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Silvester and Henderson’s second-prize scheme for a church of reason conceived on Archigraph.

In this year’s Archigraph concepts competition, the second prize went to a ‘church of reason’ designed by University of Tasmania architecture students Jad Silvester and Todd Henderson • Turkey’s government has launched an international competition to redesign its 33,000 hectare peace park at Gallipoli, but Victorian RAIA president Jamie Learmonth told The Sunday Age that Australian architects would be unlikely to enter because of their distance from the site and the high costs of presenting submissions • Tadao Ando is this year’s RIBA Royal Gold Medallist, replacing Harry Seidler  .

A child standing in a public viewing area across Lake Burley Griffin was killed by debris from the government-ordered implosion of the former Canberra Hospital at Acton • The federal government’s third competition to design an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and cultural complex (now supplemented by a National Museum of Australia) became a farce when the RAIA has declined to endorse the process because conditions were considered unfair to entrants. At the Institute’s suggestion, Michael Keniger and John Davidson were called in to advise the government on how to proceed. The outcome is a shortlist of five architects paired with Canberra offices. They are: Wilkinson Candalepas with Peddle Thorp, Forbes & Fitzhardinge with Woods Bagot, Ashton Raggatt McDougall with Robert Peck van Hartel Trethowan, John Brandwith Eggleston Macdonald and Giles Tribe with Cox Richardson • Colin Stewart of MCC and John Tait of The Expert Client won the ideas competition for 37 hectares of lakeshore land at Kingston • The ACT government and the Manuka Business Association are battling over plans to transform the car park behind Woolworths into a “self-contained” shopping and supermarket centre topped by apartments and with basement parking; a scheme said to threaten existing businesses.

Sydney City Council has appointed teams to design 12 city upgrades— usurping some practices who earlier worked on key precincts. At Martin Place, Armitage Johannsen with Spackman Mossop replace Denton Corker Marshall; at Haymarket, Hassellreplace Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp; and at Bridge Street, Allen Jack + Cottier take over from the NSW Government Architect. However, Conybeare Morrison retain Market Street. Belmore Park goes to Melburnians Ashton Raggatt McDougall with Sydney’s Tom Sitta • After losing its Land and Environment Court case to build three 16-storey towers above the Bondi Junction interchange, Meriton has proposed two taller towers. It also is designing many blocks along the city-airport corridor and has been moving to improve its designs • After a fire in 1994,Jackson Teece Chesterman Willis is rebuilding at Bondi the world’s largest Orthodox synagogue. Artists Janet Laurence andJisuk Han are working on stained glass panels • Sydney scoffing followed Melbourne architect Tom Kovac’s last-minute cancellation of a detailing seminar he was to give at Tusculum • Cox Richardson has announced a raft of major Asian projects: the stadium and aquatic centre for Bangkok’s Asian Games, the $400 million Plaza Merdeka four-tower development in Kuala Lumpur, an ‘environmental city’ for 400,000 people beside a new causeway between Singapore and Malaysia, and towers in Jakarta and the Chinese city of Tian Jin • TheCentral Sydney Planning Committee has criticised the scale ofLend Lease’s scheme for the CSR site at Pyrmont Point—particularly the REP-exceeding towers up to 30-storeys • Despite opposition from residents and the Newcastle City Council, NSW’s Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, Craig Knowles, seems set to approve a four-storey hotel complex on the Honeysuckle waterfront site; claiming that it will offset unemployment caused by BHP’s steelworks shutdown • In a Financial Review  article, construction lawyer Doug Jones has canvassed ‘design, construct and maintain’ contracts—making builders responsible for running costs over 20 years to encourage designs based on “operational quality” • After considering various sites over many years, the NSW government has decided that Sydney’s Conservatorium of Musicwill stay on the Macquarie Street edge of the botanic gardens. A three-year, $69 million upgrade of its home, the Francis Greenway-designed Governor’s stables, is being planned by theNSW Government Architect’s office • The Property Council of Australia opposes an amendment to the City of Sydney Act which reduces developer involvement in the Central Sydney Planning Committee (which approves projects over $50 million) and establishes a one percent development levy payable to the city council for public space improvements • The Sydney City Council’s role in approving East Circular Quay has been challenged by  The Sydney Morning Herald ’s discovery of a 1991 internal report from former City Planner John McInerney, which advised that the seven sites did not appear to be covered by valid development consents—seemingly allowing the council to renegotiate height and bulk limits. Lord Mayor Frank Sartorsaid McInerney’s advice was contradicted by later legal opinions • The city council is also being criticised for its lack of care in tree planting and maintenance • Construction of Peddle Thorp-designed World Square—two hotel towers and an apartment building— has risen above ground • In a  Weekend Australian article headed ‘A City in Denial’, Lionel Glendenning criticised “the dry economic processes that dictate much of our design and planning” and praised Victoria’s system of open competitions “to ensure innovative, high-quality design of public buildings” • The NSW government is selling the old Royal Alexandra Childrens Hospital site in Camperdown and Balmain power station, both likely to become residential • Andrew Andersons, Philip Cox, Vivian Fraser, Peter Johnson and Sydney Festival director Leo Schofield have asked the NSW government to block the city council’s plans for a swimming centre at Cook and Phillip Parks •  The Daily Telegraph  has reported that developer David Brice’s rescue bid for East Circular Quay is doomed by opposition from the hotel site owner, the state government and city council, and occupants of the Quay West apartments who don’t want to move; but  The Sydney Morning Herald  is still promoting his idea • TheInternational Olympic Committee’s chief environmental consultant, Norwegian conservationist Olev Myrholt, has been auditing the greenness of Sydney’s Games • Best new product awards at Interbuild went to the Power Track electricity conduit and the Rainsaver downpipe-free gutter/water recycling system • A crime-torn and vandalised public housing complex at Villawood, designed by Philip Cox on Radburn principles, is to be demolished. Cox says the lesson is not to concentrate people of similar socio-economic status but different ethnic groups • American architect Gary Moore has been appointed Dean of Architecture at U Sydney—to commute across the Pacific until January. Interim Dean Neville Quarry is retiring. Moore is said to be the outstanding candidate from a selection process which discouraged humanities applicants through advertisement placement and wording. Meanwhile, architecture lecturer Tone Wheeler suddenly left the faculty in July.

Walker Corporation, a Sydney developer, is building two apartment towers, both over 30 storeys, beside Brisbane’s McDonnell & East department store, which will be refurbished as a 1920s-style hotel. The architects are Haysom Spender• The Master Builders Association has criticised “inappropriate” council design codes, which it claims restrict variety and add costs to housing developments • Several beachside developments are kick-starting Mackay as a tourist jump-off to the Whitsundays • A 10-storey apartment block, designed by Woods Bagot, is planned for Cathedral Place between Brisbane city and Fortitude Valley • Guymer Baileyare architects for an eco-tourism park at Chandler • TheAsia-Pacific Design Group, involving architect Noel Robinson, has won the master plan of a $1 billion marina city in Indonesia • Two projects are competing to become Brisbane’s first office tower for more than nine years: aMirvac scheme at 120 Edward Street by HPA Architects, and a design for a nearby site by Davenport Campbell withDonovan Hill • Brisbane’s largest renewal project, Central Brunswick on the old Carlton & United Breweries site next to Bowen Terrace, is under construction with the first apartments due for occupation.

The MFP, directed by Dr Laurie Hammond, is on the rise again despite last year’s withdrawal of government funds. SA’s Premier John Olsen has appointed the MFP to co-ordinate its Torrens Domain program—33 government-backed developments in central Adelaide. According to Olsen, the city is “moving from hard knocks to hard hats” • David Jones’ Capital City redevelopment of the John Martin’s store is intended to include only half the retail floor space formerly provided—apparently to avoid competing with DJs and other shops on Rundle Mall. The main emphasis of the scheme by Sydney’s Crone Associates is a hotel and entertainment •Steve Grieve and Cox Richardson are designing a national wine museum at the former Hackney bus depot • UniSAarchitecture students, led by John Maitland of Energy Architecture, have proposed a redevelopment of old railway land bounded by North Terrace, the Adelaide Gaol, the Morphett Street Bridge and Torrens Lake. Their scheme proposes a low density mixed/residential development on the existing car park, an interstate bus terminal in the rail workshops, wetlands near the gaol and an ‘arid garden’ park near the bus terminal • Hassell’s plan to gentrify Hindley Street and its links to North Terrace and Currie Street is based on squeezing out “risque” existing businesses, including tattoo, pinball and strip parlours.

A tour group of 19 planners, architects, landscape architects and students from Ball State University in Indiana have held two three-day community planning workshops for the Kingsborough council • Plans for a Hobart Aquatic Centre are moving slowly.

After rumoured resistance to the jury’s decision, Premier Jeff Kennett has awarded the design of Federation Square to a partnership of Lab with Bates Smart. The controversial scheme includes a multimedia centre over the Russell Street extension, a gallery/performance space and cafés complex along Flinders Street, a free-standing restaurant and viewing tower, a wintergarden with two greenhouses for rainforest and desert plants and two large squares. In a complaint letter from London to  The Age , Barry Humphries claimed the design was ”already old-fashioned” and appeared to be conceived by Martians • Although the Mario Bellini-Metier 3 redesign of the National Gallery is still being finalised, it has been announced that the Leonard French ceiling in the Great Hall will stay • The University of Melbourne is bidding to establish a private Asia-Pacific Graduate School of the Environment at the Docklands. Metier 3 are on the team • After usurping theMelbourne City Council to approve Nonda Katsaldis’ over-height, 34- storey Republic apartment tower on Latrobe Street, Planning Minister Rob Maclellan explained his perceived contempt for planning rules with the view that “if you get a great architect and produce a great outcome, then we should not allow silly rules and permutations and calculations to get in the way … silly rules relating to the length of fire brigade ladders and hoses in 1945“. This statement attracted criticism • Architects Calzini Lardner Penn & Veit have proposed a series of “incisions”—sunken paths—between the casino and its underground car park, to be lined with audio-visuals extolling Victoria’s attractions. Meanwhile Hudson Conway plans to build a serviced apartments tower opposite the west end of the Crown casino; to be “a better version of” the nearby Central Equity apartment block nearing completion • Property agents Richard Ellis expect a small boom in suburban office developments • A Deakin computer error has conferred honours on 37 B.Arch graduates who are of course being asked to return their testamurs for correction • A public appeal has been launched to restore the 1873 Trades Hall building in Carlton • Synman Justin Bialek are designing four shops and a residence/office for airspace beside the Chapel Street railway bridge at Prahran • TheNauru government has been negotiating with developer David Marriner about building Australia’s tallest tower on the CUBsite at the top of Swanston Street— apparently not the sameRMIT development previously designed by Ashton Raggatt McDougall.

Chief Justice David Malcolm is promoting a “visionary” plan to extend the old Supreme Court with two wings through its gardens towards the river— creating a central quadrangle be enhanced by restaurants and possible outdoor performances on weekends. However, Premier Richard Court and Attorney General Peter Foss are against such intrusion into the gardens • Another $3 million has been added to the WA government’s heritage conservation grants program • Now that Jeffrey Howlett’s 60s landmark, Council House, appears to have been saved from demolition, Perth letter-writers are complaining in  The West Australian  that the building is an eyesore • Apparently catching heritage groups napping,colourful Sydney businessman Abe Saffron has won approval to replace the Art Deco Raffles Hotel, beside the fork of the Swan and Canning Rivers, with a nine-storey development • Conservative lawyers at Counsel’s Chambers in Hay Street are gobsmacked by Louise St John Kennedy’s trendy revamp of their entrance foyer.

The Australian Construction Industry Forum, headed by architect Robert Peck, is being replaced by a body to be known as the National Property and Construction Council—likely to be modelled on the ACIF.



Published online: 1 Sep 1997


Architecture Australia, September 1997

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