Scanning the nation for architectural news and noteworthy nuances.

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting

Cox Rayner’s approved scheme for Southbank Bridge in Brisbane.

Four hundred entries flooded in for Stage 1 of the RAIA-SONA international student design competition. Stage 2 entries are due in on June 1 • The UIA council has agreed to meet in Sydney just before the RAIA’s next big convention in June-July 2000 • In  World Architecture ’s latest survey of practices, Peddle Thorp lists as 8th largest (320 architects), Woodhead International as 24th, Woods Bagotas 31st, Hassell 40th, Spowers 42nd and Buchan Group46th.

The federal government has been taking developers’ submissions for updating the Cameron and Benjamin offices in Belconnen, although demolition, or partial demolition, of John Andrews’ Cameron is still an option because (according to a minister’s spokesperson) “they are dysfunctional and do not meet health and safety requirements” • UCanberra 3rd years have exhibited ideas for improving run-down ACT shopping centres • Controversy continues about the Ashton Raggatt McDougalldesign for the National Museum of Australia on Acton Peninsula • ACT building developments now can be assessed by private certifiers.

Under the chairmanship of Liberal lawyer Barry O’Keefe, theNational Trust has been firing solicitors’ salvos over the Walsh Bay development (alleged to be illegally approved) and the Conservatorium of Music extensions, (claiming it’s been defamed by Government Architect Chris Johnson and theRAIA with an  Architecture Bulletin  advertisement headed ‘Don’t Be Conned by the Trust’) • Backed by a family fortune and with city council support, entrepreneur Justin Hemmes plans to rescue the arson-damaged George Pattersons site on George Street. The historic sandstone ruins are intended to house a 37-room hotel, 14 bars and nightclubs, a grand ballroom, an atrium and a roof garden. Young Justin has told the  Financial Review  that he’s the architect and Crone Associates just do the drafting • Meanwhile, Crone is shifting focus from recent disappointments in Asia to the Middle East. Principal Greg Crone has announced that his firm is designing three residential towers in Dubai and a master plan for 140ha of coastline in Qatar. Back in Sydney, it’s working with Cox Richardson on a recently approved scheme for Wharves 9 & 10 at East Darling Harbour • Green Games Watch 2000, a government-funded office, has produced a draft environmental policy for the Sydney region. It urges advances in public transport, especially in the western suburbs; new anti-pollution practices; measures to increase the energy efficiency of new buildings and better management of waste at public events • Meriton has finally won approval to build 300 apartments over the Bondi Junction bus/rail interchange • NSW Premier Bob Carrhas opened a controversial landbridge/lawn over the Eastern Distributor beside the Art Gallery of NSW. It was designed by Jackson Teece Chesterman Willis, then substantially modified by the government after complaints from gallery director Edmund Capon and others • Devine Erby Mazlin(which has been privatising to usurp a languishing share price) are architects for a Stockland Trust office tower redevelopment of Scots Church in York Street; an early sandstone monument • The Powerhouse is expanding itsBurley Griffin exhibition with new silk renderings by Marion, recently discovered in pristine condition • The Department of Public Works & Services’ redesign of Railway Square, now nearing completion, is attracting controversy over the flamboyant design of the central bus shelter and four artist-conceived towers • Author Philip Drew’s unauthorised biography of Jørn Utzon, to be released in May, is said to contain new information to explain “the real reason” whyUtzon has never returned • French architect Philippe Robert has set up a Sydney office and is working with developer Robert Magid on a $15 million facelift for Manly Wharf. He is also collaborating with developers Walker Corpand entrepreneur José de la Vega on a major Seine island development in Paris • Numerous new developments are moving ahead to update Double Bay and Darling Point with prestigious apartments and retail •Glenn Murcutt’s latest production, the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre at Bundanon, has opened to acclaim. It was designed withWendy Lewin and Reg Lark and touches the earth heavily, with an unexpected reliance on raw concrete as well as steel and glass • The state government has changed the Heritage Act to introduce a heritage register and minimum standards of maintenance on registered properties, with some funds available for cash-strapped owners • Despite some complaints about the decorative style of the venue, and a general dearth of senior architectural celebrities, the February opening of the 40 UPexhibition on Australia’s next generation attracted 700 people and a Channel 9 camera crew, with almost all the annointed youngsters flying in for three days of networking • The City of Sydney’s new exhibition space at Customs House was also launched with fanfare in February. Its key attraction is a large model of the whole city, kept up to date with new proposals and projects • RAIA President David Brown has been re-elected for a second two-year term, while James Grose now has a place on the National Council • More than 200 high-level seats in the recently opened Olympic Stadium can’t be sold during the Games because the suspended roof blocks views—but the Olympic Co-ordination Authority says there’ll be no shortage of good places.

Despite controversy about design and siting, Premier Peter Beattie has green-lighted Cox Rayner’s scheme for a pedestrian and cycle bridge to span from a yet-to-be-decided spot near the maritime museum at Southbank across to the botanic gardens and QUT • More activity in theRAIA’s Brisbane office. National professional development manager Judy Vulker has lost her job in a restructure which takes PD to Melbourne (it was to go to Canberra last year). The new situation will have two more junior people in Melbourne (one for PD and one for events management) supervised by Graham Scott-Bohanna. Vulker‘s assistant,Elaine Holbrook, had previously resigned. Meanwhile, Peter Lazenby (from a military background) has started as RAIA state manager, after the controversial exit of Mark Tucker-Evans last year • On the shortlist for a CSIRO Institute of Molecular Biology at UQ are Cox-MSJ, Hassell, Peddle Thorpwith Donovan Hill, Conrad & Gargett, Wilson Architects andDaryl Jackson • Melbourne interlopers Denton Corker Marshall and Ashton Raggatt McDougall are tackling three local partnerships—Bligh Voller with Donovan Hill, Cox Rayner with Bud Brannigan and Daryl Jackson with Rob Riddel—to design new Southbank facilities for theQueensland College of Art • Elsewhere at Southbank, there’s admiration for the DCM arbour now under construction and the reopening of Gray Street, next to the convention centre, with an IMAX Theare designed by Sydney’s HBO + EMTB • New Brisbane City Councilbylaws to regulate energy-efficient housing could cost owners $1000 per home, alleges the Housing Industry Association • Noosa residents are concerned about another tourist-slanted development thrust. Of concern are plans by Ariadne for a resort on Noosa Hill, a residential project on Hastings Street and a 52 ha, $500 million community centre on the shire’s fringe • Developers are seductively marketing the Town of Seaside subdivision at Coolum; a direct take from the Duany/Plater-Zyberk new urbanism prototype in Florida • Following the Labor government’s axing of the Rivercity super-stadium, being designed byHassell for the silvertail suburb of Hamilton, there’s fresh speculation about a revised site and concept • The federal government is on the nose in Townsville for failing to help rebuild the flood-damaged Strand precinct.

Melbourne developer Bruno Grollo has announced a residential development of Adelaide’s 10-storey ETSA building • The federal government has approved tax breaks for a $170 million redevelopment of Adelaide’s airport; a project worth 800 jobs and expected to double capacity for international flights • Transport SA has generated debate with plans for a community artists’ city gateway at Glen Osmond, Cross and Portrush Roads, featuring sculptures, a water wall, artworks along the freeway and bluestone walls.

Vodaphone is opening a $12 million call centre at Kingston. The architects are Blythe Yeung •Spirit Airlines, planning to offer cheap flights between Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne, is also planning a Tasmanian call centre • Developers’ responses have been called for the site of the former Springs Hotel on Mt Wellington, which was burned down in the 1967 bushfires.  The Mercury  has urged the Wellington Park Management Trust and Hobart City Council to “show no mercy” to mediocre concepts • Architect Jamieson Allom claims the city council’s open space/maritime theme/heritage-conscious design for the Civic site would “benefit greatly from an injection of design brilliance” • Robert Morris-Nunn has unveiled his design for the Olivier Leigh Centre, a four-storey office block, restaurant, café and car park beside the Theatre Royal (where British thespians Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh once performed).

Shortlisted architects for replanning the Museum of Modern Art at Heide are Lab Architecture Studio, Bligh Voller Nield with Hargreaves Associates,David Luck withBruce Marshall, and O’Connor and Houle. The winner will be announced on March 26 • Contrary to expectations, Premier Jeff Kennett has indicated that his government won’t override the City of Port Phillip Council’s rejection of the Becton-Katsalidis scheme for a 38-storey development of St Kilda’s historic Esplanade Hotel site. But the 18-storey towers (also by Katsalidis) proposed for the HMAS Londsale site at Port Melbourne have won Planning Minister Rob Maclellan’s approval • A row of historic terrace houses is under threat from buildings (one up to 66 metres high) proposed for UMelbourne’s private university at Carlton • The federal government has awarded more than $12 million in tax breaks to the City Link scheme to extend Exhibition Street • UMelbourne graduate Anita Ashtonlomax has won the $18,000 biannual Marten Bequest scholarship for architectural studies • This year’s  Interior Designex ,at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre May 13-16, will again have Rooms on View, the Dulux Colour Awards and a seminar series of international speakers plus Australian architects Donovan Hill and Sean Godsell • Premier Kennett has suggested tax deductions for restoring old buildings • Nauru’s government is again considering development of its Southern Cross site, after reaching a scheme of arrangement on its debts to theMelbourne City Council • The council has been usurped by state government plans to build a large bowling club at Flagstaff Gardens • Richmond residents are outraged by comments from government planning panellists ProfessorDimity Reed and John Bennett, that the 1 ha Jacques site should go up to seven storeys in a low neighbourhood of terrace houses • Architect Emin Smrekar has proposed converting the Sandridge Railway Bridge into a pedestrian link displaying outdoor artworks • After an abrupt cancellation several years ago, Premier Kennett is again talking with unions about a development of Parliament House to complete the unfinished dome • The  City Edge conference on March 25-26 will debate conflicts of private development and the public realm, with top planners coming to speak from Berlin, Barcelona and Beirut • John Castles (AM) was the only architect named in the New Year’s Honours list • The St Kilda Sea Baths development is finally beginning construction •BHP’s financial woes have prevented publication of the March issue of  Steel Profile , edited by photographer Peter Hyatt, who says the respected publication’s future is in doubt.

The state government plans a CBD site for its $100 million convention and exhibition centre, and hopes to attach a stadium. But potential developers, including Burswood Casino and the Western Australia Cricket Association, desire other locations • Premier Richard Court has accorded with public outcry over Hames Sharley’s “too- modern” design for the Barracks Square belltower and has ordered a redesign. There’s also an issue of acoustics for the historically significant London bells • After recentRAIA workshops, architects have gone public with complaints that their role, and building quality, is being diminished • Perth’s first new CBD commercial building in seven years has received approval. It’s a five storey HQ for the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hay Street.

A Radar item in AA Jan/Feb 99 has sparked an academic controversy about how to judge the viability of architecture schools. In a report to the Australian Council of Professions on university education, the RAIA quoted an unnamed head of school’s suggestion that 300 full-time students “would be minimum to stay afloat” under current government funding policies. If that criteria is applied, quite a few Australian schools are already unviable (their student numbers can be compared in the Institute’s annual schools survey). But we are not publishing their names, as implied last issue, because we’ve been persuaded that many schools have various sources of income and the RAIA’s statement was not quite right • Architecture Australia  has again won key honours in the Australian Business Publishers Awards. Our May/June 98 issue, with Patrick Bingham-Hall’s cover photo of Cox Sanderson Ness’ Eureka Centre, won Best Single Issue Graphic Design, and our designers, Carl Martin and Michelina Fortuna, were runners-up for Graphic Designer of the Year (they won this category earlier) • The RAIA and building groups are still fighting over the Institute’s CIC-1 contract. The Master Builders Association says it overly favours owners, avoids allocating legal responsibilities to architects and places unreasonable onus on contractors. Peter Barda, former head of the Construction Industry Development Authority, told the  Financial Review  that “the main game is not the contract. It is the way the project is conceived, documented and managed and the contract should come last.” • A recent RAIA survey of members produced overwhelming disagreement with the idea of Institute regulation of architects: 76% were for nationally uniform but state-administered regulation • After several trials on major projects, the Australian Constructors Association is promoting ‘relationship contracting’, where a project team of contractors, consultants and clients works together to share expertise and risks in preference to the current habit of exploiting each entity’s errors for individual profit and risk management.

Jones Coulter Young’s design for a new health and sciences building at Edith Cowen University’s Joondalup campus, Perth.



Published online: 1 Mar 1999


Architecture Australia, March 1999

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