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Right New Zealand’s Anzac memorial for Canberra: one of two bronze arches symbolising the handles of a Maori flax basket carrying interests shared across the Tasman.

Scanning the nation for architectural news and noteworthy nuances.

The Australian Construction Industry Forum is quoting CSIRO research that builders are loading tender prices to allow for skimpy documents from fee-trimmed design consultants. Forum president John McCarthy said “the lesson is clear: by cutting a consultant’s fee two or three percent, you probably end up paying 11 percent more for a project which has design compromises and construction problems leading to time overruns”   >> The Commonwealth Bank says the current economic expansion cycle has lasted 28 quarters, compared with 23 and 24 quarters in the 1970s and 80s, and 49 quarters in the 60s. It predicts a decline in construction soon   >> Travis McEwen (Sydney), Sainsbury Reed (Melbourne) and Swan Railey Clapham (Auckland) are collaborating as the Architecture Alliance

New Zealand is donating an Anzac Memorial to the intersection of Anzac Parade and Constitution Avenue. The concept by Wellington offices Kingsley Baird with Studio of Pacific Architecture will have two tall and languid bronze arches on opposite sides of the parade. Although these have been linked to the McDonalds logo, they are meant to symbolise the woven flax handles of Maori baskets jointly carried by the trans-Tasman nations   >> The Edmund Barton and Cameron Offices are among 46 items added to the Australian Heritage Commission’s interim Register of the National Estate   >> Denton Corker Marshall has won the design of a new Anzac Hall at the Australian War Memorial  >> Romaldo Giurgola has retired from Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp, aged 77

After a year of negotiation with the NSW Government, Jørn Utzon has signed up, with his architect son Jan, to prepare guidelines for refurbishing the Sydney Opera House; a long-term task being locally led by Denton Corker Marshall’s Richard Johnson  >> Lend Lease has named its Renzo Piano complex Aurora Place   >> The Liberal Opposition’s support of retrospective legislation to tidy up the Labor State Government’s legal impediments to developing the Walsh Bay finger wharves has upset Vivian Fraser, architect of the Sulman-winning Wharves 4/5 refurbishment. In a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, he said “I am sad and angry that some of the key players in the process that has led to this result have been fellow architects, in positions of power they demonstrably do not deserve to be put in”   >> Clare Design @ DPWS have been working with Bligh Voller Nield on alterations to the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. The south end will be shortened and triple-terraced for cafés. Meanwhile, Peter Tonkin, who designed with Lawrence Nield the last terminal refurbishment, has been planning an upgrade of Quay restaurant at the north end   >> Gordon & Valich are designing an ecology-conscious bird-watching resort at Maclean in north NSW   >> Law watchdog Evan Whitton has challenged the litigation system, which has taken a mere decade to resolve a minor dispute involving architect André Porbeski, his client and builder, four firms of solicitors and six barristers   >> Herald heritage writer Geraldine O’Brien has updated the paper’s verdict on the Bennelong high-rises which were the target of its 1998 hate campaign. She has written: “Now that the Toaster is there, the scaffolding off, the expensive apartments and restaurants mostly occupied, you can see that it’s um … well, it’s not the worst building of the century”   >> Almost 60 architects for Olympics projects gathered at Homebush in July for a photo and thank-you lunch hosted by the Olympic Co-ordination Authority’s chief, David Richmond to mark the despatch of an OCA-RAIA Olympics exhibition to the RIBA Gallery in

London. The exhibition has been produced by OCA’s urban design manager, Bridget Smyth and her assistant, Charlotte Gay. Meanwhile, controversy continues about whether the architecture is successful. HBO + EMTB’s Lionel Glendenning has said that the precinct is a “sports ghetto” of buildings that are “nowhere near as revolutionary as they should be.” But Government Architect Chris Johnson has said that Sydney looks good in comparisons with the Barcelona projects, despite spending much less money >> Roads Minister Carl Scully and Lord Mayor Frank Sartor have been spatting over plans for a cross-city tunnel; mainly the best place to put its eastern entrance. Scully’s Roads and Traffic Authority was planning portal entries at the top of William Street beside the Australian Museum but the city council and RAIA are pushing for the tunnel to go underground just east of the Kings Cross Tunnel, allowing William Street to become a pedestrian zone. That scheme was proposed in a Harry Seidler-Crone-Cox Richardson report, but a more landscape-related idea is portals at the foot of the William Street rise to the city   >> RAIA NSW president David Brown has reluctantly resigned his local and national Institute duties after a cardiac scare. An election is being called for candidates to replace him   >> UniSA’s Peter Burgess is settling into UTS as Dean of Design, Architecture and Building. Tim Laurence has become Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, with Dr Susan Best as a senior lecturer in architecture >> Former NSW Public Works architect Graham Reading has returned to Sydney from Hong Kong as the entrepreneur of Café Sydney; a restaurant on the roof of Customs House, with views across Circular Quay   >> Sydney architect Paul Connor is exhibiting small collages and assemblages at the Robin Gibson Gallery during September. Many were made in Mutawintji National Park, NSW, where he has been working on Aboriginal shelters   >> With elections in September, Graham Jahn is retiring from the City of Sydney Council  >> After a sustained boom in architectural projects, the State Government seems to be shifting budgets towards transport infrastructure >> The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority is offering 99-year leases on Wharves 19, 20 and 21 at Pyrmont Point. It also plans to open to ferry and bus passengers the northern part of the Garden Island naval base   >> East Balmain residents are objecting to plans to move the Water Police HQ from Pyrmont Point to Ewenton Park. The scheme is by Clare Design @ DPWS  >> UNewcastle’s School of Architecture is holding a reunion of former staff and students from April 6-8 next year. Two publications— Architects of the Hunter 1840-1940,by Les Reedman, and A History of the Newcastle School of Architecture, by Don Morris and Bob Donaldson, will be launched. Contact Bob Donaldson at the school   >> Ignoring several unusually active candidates from newspapers, the NSW RAIA did not conduct its Adrian Ashton Award for Architectural Journalism this year   >> The Design Institute of Australia is hosting Design 99,a conference with Massimo Vignelli and Eva Jiricna among overseas speakers, in Sydney September 26-29   >> In a high-profile example of designer-brand apartments, Rem Koolhaas is being promoted as the architect for the Stiljvol (‘Style Zone’) warehouse conversion in Surry Hills. In fact, the lead architect is Noel Bell Ridley Smith and show interiors were done by OMA’s Hong Kong office   >> The first two ‘Design Progress’ lectures held by groovy Surry Hills showroom Source four ninety have attracted more than 300 designers and architects: first to hear Donovan Hill from Brisbane, then Wood Marsh from Melbourne >> Neville Gruzman has criticised the Land and Environment Court as being ill-informed

Left Hames Sharley’s redesigned Barracks
Square development, with a yacht-style
belltower, on the Perth riverfront.

Students at UniNT’s fledgling School of the Built Environment have exhibited their first-semester projects

At press deadline, the announcement was imminent of UQ Professor Michael Keniger as part-time Government Architect. John Simpson said he was not approached   >> City property stakeholders strongly favour a super-stadium at the RNA Showgrounds rather than Lang Park, but the RAIA has criticised the State Government for secrecy and it seems that some Ministers are keen on Lang Park despite its feasibility problems   >> The Property Council of Australia has claimed that Brisbane has become a “branch office town” because of decentralisation and downsizing. However, executive director Ross Elliott was positive about the Capital City Taskforce policy statement recently released by the Peter Beattie government and Jim Soorley city council   >> Controversy attends a proposal for a theme park on a 40ha Bruce Highway site near the Glasshouse Mountains   >> Global Arts Link, the Ipswich regional gallery, has reopened after Arkhe Field’s renovations to the old Town Hall   >> Lord Mayor Soorley, a noted architecture critic, has dismissed the heritage significance of James Birrell’s 1961 Toowong Library, although the ‘flying saucer’ is heritage-listed   >> Kangaroo Point’s historic naval store is being recycled as a leisure centre by the Brisbane City Council with the National Trust   >> At the UIA’s Beijing congress in July, QUT Adjunct Professor Jennifer Taylor won a Jean Tschumi honourable mention for architectural criticism and education

Grocon has released Woods Bagot’s design to convert the former ETSA office building into Adelaide’s most expensive apartments   >> Kent Town’s former bluestone brewery will be redeveloped as 81 housing units with seven penthouses. The site’s historic silos are likely to be demolished   >> Adelaide’s Lord Mayor, Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, was the only city councillor opposing a notion to charge a $40 levy on BAs to fund random inspections of construction sites   >> SA councils say they lack resources to police the criminals responsible for a wave of illegal domestic renovations around Adelaide   >> State Cabinet has approved $70 million to upgrade the Adelaide Convention Centre in time for $91 million worth of bookings from September 2001   >> The Vincent Landing marina housing development at Yorke Peninsula has been government-approved

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has launched an appeal for $200,000 to curate 1000 drawings by Henry Hunter,who dominated Hobart architecture in the mid 19th century   >> Finances are not coming together for Robert Morris-Nunn’s Olivier Leigh Centre additions to Hobart’s Theatre Royal   >> After last minute tender dramas involving “lines in the sand”, Forward Viney is in construction on the Federation Concert Hall, but there’s public disappointment about a cladding switch from bronze to pre-painted aluminium   >> The RAIA’s new Chapter President, Damian Rogers, has been talking “tongue-in-cheek” about closing the Hobart office; thus losing its veteran manager, Norma Calder  >> Hobart City Council has approved Stage 1 of Maritime Place at Sullivans Cove: a dockside plaza and partial reconstruction of the 1939 Waterside Workers Building   >> “Minor amendments” to the approved Hobart silos apartments scheme, by Heffernan Button Voss, were rejected, on appeal, as being not exactly minor   >> The State Government wants to license builders

UMelbourne architecture students are being virtually taken to building sites via an Oracle program developed by the school   >> Carlton residents are opposing the scale of UMelb’s proposed University Square: four office buildings looming 30 to 52 metres above Victorian terrace houses   >> Wind-sway

dampers have been fitted to the towers of Denton Corker Marshall’s Bolte Bridge (well into construction)   >> Federal funding, budget and industrial relations problems have been plaguing Fed Square but Lab says these are now sorted out   >> The first residents have moved into Nation Fender Katsalidis’ Republic Tower; many of them friends of Nonda’s who are moving with him for the third time since Melbourne Terrace (1994). NFK is elaborating the building with art displays curated by the in-house Visible Art Foundation  >> Answering fears of Surfers Paradise-style development along Port Phillip Bay, Planning Minister Rob Maclellan has announced that a four-storey height limit will apply to most developments, with an 8 or 10-storey limit along Bay Street. However, he has the power to rule differently on specific schemes   >> The State Government has dropped negotiations with favoured developer Ken Latona for new eco-tourist facilities at Wilson’s Promontory   >> Docklands news: Daryl Jackson’s Colonial Stadium is expected to open in February. Wood Marsh will design transport links to the CBD. The Batmans Hill site is again open for expressions—with Grocon intending to resubmit its DCM scheme for the world’s tallest tower   >> In a letter to The Age, taxi driver John Shillday claimed that six out of 10 of his passengers are “very negative” about DCM’s City Link Gateway. But a later Age editorial told readers: “trust us, you will learn to love it”   >> Some Victorian architects are going anti-Sydney again. At an RMIT seminar, Ian McDougall alerted his audience to “talentless Sydney architects” while Norman Day, architecture critic for ABC TV’s The Arts Show, bagged major Olympics 2000 venues while being quite nice about some smaller pavilions   >> Premier Kennett has raised the idea of building a new Parliament House; the historic Spring Street building may be far too expensive to upgrade   >> The State Library of Victoria is entering Stage 2 of its renovations designed by Sydney’s Ancher Mortlock & Woolley  >> Spowers is designing an ESD office building in Carlton for the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Surrowee Corporation  >> Mirvac says it has buyers for most of its up-market apartments at The Melburnian tower on the old Prince Henry Hospital site   >> Melbourne City Council is divided on many issues, acknowledges Lord Mayor Peter Costigan  >> Neil Clerehan says that his 1961-64 partnership with Guilford Bell does not appear in the chronology in the new, visually immaculate, book on Bell

The WA construction scene is livening up, with various major projects under way and in discussion   >> Construction has begun on Hames Sharley’s Barrack Square redevelopment, including a redesigned belltower   >> Meanwhile, the town of Bolgart has found its own bell and is also building a new tower   >> Norman Foster, IM Pei, Hassell and Cox are among architects on seven teams bidding for the State convention and exhibition centre   >> Environment Minister Cheryl Edwardes has approved a $150 million brickworks at Hazelmere, despite local protests

Lend Lease has rebranded its design, construction and project management operations under the global name Lend Lease Projects. In theory, this spells the end of Civil & Civic—although C&C hoardings are still embellishing Sydney building sites   >> Dutch architects bbvh have set up the world’s first Web site for nominations and elections of bad architecture: click to   >> The last volume of the 10-part series World Architecture: A Critical Mosaic 1900-2000 is the first to be published. At the UIA’s Beijing congress, the Oceania-Asia volume was launched in Chinese and it is being printed in English. The Oceania editor is Jennifer Taylor, assisted by Australians Philip Goad, Andrew Metcalf and Neville Quarry  >> Melburnian Richard Marshall is organising a conference on the waterfronts of post-industrial cities, including Sydney, at Harvard October 7-9



Published online: 1 Sep 1999


Architecture Australia, September 1999

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