This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting

Australia’s states of architecture at a glance


With Trade Practices Act penalties of up to $10 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals now applying to the professions, the federal government is turning up the heat on ‘anti-competitive’ practices >> NSW and SA have increased employment for architects while other states have declined, indicates the RAIA‘s latest Staff Levels Survey of 400 firms >> The federal government supports introducing private certification of building approvals in all states by 1998 >> In a large article in The Australian’s property section, Sydney lawyer Michael Mobbs criticised architects’ "don’t blame us" mentality-prompting RAIA CEO Michael Peck to reply that architects would shoulder blame if also allowed to control their designs >> The RAIA‘s Environmental Design Guide is threatened by the federal government’s abolition of the sponsors, the Energy Research and Development Corporation. Michael Peck described the decision as "more than a backward step-it’s like going out of the room completely".

New South Wales

Cameron Chisholm & Nicol’s Sega World complex at Darling Harbour, Sydney.

Expatriate developer David Brice has proposed a vision for East Circular Quay that amalgamates a line of sites north and south of the Cahill Expressway, reveals the Botanic Gardens and Opera House, and demolishes the Quay West apartment tower (with apparent approval from owners) to rebuild it much taller. No design has been released but Ken Woolley and Ken Maher are on the case >> Renzo Piano‘s scheme for the State Office Block has been approved by the Central Sydney Planning Committee although his towers-in-a-plaza design contradicts the city’s build-to-the-footpath policy- and there was a last-minute claim (strongly denied) that Lend Lease might sell the site to hotel developers after demolishing Ken Woolley ‘s fifties landmark >> Making Australian history as a woman architect, Kazuyo Sejima (Tokyo) has won the Museum of Contemporary Art ‘s $30 million cinematheque/"watering hole" after a week of jury presentations by foreign and Australian candidates. Surprisingly, the MCA didn’t host public show-and-tells by the visitors-but CityWest and the Sydney City Council arranged popular lectures by Enric Miralles from Barcelona >> Certain developers are playing serial monogramy with their architects: employing one firm to tweak the DA, another to maximise the cost benefits and a third to add market-conscious styling-often leading to regrettable clashes of aesthetics. A response recently initiated by the Sydney Cove Authority is to rule that the DA architect stays on board >> Ignore much of AA’s last-issue coverage on the Olympic Village- the Cox Richardson, Peddle Thorp and HPA (Henry Pollack Architects) masterplan has been recast, along with most of the housing designs. HPA’s design manager for this development, architect Peter Cotton, is now being aided by Andrew Andersons (design feedback), Bruce Eeles (design advice for public spaces) and Bruce Vote (unit planning). New concepts are promised soon >> USydney has interviewed candidates for a new Dean of Architecture but has declined to announce the selection committee’s decision, while UTS decided not to meet applicants for the professorship vacated by Neville Quarry >> Health care entrepreneurs Doug and Greta Moran have purchased Sydney’s largest private residence, The Swifts (1876) at Darling Point, and plan to restore the estate "as a national treasure" >> The Sega World virtual games centre, designed by Cameron Chisholm & Nicol, has added a riot of colour to once-white Darling Harbour >> The sunshades of John Andrews‘ classic American Express Tower have been stripped off as part of Rice Daubney ‘s refurbishment >> Architecture-trained comedian Vince Sorrenti has criticised Sydney for lacking architectural homogeneity- describing the city as "a rats’ basket of stuff" >> Back in court, Harry Seidler has won a case against Wingecarribee Council over its DA delays on his latest house scheme-and is due more than $15,000 in costs >> Glenn Murcutt‘s drawings (220 rolls) have been acquired by the NSW State Library to join its collection of 80,000 designs by prominent NSW architects since the 1820s >> Eight environmental groups have attacked reforms of NSW’s planning processes proposed by the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, Craig Knowles. They say his ideas "reduce transparency" and aid development interests with little regard for impact on community values or ecological sustainability >> Controversy continues about the Defence Department‘s proposal to subsidise the costs of removing 1000 staff and facilities away from its 84 hectare base at Middle Head by selling nine hectares to a housing developer >> The NSW government is rejuvenating the Conservatorium of Music >> The RAIA‘s NSW manager, Mary Lou Jarvis, and professional development manager, Raelene West, have departed >> After resolving disputes with the Sydney City Council over two "poor quality" apartment schemes, Meriton Apartments has commissioned a relatively decorative concept from Wilkinson Candalepas for a site at White Bay >> BIS Shrapnel analyst Frank Gelber has forecast a return to office developments in Sydney’s CBD after several years of focus on apartments >> Construction has begun to clarify Bondi’s beachfront Campbell Parade >> The National Trust opposes and the Heritage Council supports a Peddle Thorp scheme for Walsh Bay to demolish and rebuild in modern style a one-storey wharf to the two storey height initially proposed and cut a slice across the shore and jetty sheds (just behind the Hickson Road facades) to build apartments overlooking a waterfront promenade. Government Architect Chris Johnson is shepherding the concept, suggested by Paris consultant Philippe Robert >> Jørn Utzon‘s Opera House entrance systems, Lawrence Nield‘s shipping terminal and Allen Jack + Cottier‘s ferry wharves are being reconsidered in a government strategy to improve Circular Quay >> Belt Collins‘ MD, Adrian McGregor, has cautioned against allowing building professions to design urban environments-he says landscape architects are better qualified on more holistic grounds >> Bligh Voller and Lawrence Nield & Partners are on the verge of marriage.

South Australia

After the Adelaide City Council failed to reach agreement on a commercial proposal to tidy up the rundown Victoria Square Arcade- ethical issues involved-then-Lord Mayor Henry Ninio suggested that the government should sack the council ‘because we are unworkable". Adelaide now has a new council and Lord Mayor and the state government is becoming more involved with development policies >> Reacting to perceptions of inertia, the government has also celebrated 34 new developments worth $600 million; to generate "multi-centered city’ >> A facelift for the Adelaide Entertainment Centre will include a water gate disseminating bubbles from sculptured dolphins and a fire gate generating smoke, flames and groans. The tavern will also be extended >> Woodhead Firth Lee are designing a marina, housing and street-buzz precinct at Glenelg >> After Woods Bagot, Woodheads and Hassell, another Adelaide firm of architects is going national. Loucas & Zahos have several projects in NSW and plan to open in Melbourne in 1988 >> The MFP Corporation and the SA Government Housing Trust have been developing 65 houses at New Haven as a trial towards a state-of-technologies City of Mawson >> Raffen Maron‘s City West campus for Uni SA has sparked up the urban dynamics of its North Terrace neighbourhood.

Australian Capital Territory

Cox Richardson are planning a $27 million redevelopment of Bruce Stadium >> In an interview with The Canberra Times to celebrate his honorary doctorate from UCanberra, Aldo Giurgola called for a planning quality review board to give qualified guidance on ACT’s development as an antidote to "forces which are not really educated". Meanwhile, his design for a new tourist information centre on Northbourne Ave has been criticised as "a pukey-pink eyesore" >> One of Canberra’s key assets-its gardens-is being run down by the ACT bureaucracy, claims landscape architect Dianne Firth >> The ACT government is looking for Aboriginals with architecture and arts clues to oversee design of the cultural centre at Acton Peninsula-up again for its third architectural competition >> Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp have won a $20 million revise of the War Memorial.

Western Australia

The WA government has commissioned a study on extending Perth’s Parliament House (perhaps west to Constitution House and closing Harvest Terrace) >> The RAIA imported Howard Raggatt from Melbourne to keynote for Architecture Week in June >> Curtin University has acquired the old Government Printing Office in Murray Street, to establish a central city presence >> Perth-based amusement park architects Sandover Pinder have won two masterplan commissions in China-one for a city near Shanghai and the other for a theme park at Wuhan >> Perth’s young architectural scene is being spiced up by two groups seeking to foster debate: The Red Studio, run by Curtin graduates, and John Dory, led by UWA exes-which recently hosted a lecture by eighties role-model Louise St John Kennedy on her work since arriving back in Perth after several years practice in New York.

Northern Territory

The RAIA‘s new NT president, Peter Fletcher, has criticised new buildings designed in ‘southern’ styles not suited to the local climate.


Following opposition to probable demolition of the National Gallery of Victoria ‘s waterwall as part of an unreleased redesign by Mario Bellini and Metier 3, the RAIA‘s Victorian president, Jamie Learmonth , told The Age that governments should stop seeking public comment on proposals because "good design is frequently diluted by negative comments, not often with good reason". He also criticised compulsory competitive tendering >> As hosts of this year’s architecture students conference (Morphe, July 6-11) Deakin University has assembled a seductive list of overseas and interstate speakers; headed by Wiel Arets and Itsuko Hasegawa >> After winning the commision to design the Australian ambassador’s residence in Berlin, Daryl Jackson has unveiled his scheme for a retail revamp of the former Georges store in Collins Street-backed by Country Road‘s Stephen Bennett and British design/food guru, Sir Terence Conran >> Docklands tenderers appear to have itchy feet about the profit potential of the Ashton Raggatt McDougall masterplan and the Docklands Authority has indicated that it will consider non-conforming bids-including the Grollo concept for Melbourne Tower >> The Museum of Victoria is closing in July, until it reopens in its DCM-designed premises in Carlton >> Attorney General Ches Baragwanath has highlighted a favourable contract for developer David Marriner in his agreement with the government and city council to refurbish the Regent Theatre and surrounds. It appears that most of the money and risk is being carried by public funds. Separately, Marriner has agreed to rebuild the heritage facade of a former shop/house next to the theatre, which he demolished without approval, and plans to cover City Square with gravel to discourage skateboarders >> In a report on sky-thrusting blades of the kind exemplified by Denton Corker Marshall , The Age has asked "why do architects love their appendages?" >> Two of the five first-stage winners of the Federation Square competition have teamed up with local firms: Lab is working with Bates Smart and Jenny Lowe with Carey Lyon. Chris Elliott has also been talking with firms he won’t name >> Nonda Katsalidis‘ office-now merged with Nation Fender-are architects for UMelbourne‘s Potter Gallery fronting Swanston Street >> An astonishing $135,000 in prizes is promised for the Design Institute of Australia‘s inaugural Victorian Design Awards-regrettably not related to architects >> Ashton Raggatt McDougall have won their first Sydney commission-improving Belmore Park with landscape architect Tom Sitta.

The University of SA’s new central Adelaide campus, by Raffen Maron


Heritage architect Richard Allom has given his seal of approval to the Gold Coast by leading a Heritage Week tour of "historic" apartment towers built since the 1960s >> Generating envy elsewhere, QUT‘s interior design department seems to have scored John Pawson and Marc Newson to speak at its In or Out? conference in late June >> Ipswich plans to transform its old town hall into a multimedia art museum and cultural centre. The design team will be announced in July >> DC International (formerly interior architects Davenport Campbell and now owners of Radisson Hotels) has moved to rescue two struggling resorts at Port Douglas-Treetops and Torresian >> After complaints that Brisbane is boring to visit at night, The Courier Mail has run articles supporting mixed uses and residential buildings in town >> Another vigorous round of unit tower development on the Gold Coast is thought to have reached its peak-with concern that new investors may be thwarted by reduced increases of tourists >> Prudential Finance has claimed that by 2004, its Kawana Waters estate (Sunshine Coast) will have 300,000 residents and rival the Gold Coast >> Brisbane’s McKerrell Lynch are drafting a $250 million mixed development on Queen, Edward and Adelaide Sts-designed to "create a significant impression" at this entry to City Mall >> Russell Hall has revamped the old Rialto Theatre in Brisbane’s West End as restaurants and offices.



Published online: 1 Jul 1997


Architecture Australia, July 1997

More archive

See all
The November 2019 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia. November issue of LAA out now

A preview of the November 2019 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia

The February 2020 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia. February issue of LAA out now

A preview of the February 2020 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia.

The May 2020 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia May issue of LAA out now

A preview of the May 2020 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia.

August issue of LAA out now August issue of LAA out now

A preview of the August 2019 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia.

Most read

Latest on site