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Ralph Drexel has designed bold interventions to Victoria Gardens, an upgraded park at the junction of Swan River and Claisebrook inlet, within the East Perth redevelopment. First, an archaic wall of limestone blocks over reinforced concrete, shown left, fronts a waterside promenade to mediate a sudden height change caused by an existing underground sewage pumping station. The wall’s columned cavity was taken over by community artists and has become an appreciated hangout after midnight. Nearby, a two-tone toilet block offers strong, plain gestures, see below, to the confused architectures emerging from the posh housing subdivision uphill. No graffiti is apparent on either landmark.


Signalling a progressive industry shift, Lend Lease Development hired Queensland’s Clare Design to add its light, breezy, slats, boards and steel style to the canal-side sales office for the Twin Waters Estate near Noosa. Although the contracted builders are only offering punters conventional brick and tile abodes, the sales office is said to have earned positive reactions and will be sold as a house. It seems to be an early example of a looser attitude to steel by key providers of mass housing (including Mirvac at Sydney’s Olympic Village). Sensing this air, BHP are looking for consultants to advise other project home builders on steel roofing.


Peddle Thorp & Walker are in construction on a five-tower project, named The Forum, to rejuvenate the highway, hospital and rail station village of St Leonards on Sydney’s north shore. The Winten Property Group (headed by architect/developer Gary Rothwell) plans to build two apartment towers (26 and 36 storeys) south and north of a public plaza relating to a rejuvenated St Leonards Station and edged with palm trees and colonnades of shops and caf├ęs. To the west, fronting the Pacific Highway but also relating back to the plaza with a U-shaped embrace, will be three 10-storey commercial blocks. The northern block will incorporate a circular tower intended to give St Leonards a stronger identity to southbound traffic on the highway. The project architect is Keith Pike.


Rothe Lowman are the architects for an apartment conversion of the former Gloweave shirt factory at Brunswick and St David Streets, Fitzroy. Their scheme provides a three-storey, four-bedroom penthouse inside the corner tower, and 83 balconied apartments in four four-storey ‘mini-blocks’ arranged around communal gardens. Also included are a row of ground floor shops, a commercial office tenancy and basement parking for 124 cars. Construction is due to begin in July and the developer is Southern Capital Corporation.


New Zealand’s latest cultural institution, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Our Place), has opened in Wellington- on a site north of the CBD and towards the sea, but not directly linked to either. Auckland’s JASMAX designed a four storey, fragmented and colourfully collaged megastructure to answer a client exhibitions plan intended to explain the Maori and European cultures, NZ’s natural environment and its South Pacific links. Internally, the building provides various exhibition halls, a canoe gallery, conference and resource centres, an auditorium, and administration, reception and refreshment spaces around two atria. External highlights are a Maori marae and a harbourside park (including a new lagoon).


Sydney architects Stanisic Turner have development approval for a one hectare ‘high city’ development of two Dominelli car yards straddling Forest Road at Hurstville; a project intended to create a new urban focus for the suburb. The scheme is based on a fragmented perimeter block with a courtyard protected from southerly winds. Five buildings, graded from six to 14 storeys, will house 260 apartments-including cross-overs, maisonettes and dual-oriented designs. Also included are a multi-level, 12,000 sq m car sales venue designed to energy-efficient principles, and 2000 sq m of shops and offices. Stage 1 of the project, a nine-storey corner building with 50 apartments, showroom and offices, is scheduled to begin construction in May.



Published online: 1 May 1998


Architecture Australia, May 1998

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