Philippe Robert’s proposed Renault redevelopment on and around the Ile Seguin in Paris.
Cook and Phillip Plaza, with unclad spires on St Mary’s Cathedral. Image: Brett Boardman
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Canberra is commissioning more memorials. First, the Magna Carta, Britain’s 1215 bill of legal rights (now owned by Australia), will be commemorated in the park west of Old Parliament House. British and Australian designers are proposing concepts for Magna Carta Place, to be opened during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in September 2001. The National Capital Authority is also running a design competition for a memorial to emergency rescue services on a site in the Parliamentary Triangle • ACT Planning and Land Management is concerned about the impact of the 37.5 ha Kingston Foreshore development on the Jerrabomberra wetlands. The scheme will create a new basin and enlarge the boat harbour, extend the Kingston street grid to the water, install a promenade around the lakeshore and build small cultural facilities, including market sheds and craft workshops • A hospice is planned for Grevillea Park, East Basin.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Construction is imminent on a Bates Smart conversion of Walsh Bay Wharves 8 and 9 for the headquarters ofMultiplex and Murdoch Magazines – and leases on more wharves at Pyrmont are being offered by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority • Meriton’s Harry Triguboffis negotiating to buy World Square – Sydney’s most famous ‘black hole’ from the early 90s recession – with a design competition expected for apartment towers and a retail complex • Lord Mayor Frank Sartor’s ‘Living Sydney’ independents won four of the seven City of Sydney Council seats in the September election. His new deputy is lawyer Lucy Hughes Turnbull (author of the history tome Sydney: Biography of a City). For the first time in almost two decades, there’s no architect councillor, but Sartor is introducing a Lord Mayor’s Medal and other awards for architectural excellence • The noisiest council election issue was the future of Chinatown, with Sartor fighting an agenda by Labor candidate Robert Ho and NSW Labor Council directorMichael Costa to raise the height limit and floor space ratios in this precinct. Both are associated with buildings which would gain value from such a policy • Owners of the Colonial Centre in Martin Place are in court about the legality of the City of Sydney’s DA for the Norman Foster-Hassell- designed BT Tower – concerned that it would shadow and block harbour views from their building •Bligh Voller Nield’s revisions of the 1957 modernist MLC building at North Sydney (Bates Smart McCutcheon, 1957) is being praised for innovations in office design such as a ‘Zen den’, fish tank, abundant sofas and a staircase through the offices. DEGW did the space plan • French architect Philippe Robert, setting up in Sydney, has been attacked by The Sydney Morning Herald’s heritage-focused ‘architecture’ writer, Geraldine O’Brien. In an item triggered by conservation specialistRobert Moore, she observed that “we got the wrong French architect” when Robert advised on recycling Sydney’s Walsh Bay wharves – and she praised Jean Nouvel’s adaptive reuse stance in the current Paris drama over whether to recycle or raze obsolete Renault industrial buildings on the Seine island of Seguin. Missing from her text were minor details that Robert designed the Renault recycling scheme which arch-modernist Nouvel supports, and that the developer is Sydney’s José de la Vega – initiator of the wharf updates at Walsh Bay and Woolloomooloo • London publisher Thames & Hudsonsold out its first edition of New Australia Style,a pictorial survey of houses by George Michell and John Gollings. Reprinting? Yes • Melbourne architects again dominate the environmental category of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Seppelt Awards. This year’s finalists are Wood Marsh, Kerstin Thompson andLyon Architects • The NSW government plans a post-Olympics transformation of Parramatta: agreeing to restore 89 heritage buildings to encourage tourism and to move 4000 city-based employees into privately developed office blocks • The former GPO at Martin Place has reopened as a retail and food emporium and Westin Hotel, with restoration by Clive Lucas Stapletonand new towers by the Buchan Group • Only a few weeks after retiring as a Sydney city councillor, Graham Jahn won the RAIA’s NSW presidency, following the unscheduled exit of David Brown • Apartment developerMeriton is promoting design quality, with director Harry Triguboff claiming that buyers are more discriminating and “architects have improved over the last 30 years.” Architects with Meriton projects include Tony Caro, Kann Finch, Jahn Associates, Nettleton Tribe and Eugene Marchese • The Fox Studios ‘Backlot’ theme park, art-directed by Baz Luhrmann and Barrie Kosky, has opened to the public • UTS Aspro Winston Barnett has been annointed visiting professor of civic ecology at UWS. Meanwhile, at UNSW, architecture head Desley Luscombe has become an Aspro • DCM’s Richard Johnson was to again visit Jørn Utzon in Marbella in November, to discuss Opera House revisions • The City of Sydney’s Cook and Phillip Parks swimming complex, designed by Bligh Voller Nield with Spackman Mossop, has opened to mixed reviews. The council is planning another pool complex at Ultimo • The South Sydney suburb of Victoria Park is going ahead, with Tonkin Zulaikha winning the first housing, DCM the commercial strip and DPWS with Hassell the public domain • Premier Bob Carr supported the tradition of public buildings in a speech to launch Shaping Sydney, Chris Johnson’s history of NSW government architects. However, the book’s key concept of “civic decorum” was later mocked by Sunday Telegraph columnist Leo Schofield in relation to recent civic ‘monstrosities’ • John Maclurcan,of Fowell Mansfield Jarvis Maclurcan, has died, aged 80 • The City Exhibition Space at Customs House is unveiling a summer exhibition, called City Visions, of historical plans for Sydney’s future • Ken Woolley’s southern extension to the Darling Harbour Convention Centre has opened beneath flyovers. Features include a concourse with angled glass walls and floral carpets by once anti-decorative designers Burley Katon Halliday • After purchasing Rozelle’s railyards, the SHFA is studying options for a business park, retail precinct or warehouses • After seven years asArchitecture Australia’s editor, Davina Jackson plans to leave next March • Sydney Ports is remodelling the Circular Quay passenger terminal to designs by Lindsay and Kerry Clare of DPWS with Bligh Voller Nield. Their scheme transforms the southern end with three tiers of decks, curved like the stern of an ocean liner. At the north end, Tonkin Zulaikha is updating Quay restaurant • The SHFA has been running design competitions for waterfront housing around Pyrmont. Alex Tzannes’ Promontory is now being marketed off the plan •Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp’s Scientia building has opened at the peak of a major axis at UNSW – near other buildings by DCM and BVN • Infrastructure architectsDesignInc/SJPH seem well placed for a post-Olympics boom in rail lines. They are finishing a suite of stations from the city to Sydney airport • USydney celebrated the 80th birthday of its architecture faculty with a dinner party and major restructure of courses by Dean Gary Moore.
Storey Hall goes postal Melbourne’s Malthouse Arts Centre, a current project for Seppelt Award finalists Wood Marsh.
Archicentre’s Darwin manager, Peter Fletcher, has warned renovators against “the top 10 ways to devalue a home”.
Lord Mayor Jim Soorley is leading wide dismay about the Labor government’s decision to expand Lang Park instead of building a new super-stadium at the RNA Showgrounds. While tradition favours Lang Park, it’s in a residential suburb and cannot expand or have car parking • John Mainwaring, on contract to the Brisbane City Council for Queen Street Mall, has been expressing trepidation to the Courier Mail about the emerging mall sun shelters and kiosks, saying “we can’t do any back-slapping yet” • Developer Bruce Small has angered the Queensland Conservation Council for selling house building sites on a 1960s canal subdivision next to the Couran Cove eco-resort on South Stradbroke Island. He also plans to build a ‘Fiji-style’ hotel and marina on his 26ha site • Property firms are being offered the former Boral site at Newstead to develop as a residential precinct along Cox Rayner guidelines which include a large new inlet from the Brisbane River as a focus of public leisure • Cairns has significantly expanded its convention centre, designed by Cox Rayner • A private university for 3000 students is being built in the Cairns railway precinct • UQ professor Michael Keniger has given his first speech as Government Architect (part-time) • Artist Glen Henderson’sTekhné exhibition, of artist-architect collaborative installations in the RAIA’s Merivale Street office, has been well received. It ran with the Asia-Pacific Triennale at the nearby Queensland Art Gallery • A seven-storey hospital/medical complex is being built at Mater Hill, South Brisbane, to a design by architects Phillips Smith Cornwell.
After more than five years of doldrums culminating with an aborted development of the John Martin department store site two years ago, Adelaide again is a happening town. Projects include extensions to the convention and festival centres, new hotels, waterside and suburban precincts and city apartments, a power station at Pelican Point, a metal processing plant at Port Augusta, and redevelopment of the Mildara Blass winery • Adelaide penthouse prices have risen to almost $1 million after an off-the-plan sell-out of architect/developer Max Liberman’s ‘Maxwell on the Park’ building at Grenfell Street and East Terrace.
Hobart’s concert hall project is troubled, with figures blowing out after tendering of the Forward Viney design • With slides borrowed from academic Barrie Shelton, Hobart architect Keith Drew presented guests at the Tasmania RAIA awards with history of the island’s architecture • Developer Geoff Harper has won his 14- month battle to recycle Hobart’s waterfront wheat silos as apartments – but has threatened to sue his opponents for causing costly delays • Ken Latona, the architect/entrepreneur of several hiking resorts in Tasmanian national parks, has winced to Melbourne’s The Ageabout being called a developer. He recently lost a battle with environmentalists to build bush huts at Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria
Former Premier Jeff Kennett has resigned as Liberal leader after failing to win a majority for the Coalition after the state elections. After a backlash from country voters, the Labor Party will govern with support from three independents • During the state election, the federal government allocated $120 million to widen and upgrade the Melbourne-Geelong road • RMIT is buying the Walter and Marion Griffin-designed Capitol Theatre to convert it into a lecture hall for maths students, with hire for functions at night • Melbourne Lord Mayor Peter Costigan will lobby the new state government to have the city council take control of Docklands • Melbourne City Council wants to remove the King Street overpass to improve access to the Yarra • Melbourne’s dearth of designer hotels is relieved by two new arrivals: The Hotel Lindrum at South Bank (architects Swaney Draper with design by Terry Fripp) and The Prince at St Kilda (Allan Powell) • Nation Fender Katsalidis is designing the 12-level Chifley Hotel, Chinatown’s first new building in a decade • The Age’s architecture critic, Norman Day, has described Swanston Street as a blighted “soft centre” of the city and has criticised the new City Square hotel, designed by Robert Peck von Hartel Trethowan, for “swallowing” the outline of the cathedral behind. In Sydney, UNSW ProfessorJames Weirick has dubbed the hotel “Melbourne’s Toaster” • Day has also questioned, again in The Age, the environmental integrity and technological sophistication of two sexily sculptural, glass-shrouded, ‘computerised’ apartment buildings recently announced: The Marquise, modelled in clay by young sculptor Brett Robertson (documented by UrbanDesign Architects) and the Ikon by Kovac Malone • Ewen Campbell Laird,a former director of Buchan Laird & Bawden and a founder of the Apex group, has died, aged 92 • Sydney’s Alex Tzannes is on board with East Asia Properties to develop the Hawthorn tram depot for housing • Melbourne’s new Planetarium, designed by BSA-Sinclair Knight Merz, has opened • A luxury hydrothermal spa complex is to be built at Warrnambool – claimed to be Victoria’s largest (commercial) tourism project • Painter Howard Arkley, often linked with Peter Corrigan in his ironic and lurid tributes to suburban housing, died shortly after his triumphant exhibition opened in the Australian pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Casino operator Burswood is planning a hotel-entertainment complex for the 19ha Swan Portland cement works site • The RAIA is backing the City of Fremantle’s attempts to save 1940s grain silos on North Quay from demolition by the Fremantle Port Authority • Kalgoorlie’s oldest brothel, Langtrees, is replacing its streetfront ’starting stalls’ in a $2 million upgrade to include theme rooms like ‘Alan Bond Lounge’ • The WA government’s plans for houses at Leighton Beach have been criticised by Opposition planning spokesperson Alannah MacTiernan because they contradict its own rules on how close to build to the ocean cliffs • Plans for a three-storey, heritage-style weatherboard hotel hovering on steel piles above the Swan River at Barrack Square are open for public comment. The 74-room scheme includes a public boardwalk and outdoor dining • Cottesloe residents are opposing a flat-roofed house proposed by architect Tim Wright, to replace a turn-of-the- century cottage. There’s mayoral talk of turning the neighbourhood into a heritage zone • Greens MLA Jim Scott has accused the Richard Court government of giving away $1.5 million of Crown land to developers • Deputy Premier Hendy Cowan has urged Premier Court to stop spending on monuments after several years of State Budget blow-outs. Plans include the convention centre, Barracks Square belltower, a motor sports venue and the maritime museum
The RAIA has thoroughly rewritten a draft national urban design policy for comment before probably publishing an urban version of the Environmental Design Guide • Australia Post illustrates Ashton Raggatt McDougall’s RMIT Storey Hall on one of four stamps coinciding with the ‘Design 99’ international conference, hosted in Sydney by the Design Institute of Australia in September. The four-day event attracted more than 1500 delegates, with another 600 attending a Colour Society of Australia seminar just before • Archicentre’s Robert Caulfield says trades costs have risen up to 20% because of pre-Olympics and pre-GST demand – and he believes costs will fall after the tax • Henley Properties is becoming AV Jennings’ main rival in project homes • The Edge of the Possible, a documentary by Daryl Dellora on Jørn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House, has won a Golden Plaque in the Chicago television competition • ABC producer Janne Ryan is well advanced on a TV series about Australian architecture.