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Right Nation Fender Katsalidis’ winning World Tower proposal for Sydney, illustrated by Bozig Design. Below Darling Island wharf apartments, designed by Lacoste-Stevenson with Jackson-Dyke for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.



Scanning the nation for architectural news and noteworthy nuances.

INTERNATIONAL
As Sydney options fell through for an exhibit at this year’s Venice Architecture ‘Biennale’ (held every five-ish years), the principals of Lyons in Melbourne hit the phones and found enough support to agree to reconfigure their recent Seppelt Art Award installation at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Lyons’ tall corner of urban topography in postcards now needs to fit Philip Cox’s low-ceilinged, split-level Australian pavilion in the Venice gardens. Catalysts for the exhibition are Lisa Warrender of Global Arts Projects and arts publicist Sharon Wells (both with experience managing Venice art exhibitions). RMIT Professor Leon van Schaik is expected to replace Neville Quarry as the official Australian commissioner. Meanwhile, Tom Kovac and RMIT-educated American architect-author Peter Zellner have been invited to show in the Venice general exhibition, promoting the controversial theme Less Aesthetics: More Ethics. The Biennale will run from mid-June to mid-October >> Davina Jackson’s 40UP: Australian Architecture’s Next Generation exhibition is being repackaged by German architects Aisslinger Bracht for display at the Stilwerk Design Gallery in Hamburg in May-June and its sister gallery in Berlin in August-September. Expatriate Melburnian Peter Wilson has agreed to launch the Hamburg show. However, back in Sydney, she’s been criticised by Peter Tonkin and Philip Cox, among others, for unfairly bestowing a new-wave cachet to certain architects, therefore inferring that firms not selected are not with it >> Eccentric Viennese building sculptor Friedensreich Hundertwasser has died while cruising on the QE2. One of his last constructions was a decorative and organic public toilet in New Zealand. It attracts swarms of tourists

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
The Housing Industry and Master Builders Associations have asked a Legislative Assembly committee to allow high-rise housing along the Kingston foreshore. The committee has not agreed >> Warehouse apartments in Fyshwick are trendy >> Cox Humphries Moss was the last foreign tenderer for a satellite city near Hangzhou, south of Shanghai >> Tonkin Zulaikha won the competition to redesign the National Gallery of Australia – especially its indirect entrance (which apparently resulted from a policy switch away from the original Edwards Madigan Torzillo idea of a ceremonial entry from the lake). Michael Keniger chaired the jury, which also included Annabelle Pegrum and Lindsay Clare >> The Commonwealth’s last chief architect, Roger Pegrum, has given a lecture to honour the 1920s reign of the first, John Smith Murdoch, an enigmatic bachelor who (like Pegrum) smoked a pipe >> Bovis Lend Lease and Challenger won the tender to buy and redevelop the Benjamin and Cameron office sites; planning to demolish 70 percent of John Andrews’ heritage-listed Cameron complex. Architects opposing demolition include Dr Donald Dunbar, Peter Freeman, Eric Martin, Graeme Trickett and John Armes. However, people who’ve worked in the building are keen to see it revised >> Aranda residents have been opposing a DA application to replace the local shops with a mainly residential complex >> Barton resident William Gold has called for a statue of Walter and Marion Griffin >> John Mitchell, formerly of Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp, is selling shares and seeking Australian Heritage Commission support to continue restoring his Georgian-style public house at Braidwood >> The ACT Government says its Civic revitalisation program of stamp duty waivers and other developer incentives has attracted new investments worth $60 million
NEW SOUTH WALES
Sydney Harbour architects-activists Richard Leplastrier and Rod Simpson have been appointed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to prepare ‘policy’ plans for obsolete defence sites at Middle Head, Georges Heights, North Head, Woolwich and Cockatoo Island. The trust is a federal quango at the centre of a battle with the NSW government over the future of the bushlands, which are in demand for housing. But an antique document appears to suggest that the state government (ecologically protective) is legally in control of the sites. Leplastrier has told The Sydney Morning Herald that ‘as far as we’re concerned, none of [the land] goes’ >> Bob Nation is setting up a Sydney branch of Nation Fender Katsalidis after winning Meriton’s competition to develop the 75 storey-high World Tower, on the Ipoh Gardens-abandoned World Square site in George Street. Nation will continue with several Melbourne projects and is keen to dispel press claims that the Sydney scheme is by Nonda. Meanwhile, Meriton chief Harry Triguboff has promised separate projects to second-runners Harry Seidler and Peddle Thorp >> Top scholars Alberto Perez-Gomez and Marco Frascari flew in for a UNSW seminar organised by Associate-Professor Desley Luscombe. In June, Anthony Vidler and Jennifer Bloomer are speaking at a UNewcastle seminar arranged by Dr Michael Ostwald >> Another USydney selection panel has failed to appoint a Chair of Architecture and Dean Gary Moore is planning to supplement a strong cast of adjunct professors (Harry Seidler, Aldo Giurgola, Chris Johnson, Lindsay and Kerry Clare and adjunct AsPros Paul Pholeros and Kevin Rice) with top practitioners taking studios two days a week. There’s also concern about a failure to award Chettle postgraduate fellowships >> Harry Seidler talked about his 50-year career at a lecture honouring USydney’s first professor, Leslie Wilkinson >> UNewcastle’s Dean, Professor Barry Maitland, is retiring to write crime novels full-time: his new title, Silvermeadow (focused on a clone of the Blue Water shopping centre in Britain) confirms him as a star of this literary genre >> French architect Thierry Lacoste and his Australian partner David Stevenson have won a Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority competition, with Jackson-Dyke, for 100 units of up-market housing at Darling Island >> Marketing has begun for Seidler’s 45-storey The Cove apartment tower in The Rocks >> NSW harbour planning supremo Gerry Gleeson resigned his directorship of tourism firm Amalgamated Holdings (Rydges and Matilda Cruises) just 24 hours before it won approval from his Darling Harbour Authority to build new headquarters beside the bay. He remains deputy chair of Walsh Bay developers, Transfield >> Theatre critic James Waites has left his part-time role editing the NSW RAIAArchitecture Bulletin, after disagreements with state manager Tina Jackson >> Premier Bob Carr attacked the quality of many apartment towers in Sydney, leading to much debate in the papers and a summit meeting of developers, architects and planners, arranged by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning’s Director General, Sue Holliday. At Public Works & Services, Government Architect Chris Johnson set up a website naming five good developments (AJ + C’s Moore Park Gardens, Alex Popov’s Rockpool, Jon Johanssen’s Rockwell Gardens, Travis McEwen’s Crown Street block, Angelo Candalepas’ Pyrmont Point complex and HPA-Bruce Eeles’ Newington Village. He also named six women worth employing for housing: Virginia Kerridge, Caroline Pidcock, Shelley Penn, Penelope Dean (at MvRvD in the Netherlands), Kerry Clare and Kim Crestani.
Right Nation Fender Katsalidis’ winning World Tower proposal for Sydney, illustrated by Bozig Design. Below Darling Island wharf apartments, designed by Lacoste-Stevenson with Jackson-Dyke for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.


Scanning the nation for architectural news and noteworthy nuances.

RAIA NSW president Graham Jahn commended the Premier’s stance, although he is designing buildings for the most-criticised developer, Meriton, and suggested that bad apartment buildings were designed by non-architects. The Council of Social Service of NSW called for more affordable housing and noted that increasing quality would increase prices >> Melburnian Shelley Penn has been confirmed as the GA’s new design director, a one-year contract following Kerry and Lindsay Clare after their two years. Penn’s role is to set up internet-based kits-of-parts strategies for efficient building procurement >> Athletes are complaining about wind fluctuations at Bligh Lobb’s Stadium Australia at Homebush >> The Olympic Co-ordination Authority launched its artworks program (led by Bridget Smyth) with a bus tour of the installations. Many exploit the ephemeral qualities of water >> In response to eleventh-hour complaints that the Olympics have no structures celebrating indigenous culture, the Metropolian Land Council has commissioned the Merrima unit of DPWS and Innovarchi to design a cultural centre on land near the Newington Forest. However, there’s no chance the building will be ready for the Games in September >> Paul Berkemeier has won the ‘emerging architects’ competition to design the Australian Shearers Hall of Fame at Hay >> Renzo Piano is worried about whether his Aurora Place twin towers, nearing completion after serious budget cuts, will ‘sing’. Meanwhile, there’s much debate at the Sydney City Council about whether to approve an expressive red steel ‘knot’ sculpture by American artist Mark di Suvero, which would straddle the Macquarie Street intersection outside the Aurora Place apartment building. Di Suvero is represented in Australia by art dealer Barbara Flynn, who appears to have obtained funding from the developers, Lend Lease >> Speakers at this year’s Interior Designex (May 18-21 at Darling Harbour) include Mexico’s Enrique Norten and Melbourne’s Wood Marsh >> Discussion is developing about the future of the massive strip of wharves at Millers Point, leased to Patrick’s Stevedoring until 2006

NORTHERN TERRITORY
Developers Robert Whyte (Sydney) and Bill Wyllie (Perth) have bought the BP site at Dinah Beach Road, with plans to build up to 700 housing units

QUEENSLAND
The MacArthur Chambers site, on Queen Elizabeth and Edward Streets, is again being targeted for Brisbane’s tallest office tower >> Arts Queensland has selected six designer-artists – Marc Harrison, Ian Garradd, Luis Nheu, Jim McKee, Bruce Carrick and Kylie Bickle – to link with product manufacturers >> Brisbane’s new music scene includes bands named Arkitectonic (who feature Donovan Hill on their CD cover) and Topology >> The Lord Mayor’s Committee of Brisbane is seeking 45-year visions for the city. John Mainwaring predicts tree canopies along Queen and Albert Streets but not many skyscrapers >> HOK Lobb are planning the new, parking-free stadium at Lang Park >> MPS Architects have produced, with a Brisbane research group and advertising agency, a ‘matrix’ of preferences for new houses by people of four different generations >> Michael Rayner is the RAIA’s new Queensland president

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Adelaide City Council planners are testing form Z software to 3D-model the basics of controversial projects >> David Jones is selling its Adelaide Central Plaza property, as part of a plan to lease rather than own its buildings and invest the rest in new stores >> Plans to convert Adelaide’s Treasury Building into an Intercontinental hotel have been postponed because the operators dropped out >> An illuminated monument to migrants, including an information centre and designed by Hectorville architect Rep Giordano, will be built in Campbelltown >> Eight architecture and landscape offices are shortlisted to replan North Terrace – Woodhead, Hassell,Taylor and Cullity,Tract, Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Oculus, Chris Dance Land Design and Peddle Thorp
TASMANIA
Premier Jim Bacon is unsympathetic to calls by leading local citizens, including architect Garry Forward, to compete with Geelong for a deal to build a Bilbao-style Guggenheim Museum. He says he’s not interested in projects that are too big and ‘unTasmanian’ – and members of existing arts bodies agree with him. John Lees, chair of the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board, says the current government has already increased funding of the arts by 75%. Meanwhile, Forward has negotiated to bring the director general of the Revitalisation of Metropolitan Bilbao Association, Alfonso Martinez Cearra,to speak at the International Cities and Towns conference in Hobart this September >> Hobart fans of Art Deco architecture and design, including architect Jamieson Allom, are planning to launch a state branch of the Society Art Deco >> Archaeologists Anne McConnell and Robert Vincent have decried losses of significant fragments from the Grand Chancellor site and the state’s lack of clear guidelines for dealing with sensitive development sites >> One of Hobart’s oldest landmarks, the 1847 Hutchins School Building in Macquarie Street, has been converted into a private hotel by Reinmuth Blythe Balmforth >> Architect Ken Latona has built the 20-bed Bay of Fires Lodge eco-tourism facility on a privately owned bush ridge beside Mount William National Park. His resort is supported by Conservation Trust director Michael Lynch but opposed by Greens senator Bob Brown >> In a separate issue, Senator Brown has called for Launceston’s Customs House to remain in public control. He is concerned that the federal government plans to sell it “at a bargain basement price” only a short while after taxpayers funded extensive restoration work

VICTORIA
Memories of the Sydney Opera House debacle are being revived for Melbourne’s Federation Square, after the Bracks government announced it was taking advice from a former Labor Planning Minister, Professor Evan Walker, to abandon the 2500 sq m western shard because it will block views of the St Paul’s Cathedral facade to drivers on the Princes Bridge (while framing views from the plaza within the complex). This will delay the project, force revision of the visitor centre (needing expansion into other buildings), produce an exceptionally expansive public plaza and lose tenancy revenues. Most architects are supporting Lab, including the former ‘sore-loser’ of the Fed Square competition, Howard Raggatt of Ashton Raggatt McDougall. The Melbourne City Council also voted 7-2 to retain the shard but Lord Mayor Peter Costigan was one of the two councillors opposing >> Lab’s shards-yes campaign caused directors Peter Davidson and Don Bates to postpone their January Process workshop to plan visions for Melbourne >> The new Colonial Stadium at Docklands, designed by Daryl Jackson, has opened to a critique in The Age by Norman Day that it is not colourful enough for Australia and blocks the city’s connection to the water. (Surprisingly, Day’s report did not name the architect.) Across town, Peddle Thorp’s highly popular Aquarium has also received a serve from Day and Sunday Age critic Joe Rollo: triggering a letter to the editor from PT’s design director, Peter Brooks, about their irrational and biased reporting >> Docklands projects are ‘churning’ amid talk of key staff changes at the development authority. Mirvac dropped about 20 architects from its Yarra Edge project because of building union demands for a 36-hour week and a 24% pay rise. Although it advertised for new architects several weeks later, it also told off-the-plan buyers that it would hold their deposits for up to three and a half years, to allow it to fight the unions. New tenders have been called for Victoria Harbour and the Studio City fun park development is still not financed. But MabCorp says it could take up part of the Studio City site and the Grollo family are still pursuing Melbourne Tower. Queensland’s Sunland Group is now talking about a Versace-on-the-Yarra hotel like one they’re building on the Gold Coast >>


Scanning the nation for architectural news and noteworthy nuances.



Left Promo image for NFK’s Eureka Tower –planned to usurp the Rialto as the new tallest building in Australia.


NATIONAL
A new wave of architects has taken over the RAIA National Council, with Graham Jahn as president-elect after Queensland’s Ed Haysom, and Ken Maher, Kerry Clare, James Grose and Ian McDougall now on board >> Architecture Media’s panel to select AA’s next editor had not chosen Davina Jackson’s replacement before we went to press >> A phalanx of top overseas speakers is enlisted for the Louise Cox-led RAIA/UIA conference in Sydney, June 28- July 2. On board are Daniel Libeskind, Shigeru Ban, Thom Mayne, Winy Maas (MvRvD), Zaha Hadid, Eric Owen Moss, Allan Wexler, Myrto Vitari and Rahul Mehrotra. Mayne has been co-opted by the RAIA Built Environment Education program to lead 40 primary schoolchildren in a design charette planning shelters for a post-apocalypse Australian population >> Hundreds of architects have written to the Productivity Commission, urging it to retain exclusive use of the title ‘architect’ for registered practitioners. The commission is reviewing the effectiveness of the state Architects Acts and has recommended deregistration >> Canberra architects Eric Martin & Associates have been commissioned by the RAIA to prepare selection criteria for a national register of significant 20th century buildings, and liaise with state chapters to track potentially suitable buildings. Four or five works are intended to be submitted to an international UIA web directory >> The RAIA has patched up its tensions with the Master Builders Association over their rival standard construction contracts and both organisations will work together to try to encourage selections of the best available consultants and contractors >> RAIA CEO Michael Peck is opposing the exclusion of architects from the ‘integrity’ provisions of the Copyright Amendment Moral Rights Bill now before Parliament. The integrity clause would establish a right not to have creative works subjected to ‘derogatory treatment.’ Peck is keen to have architects included in order to prevent unsympathetic alterations of architect-designed buildings. Would the clause also prevent architect-designed buildings from being criticised in writing? >> Developers are among the top contributors to political parties. In a list prepared by The Eye magazine of national political donations over the past five years, Lend Lease came top with more than $1 million (slightly weighted to Labor), followed by Walker Corp (now owned by Australand), Leighton and Transfield (who all donate more to the Liberals). Meriton donates to NSW parties >> Analysts BIS-Shrapnel are predicting an imminent downturn in building, with reports suggesting that infrastructure projects would decline by 33% until 2003 and residential construction by 25%. However, new residential building approvals recently hit a five-year high – no thanks to a 4.9% fall in New South Wales >> The CSIRO is launching on July 1 a major thrust of research on thermal and fluids engineering, infrastructure systems and sustainable materials.This program is being managed nationally by the Building, Construction and Engineering division >> The RAIA and MBA have attacked the federal government for losing skilled and knowledgable public servants – noting that many bureaucrats are applying the simple criterion of lowest price in procurement decisions rather than value for money >> The Productivity Commission has suggested that energy-efficient practices are not a high priority for most businesses and that higher prices should be introduced for supplies of non-renewable energy, to encourage cost savings. Its report on energy issues has not impressed Graham Humphries, current chair of the Council of Building Design Professions, who said the authors should have focused on broader, life-cycle issues rather than short-term economies >> The Australian Tourism Commission claims that the Olympic Games is attracting an extra 1.6 million tourists between 1997-2004 >> Sydney’s prime architectural icons – the bridge and the opera house – will feature on medals designed by Royal jeweller Stuart Devlin for the Paralympic Games

Ian McDougall has been elected RAIA Victorian president >> Allan Powell has withdrawn from Port Phillip Council his objection to the “vulgar commercial look” of a St Kilda chemist shop refurbishment proposed by a former client who, according to The Sunday Age, didn’t pay him for early advice on the job >> Premier Steve Bracks has suggested that neglected Spencer Street Station is due for a revamp >> Geelong City Council is serious about pitching for a southern hemisphere branch of the Guggenheim Museum and is seeking legal advice on how to protect from other regional cities its negotiations with the museum’s governors in New York >> Melbourne’s late-1990s architectural action has generated a significant increase of new students at the schools >> Tim Hurburgh and Mark O’Dwyer, now working as H20, have scored a hit with their first production (credited with their former employers, Bates Smart). The RMIT School of Textiles at Brunswick has an elaborate woven-patchwork facade of western red cedar boards, making it Australia’s largest timber-clad building >> After a similar project in Sydney, Australia Post will convert Melbourne’s obsolete GPO into a mixed-use foyer for a 40-storey office tower and a 25-storey hotel >> Denton Corker Marshall’s Sydney office is working with entrepreneur David Marriner on a commercial-residential-retail development on the Herald and Weekly Times site >> Nation Fender Katsalidis’ 80-storey design for the Eureka Tower at Southbank will allow the builders, Grocon, to top their previous record for constructing Australia’s tallest tower (currently the Rialto) >> Planning Minister John Thwaites has introduced an interim height control of six storeys for the foreshore from Port Melbourne to St Kilda. This will upset Becton’s high-rise hopes for the Esplanade Hotel at St Kilda but comes too late to halt the 18-storey HM@S Lonsdale apartment complex further along the bay. Both projects were designed by Nation Fender Katsalidis

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Fini Group flew New York architect Richard Meier to Perth in February, to advise on two twin-tower developments for its Bishop’s See and Swan Rivage sites. He suggested they replace their residential penthouses with common rooms and pools available to all occupiers. Meanwhile, Meier told the press that Perth generally has “no continuity of street life – it doesn’t seem very well planned. It doesn’t look like a waterfront city” >> Residents of Maylands are unhappy about state government plans to sell the Police Academy site, on the waterfront, for a 241-unit housing project >> Norman Foster and Spowers (with Leighton) have been counted out of the process to decide developers of Perth’s projected convention and exhibition centre and stadium. This leaves Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland investigating the city Busport site for Multiplex and Buchans with Ellerby Beckett preparing schemes for a Northbridge site on behalf of Lend Lease

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Published online: 1 May 2000

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Architecture Australia, May 2000

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