Scanning the nation for architectural news and noteworthy nuances.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Activist Jack Kershaw is leading a community group to move theNational Museum away from Acton Peninsula, but Government has approved a budget-tighter version of the Ashton Raggatt McDougall design • Brian Dowling has produced a versatile ‘dual-key’ design for Holiday Inn tourist apartments on Northbourne Avenue: this system allows each suite to be split into two smaller units • Annabelle Pegrum is the new head of the National Capital Authority: she supports a “private sector backbone” to counter the dwindling role of the public service in ACT’s economy and the Howard government’s lack of support • The NCA and ACT government hope to expand the Canberra Centre, with updated footbridges across the street and a first floor cinema complex • Dobbed in by an ex-employee, New Age Architecture has paid $10,000 to settle a claim that it ran unlicensed copies of Autodesk CAD.
The City of Sydney’s King George V Recreation Centre, designed by Ed Lippmann for a site beside the harbour bridge.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Several days before a protest led by Tom Uren, Peter Kingstonand architects Ric Leplastrier and Brian Zulaikha, the Carr government said it was green-lighting the Walsh Bay scheme, as modified by consent authority Sue Holliday, head of theDepartment of Urban Affairs and Planning. Acknowledging that the Peddle Thorp/Walsh Bay Properties scheme (brokered by Government Architect Chris Johnson with French consultantPhilippe Robert) contradicted the conservation plan, her ‘half-and- half’ changes require Wharves 2/3 and 4/5 to remain connected to shore sheds lining Hickson Road. But Wharf 6/7 and its shore shed can be replaced by a new apartment complex and the shore shed for Wharf 8/9 can be rebuilt • Anticipating the March state election, Opposition (Liberal) Leader Peter Collins has promised a Minister for Sydney to integrate the fragments of metropolitan planning •Cox Richardson has succeeded in its Land and Environment Courtappeal to demolish Chatsworth, a grand Potts Point villa built byJoseph Kethel in 1921, for a block of 24 harbour-view apartments > The Museum of Contemporary Art has named Melbourne architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall and Michael Trudgeon, and Perth landscape architect Richard Weller, as finalists in the new environmental design category of the SeppeltContemporary Art Awards. The winner is named late November • Michael Edgley and Metro Theatre are the last two bidders to develop a roller coaster-less Luna Park. The scheme from Olympics 2000 Director of Ceremonies Ric Birch dropped out • The Federal Court has found that Sydney’s Clarendon Group”flagrantly copied” a house design from its Melbourne rival,Henley • Planners from Barcelona (Josep Acebillo), San Francisco (Diane Oshima) and Melbourne (John Tabart) are speaking on waterfronts at Darling Harbour, September 23-25 • Diane Kell, the architect who edited Constructional Review until it closed last year, has died, of cancer, aged 60. In his testimonial, Harry Seidler said her magazine was “the one publication in Australia which achieved a reputation in the architectural and engineering professions, second to none” • The NSW RAIA has been asked by Yvonne and Paul Maule, owners of John Verge’s Aberglasslyn House at Maitland, to return their dining room’s original fire surround, which they say was illegally sold by an earlier owner and installed in Tusculum by Clive Lucas Stapleton, then the heritage architects for both buildings • According to KPMG’s Centre for Consumer Research, the highbrow performing arts must target a category of high-income, time-poor, quality-seeking Australians known as BFAGs after their interest in balance, food, architecture and gardening • The commercial success of Harry Seidler’s Horizon Tower is enticing smaller developers to commission ‘branded’ apartment blocks by fashionable designers; withEngelen Moore particularly benefitting • Wagga Wagga City Council has won almost $75,000 from the Australia Council to fund a boulder installation by architect Chris Helyar and artistArthur Wicks,at a Helyar-initiated sculpture park beside the Murrumbidgee • Lord Mayor Frank Sartor has describedProperty Council members as ‘neanderthals’ after their journal critiqued council support for CBD apartment towers • TheDarling Harbour Authority is celebrating its 10th birthday with a new building spree and additions to John Andrews’ convention centre. Yet one of its finer productions, the King St footbridge by Buzacott Caro, may be demolished (before it opens) to suit an unanticipated wharves development planned by Jackson Teece Chesterman Willis and designed by Cox Richardson • August storms caused spectacular structural subtractions fromMitchell/Giurgola & Thorp’s new UNSW architecture faculty building-occupied but not formally handed over. Students and staff were evacuated • Schemes by Cox Richardson andHarry Seidler for non-orthogonal and high-rise developments at South Sydney are contradicting Stanisic Turner’s Green Square masterplan, which sets up a tight order of eight-storey perimeter blocks. Conforming to that line are Allen Jack + Cottier andGordon + Valich.
These are milestone months for UQ’s Head of Architecture,Michael Keniger. After marrying architectural illustrator Jane Grealy in a fireworks-illuminated ceremony at New Farm several months ago, he won his faculty’s sole professorial position (vacant since Bal Saini’s retirement three years), and then was annointed Architect of the Year by the Queensland Board • The Brisbane City Council’s Riverwalk 2000 scheme, for a loop of bikeways and boardwalks around the river from St Lucia to Hamilton, and five ‘green’ bridges, has been criticised for privileging “the young and fit” while threatening the security and property values of waterfront landowners • Developers in Cairns are planning a five-hectare residential precinct adjoining Centenary Lakes and the Botanical Gardens • Brisbane City Council is among several tenderers jostling to buy the strategically significant Queens Square site opposite the Treasury casino. Lord Mayor Jim Soorley has warned competing developers that he wants it as open space • Lawrence Nield, John Hockings, John Mainwaring and Chris Gee are on a city council team to “get rid of the cholesterol” in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall, and introduce new stone paving, a catwalk for fashion shows and new sub-tropical trees • After winning the NSW RAIA’s inaugural Marion Mahony Award,Jennifer Taylor has taken an adjunct professorship with QUTwhile she finishes a book on tall buildings at her Stradbroke retreat • Twelve people narrowly escaped before the collapse of a Brisbane city building, housing an Aboriginal cultural office, bordering a Multiplex excavation • Citing “creative differences”, Brisbane architects Daniels Anderson have disconnected from Sydney’s Crone Associates • The Urban Agriculture Network, based in Washington and run here byGeoff Wilson at Mt Gravatt, is promoting the rental potential of city rooftops as hydroponic farms for fruit and vegetables, especially lettuces • In a significant study of the potential of obsolete Brisbane industrial tracts, the council has identifiedAcacia Ridge/Archerfield and Wacol/Darra as precincts for serious growth, while noting slow demand for land near the Gateway Ports • Concrete Constructions has dropped its Cox Rayner scheme for Skypoint Tower, a 220-metre communications spire intended for Mt Coot-tha.
The RAIA Cairns Convention smells like a hit, with many early registrations. A late speaker, Eric Messerschmidt, will explain the Danish scene after deregistration (apparently salaries have soared). Check the site: www.raia.com.au/convention98 • Top businesswoman Helen Lynch is the new chair of Woods Bagot •Brandon Yeoh (UMelb) and Rowan Opat (RMIT) shared the prize in this year’s RAIA/Colorbond Student Biennale. The exhibition is travelling • Lend Lease is sponsoring-and is asking Renzo Piano to launch-an exhibition promoting rising practices. Called 40/40: Australian Architecture’s Millennial Generation , it’s being curated by AA’s Davina Jackson, with a display by Jisuk Han, Sam Marshall and Drew Heath opening at Sydney’s Darling Park in February • The DIA has absorbed the SIDA and theAustralian Textile Design Association. Madeline Lester is the president.
The state government plans a Riverbank promenade of cafés along the Torrens; supplemented by a rail/bus terminal and tourist accommodation • The Adelaide City Council is selling a small lot of CBD land to developers amalgamating sites for a hotel, gymnasium and carpark • Architect Norman Sheunhas accused Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith of inconsistency. Although normally a promoter of city living, she is objecting to his design for apartments near her house • After six years seeking to build an eco-village on a contaminated block fronting Halifax Street, Paul Downton’s Urban Ecology Group lost its pitch to the city council-which instead agreed to sell its former depot to Pentroth; promoting a town of 210 homes with water and waste recycling and on-site sewage • The old Treasury, corner King William and Flinders Sts, is becoming an Intercontinental Hotel.
Shortly after announcing that Tasmanian architecture is “on its knees” in its worst recession for 25 years, Robert Morris-Nunn emerged as the architect for $6 million additions to Hobart’s historic Theatre Royal • Hobart’s Hotel Grand Chancellor is developing a concert hall and conference centre • Forward Viney is designing an iconic new home for theTasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, on the Dunn Street carpark next to its existing heritage HQ facing Sullivan’s Cove.FV has also conceived an Intercontinental hotel in the old Henry Jones IXL buildings along the waterfront • Objections continue against the Crone-designed Oceanport cruise ship complex proposed for Princes Wharves 1 and 2 at Sullivans Cove; a scheme likely to double the eight metre height limit. The Resource Planning and Development Commission has three urban design advisers-Evan Walker, Barry Shelton andLeigh Woolley-assessing a draft impact statement without seeing a resolved design. Concrete Constructions is now to build the project, then turn it over to operators of cruise ships, a Hilton, a conference centre, serviced apartments and a car park. Architect Jamieson Allom,of Jacob Allom Wade, is fighting Oceanport in his campaign to join the Hobart City Council • In a Mercury essay on how to restore the state’s economy, author Richard Flanagan called for a film production industry, draining Lake Pedder and funding for an iconic building on the Oceanport site • Leigh Woolley has a Churchill Fellowship to study cities in the US, UK, Canada and Norway.
Bligh Lobb and Pels Innes Nielson Kosloff are designing the state’s new netball and hockey centre at Albert Park • The fate of St Kilda’s sea baths is still confused • Despite disapproval from the design review panel for Batman’s Hill proposals, Grocon appears confident of gaining government approval for its Melbourne Tower, and plans to sell apartments soon • Historic Villa Alba at Kew is being converted into a decorators’ showplace from October 15-27 • Even theProperty Council of Australia has disputed a surprising proposal by the Melbourne City Council to exempt city developers from advertising their schemes and protect them from opponents’ appeals • Protestors have targeted a Nonda Katsalidis scheme for a twin tower on the HMAS Lonsdale site at Port Melbourne; one of nine high-rises proposed for the locality. Planning Minister Rob Maclellan increased the height limit from 11 to 20 storeys, allowing former owners Hudson Conway to earn a $4 million profit in onsale to Benchmark Developments •RMIT is involved in a tourist-seductive scientific research centre, called Gondwanaland, planned for Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland • The city council’s plan to upgrade Flinders Street has been critiqued by the Property Council for “not going far enough” • Police and Corrections Minister Bill McGrath has blamed architects for installing horizontal window bars which allowed self-hangings by prisoners at Deer Park and Port Phillip prisons • TheMelbourne City Council’s City Plan contradicts several recommendations from the state government’s planning review panel. The council wants to maintain a ban on new restaurants in north Lygon Street but the panel feels it’s not necessary. The panel wants to prevent buildings overshadowing the Yarra but the council is more flexible. On height limits, the panel says flexible controls are fine, while the council wants fixed limits, including an eight storey control in heritage areas • The government is considering a realignment of Moonee Ponds Creek to allow a multi-purpose wharf next to the City Link bridge at Victoria Dock • LAB/Bates Smart’s Federation Square design has been revised to open up views of the St Pauls Cathedral facade, but objectors are still quibbling about the shards • The city council plans a major residential thrust in north and west Melbourne, with 5000 new residents predicted by 2010 and pedestrian links to Docklands •
The East Perth Redevelopment Authority has asked the government to expand its boundaries • Following a lecture trip to Perth by NSW Government Architect Chris Johnson, RAIA WA president Nigel Shaw has called on the state government to appoint someone to be responsible for design quality in Perth. However Evan Jones of the Planning Ministrysaid it was not convinced • The Government Property Officehas been seeking development ideas for Victoria Quay in Fremantle • Woods Bagot has taken over Hobbs Winning, a local practice in strife despite contracts on the Qantas domestic airport and Sheraton Hotel refurbishment •Multiplexis financing four new development schemes for the old Swan Brewery site beside the river
Spain’s Enric Miralles won Scotland’s Parliament House; a project where DCM was shortlisted •Woodhead is now winning work in China after setbacks in Thailand • Daniel Flood, a fourth-year at UMelb, has won a Belgrade competition to design a Pavilion of the 20th Century • Former Melbourne architect Robert Grace has finished his third trendy London restaurant, The Sugar Club • Architecture’s establishment (Correa, Frampton, Lasdun, Mitchell, Nield, Rogers, Rykwert, Smithson, Tange, Venturi etc) is asssembling at Chandigarh for a January 9-11 conference celebrating 50 years since Le Corbusier planned the Indian city.