase, and installed at Tusculum, also designed by Verge. The Maules’ five-year campaign to recapture the piece has ended with its swop for a non-original black slate surround from one of Aberglasslyn’s bedrooms >> AA editor Davina Jackson’s resignation has sparked rumours that her departure has been pressured by Glenn Murcutt, after she “arrogantly” scooped his preferred AR for first magazine coverage of the Arthur & Yvonne Boyd Education Centre (AA July/Aug 99). In a case highlighting key changes to copyright law and the archi-publicity system, AA’s pictorial was invited and facilitated by the Boyd Centre management, despite diverse and novel attempts by its architect to indirectly collapse our coverage. As a general update for architects planning publicity: institutions now often control PR, photographers legally hold full copyright and AA can now pay them for publication >> AA’s transition from a profession’s journal to a professional publication seems likely to continue. Most of the 20-ish inquirers about the editorship are journalists, while in 1989, when Ian McDougall won the then-almost- honorary role, all four candidates were architects >> Leading Danish architect Kim Herforth Nielsen recently showed his firm’s maritime-industrial style at the City Exhibition Space and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, partly sponsored by USydney’s architecture program >> In November, Lawrence Nield gave an address to 900 Catholics at St Mary’s Cathedral to commemorate the centenary of the death of the cathedral’s architect, William Wardell. Nield noted that Wardell, like some notable contemporary architects, was subjected to extreme public hostility by audiences insensitive to the value of his work >> The NSW Heritage Council is not happy about the facade works and fitout for an Irish bar being installed at Newcastle’s turn-of-the-century Great Northern Hotel >> Allen Jack + Cottier and MGT Architects have prepared three different masterplans for Landcom and Canberra developer Landco, planning a new suburb on two large properties at Rockdale, west of Sydney Airport. To be called Interciti@Arncliffe, the scheme includes many buildings layered with retail at ground level, commercial above and residential on the highest floors. On another part of the site, near Cooks River, Howard Tanner is restoring the John Verge Tempe House >> The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority has launched the first artwork, by Jennifer Turpin with Michaelie Crawford, of its ‘Promenart’ waterfront art walk from the Opera House to the Blackwattle Bay fish markets. The SHFA is talking of up to 50 installations >> An exhibition of recent UNewcastle student works, with 40 years of projects by Suters, was shown at the Newcastle Regional Museum and Sydney’s Paddington Town Hall in November

Architecture and design students from the Northern Territory University have exhibited their schemes at the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra >> NT Chief Minister Denis Burke says he is “absolutely bloody elated” about the May go-ahead for the Alice Springs to Darwin railway – hopefully to be later extended to Adelaide

Left The Walter Burley Griffin Capitol Theatre in Melbourne, recently purchased by RMIT and now being refurbished.

An 80 percent-sold, $40 million, five-star resort is planned for “sleepy” Caloundra; with 12 storeys to be built along Bulcock Street and three storeys along the waterside edge of the 6350 sq m site >> Brisbane’s Courier Mailhas reported a sudden amendment to Denton Corker Marshall’s Southbank landscape scheme, when it was apparently realised that the proposed rows of native bunya pines would produce weighty seed clusters which might be a danger to strollers beneath. New Zealand kauris (more polite) have been specified instead >> RAIA members and first and fourth year students recently exhibited a variety of their artworks at the Chapter HQ in Merivale Street. A highlight was the Figment #1 film by QUT architecture lecturer Alison Wood. More than 120 entries were received by RAIA organiser Penny Campbell and QUT collaborators Igea Troiani and Phil Crowther

Troppo director Phil Harris, back in Adelaide with regular trips to the Townsville office, faces a tight deadline to build the portable pavilion that will shelter the Light/House exhibition of Australian houses at the Adelaide Arts Festival in March. The Clipsal-sponsored show, organised by UAdelaide’s Professor Tony Radford on the urging of the Alvar Aalto Museum in Finland, will present works by Murcutt, Leplastrier, Stutchbury, Addison, Poole, Latona, and others, at the Festival Plaza from March 2-19. There are plans to travel >> Two UAdelaide graduates, Tristan Sterke and John Endersbee,have won the international formZ student awards for computer-modelled environments – a competition open to 200 schools >> The Adelaide City Council is restoring the 15m-high water spout on sculptor John Dowie’s 1968 fountain at Victoria Square >> Edmund Wright House in King Street and the Torrens Building in Victoria Square are both candidates for a possible museum for the history of Adelaide. Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith is supporting the museum concept, and a report suggests there’s demand

Tasmania’s Steering Committee for Urban Skylines and Hill Faces has prepared draft guidelines for managing the beauty of park and bush skylines >> Hobart architects Heffernan Button Voss have lodged plans for a $4 million demolition and redevelopment of Gibson’s Mill, a non-heritage building in Salamanca Place. The new four-storey building (already described by an agitated neighbour as a “gross overdevelopment”) will include 21 shops, bars and cafés, around a courtyard

Steve Bracks’ new Labor Government is planning a local government summit meeting to discuss revisions to Victoria’s “disastrous” planning system. It is auditing all the previous government’s major projects deals and has put on hold planned extensions to Denton Corker Marshall’s Exhibition Centre >> New Planning Minister John Thwaites has labelled the Good Design Guide (for multi-unit housing) a “disaster” responsible for destroying many neighbourhoods. He wants to replace it with another guide, for both multiple and single residences, which emphasises continuity of neighbourhood character >> Melbourne’s Capitol Theatre, built by the Burley Griffins in 1924 using their Knitlock construction system, is being refurbished by its new owner, RMIT, as a cultural and teaching centre. The lead restoration architect is Greg Allchin of Six Degrees >> The Melbourne Docklands Authority is being increasingly criticised by the property industry (unhappy about its role as both land vendor and consent authority) after the Victoria Harbour consortium (including Walkers and Smorgons) withdrew in October. Meanwhile, four teams are bidding for the Commonwealth Technology Port precinct and new submissions are being called for Victoria Harbour >>The Westin Hotel, going up at City Square to a Euro-classical design by Robert Peck von Hartel Trethowan with Desmond Brooks International, is being widely described as “Melbourne’s Toaster”.

Journalist Joe Rollo declaimed in The Sunday Age: “It’s a dog”… “it stylistically hasn’t got a clue what it wants to be” and “it all but destroys the silhouette of St Paul’s Cathedral agains the sky” >> Identities Baillieu Myer and Betty Churcher are among a group hoping to develop a museum for landscape art at the 34ha Seawinds property on Mornington Peninsula

At press time, three teams were competing for the nod on a Perth Convention Centre that is not yet sited. Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland are with Multiplex; Spowers and Norman Foster are with Leighton/Lend Lease, and Buchans are with Ellerby Beckett and John Holland (which is a takeover target of Leighton’s) >> Plans to add five storeys to a flat carpark next to new cinemas at West End, Fremantle, are upsetting the heritage lobby but seem to have council support, despite the opposition of Fremantle Mayor Richard Utting and Federal Member Carmen Lawrence >> WA RAIA president Harry Schubert has backed a Multiplex proposal to develop 17ha of land beside Leighton Beach, including the Westrail marshalling yards, as three-to-four-storey housing. But local activist Sue Harrington said the Institute did not have environmental or recreational expertise and Opposition planning spokeswoman Alannah McTiernan said the RAIA was ignoring the Government policy on foreshore reserves; limiting developments to 100m from the edges of stable landforms >> A decision by WA Planning Minister Graham Kierath to site a new speedway-raceway on the former Alcoa site in Kwinana has been bucketed by the WA Chamber of Commerce, and Resources Development Minister Colin Barnett, because it’s too close to hazardous facilities and might discourage further industrial development because of public safety requirements >> Perth’s rising activity in property is continuing with proposals to redevelop (as a five-star boutique hotel) the old Treasury Building at St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street, plus the Aherns department store >> Danish architect Kim Herforth Nielsen recently showed his work at a Boral-sponsored RAIA lecture >> Under pressure from residents, the City of Gosnells has rejected plans for a massive expansion to its currently modest Buddhist monastery

On behalf of The Property Council of Australia, USydney’s Peter Droege has orchestrated a potentially influential study on the impact of good design on development values, profits and long-term benefits. Financial information for 16 projects was compared with average figures for industry sectors – and showed significant rises of internal rates of return by the ‘good design’ cases. Droege’s report, The Design Dividend, highlights Noosa’s Hastings Street, Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building and Moore Park Gardens, and Melbourne’s RMIT campus and KPMG House among the worthwhile examples >> Accountants Prentice Barberry and Barilla have warned of a serious building industry downturn this year, with effects to be really felt when currently cashed-up firms try to exercise much-reduced bank balances in 2001-2. PPB noted that the industry is usually unprepared for downturns, despite warnings. Intriguingly, the RAIA’s latest survey of 400 firms shows that most still expect to hire more staff this year. And a building industry prospects report by BIS Shrapnel notes that WA, SA, Queensland and Victoria should have upturns in building >> In a far-sighted member-service initiative, the RAIA has allocated around $300,000 to get many of its databases and information resources onto the Web. The program is being shepherded by Shaun Humphreys in Canberra. The Institute’s existing website, , already was one of three finalists in last year’s Telstra-Australian Financial Review Awards for professional association site design and will soon offer a full event calendar, a referral service for 2500 practices, current contact details for all members and comprehensive product information through a link with Architecture Media’s



Published online: 1 Jan 2000


Architecture Australia, January 2000

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