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    Iredale Pedersen Hook, With Architecture to design WA school upgrades

    The WA government has appointed architects for two multi-million-dollar school upgrades in the state.
    Iredale Pedersen Hook has been selected to design the $22 million upgrade to Karratha Senior High School in the Pilbara region.
    The upgrade will comprise a new specialist technologies building which will include nine teaching spaces for engineering, mechatronics, STEM, media, digital design and information technologies, as well as new student services facilities and the refurbishment of the existing food technologies studio.

    Meanwhile, With Architecture has been appointed to design the $18.3 million upgrade to Lynwood Senior High School.
    The project will include a new classroom building, student services, performing arts centre, sports hall and various refurbishments.
    Both projects are part of the government’s recovery plan to upgrade and refurbish public schools in the state.

    Construction on both school upgrades is due to start in December 2021.

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    Denton Corker Marshall designs ‘landmark’ medical hub

    Denton Corker Marshall has unveiled designs for a “landmark” new building for Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, overlooking Carlton Gardens.
    Under the plans before Yarra City Council, the hospital’s existing 11-storey brick Aikenhead Wing on the corner of Victoria Parade and Nicholson Street would be demolished to make way for a new 11-storey building housing the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD).
    Denton Corker Marshall’s design for the building aims to respond to the transitional urban context between the CBD, Carlton Gardens and the wider hospital precinct “by presenting a respectful building mass, and providing high levels of visual connectivity between surrounding context and the functions housed within.”

    In a design statement, the practice described how the southern facade references the crystalline structures associated with ACMD biomedical research, while the western façade features abstract vignettes of the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.

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    The Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery by Denton Corker Marshall.

    “The building mass is interrupted along the western elevation with the insertion of a cantilevered block, that signposts the western entry, whilst also providing protection from the elements,” the design statement reads. “A picture window within this block enhances the sense of connection lecture theatre occupants have to the Carlton Gardens. Recessed vision glass cutouts step up the building, further articulating the west and south elevations, enhancing visual connections and facilitating the integration of landscape balconies.”

    Part of the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, ACMD will be a translational medical technology research and training hub featuring laboratories, workshop and biofabrication facilities, start-up and industry spaces and education and conference facilities. It will unite eight partner research and academic institutions: St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, The University of Melbourne (UoM), St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Bionics Institute, Australian Catholic University, University of Wollongong, Swinburne University of Technology and RMIT University. The centre will have a focus on finding solutions for complex chronic diseases.

    The site sits within a World Heritage Environs Area, set up to stop over-development near the Royal Exhibition Building, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004. The development has raised concerns it will negatively impact the World Heritage value of the Royal Exhibition Building.
    Friends of the Royal Exhibition Building spokesperson Margaret O’Brien told The Age the building “seems intent on dominating and distracting.”
    “At 12-storeys of glass, and massing over an entire block, it is as an alien,” she said.

    Chair of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria Charles Sowerwine told the paper that the existing building should never have been built in the 1950s and that the new design was “attention-seeking” and at odds with the area. “[It] represents a betrayal of what the Australian government promised UNESCO,” he said.

    A heritage assessment report by Lovell Chen submitted in support of the application notes that the new building will have a similar footprint and number of levels to the existing Aikenhead Wing and would have a minor heritage impact only. “The proposal provides an appropriate contextual response to the South Fitzroy Precinct and Royal Eehibition Building [and] Carlton Gardens and supports the ongoing health and community use of the place as an important contributory place within the precinct,” it states.
    A heritage building on the site erected in 1889, Brenan Hall, will have its rendered masonry façade with prominent arched gable parapet retained.
    Costing $206 million, the building project is funded by the Victorian and federal governments as well as St Vincent’s Hospital and the other research partners. More

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    Durbach Block Jaggers designs Sydney pencil tower

    Durbach Block Jaggers has unveiled designs for a super-skinny hotel in Sydney’s Haymarket that will be just over six metres wide but soar to 110 metres above its Pitt Street address.
    Reminiscent of the new breed of luxury “pencil” skyscrapers popping up in New York, the 410 Pitt Street tower will house 178 hotel rooms along with a three-storey lobby, meeting rooms a roof terrace and a “hammam” with plunge pool, spa and sauna, sundecks and flying balcony on the rooftop.
    Its facade will be clad in marble and metallic materials that will provide a soft diffused light.

    Durbach Block Jaggers won a design excellence competition to deliver the tower, winning out over Scott Carver, Sissons Architects and SJB.

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    410 Pitt Street by Durbach Block Jaggers.

    The firm’s proposal comprises three detailed sections aimed at demonstrating the “transitional relationship between horizontals and verticals on the façade.”
    The competition jury described the design as “powerful, well thought out, creative and enchanting.” They praised the active façade and the opportunity for public interaction and engagement at ground level along with the planning and spatial qualities of the public areas in the scheme.

    “[The proposal] exhibited an engaging story and an innovative and unique approach for the constrained site and design brief.”
    The tower will replace a boarding house.
    Tricon Management Group has submitted a development application for the $35.7 million project, which is on public exhibition until 2 February.

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    The next 20 years for Melbourne's botanic gardens

    An underground herbarium and an “indoor pleasure garden” have been proposed for Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in a 20-year masterplan for the Melbourne gardens.
    The masterplan, launched in December 2020, create a series of new garden experiences and help “guide the post-COVID recovery of Melbourne” by providing opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with nature.
    A key project, the new Sensory Garden by Central Lake designed by Andrew Laidlaw has been completed and was opened to coincide with the launch of the masterplan.

    The sensory garden features a series of immersive plant experiences designed to simulate the senses through views, colour, sound, scent, textures and forms of plants.
    The premier project outlined in the masterplan is the Nature and Science Precinct, which, along with the Arts and Culture and Sports and Entertainment precincts, is intended to be one of Melbourne’s three major destination by the Birrarung (Yarra river). The precinct will be located at the site of the existing herbarium.

    John Wardle Architects along with Laidlaw and Laidlaw Design Landscape Architects were appointed to design the new precinct in May 2019. The masterplan provides details of the design, including the underground herbarium and vault, which will house the 1.5 million plant species in the State Botanical Collection.

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    A new underground herbarium and vault in the Nature and Science Precinct of the Royal Botanic Gardens masterplan.

    The 1988 extension to the herbarium will be demolished and the original 1934 herbarium building will be refurbished. The precinct will also include a new welcoming public space on Dallas Brooks Drive, which will become the destination meeting point, and connections to Ian Potter Children’s garden.
    Other projects include a new entry gate by the Birrarung, between the existing A and H gates. The new gate will become a new major entrance to the gardens and will celebrate Indigenous landscapes, plants, animals, landforms and people.

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    A new Birrarung gate in the Royal Botanic Gardens masterplan.

    At the corner of Alexandra Avenue and Anderson Street, the A Gate will be redeveloped into a terraced garden with a focus on health and wellbeing.
    Huntingfield Lawn, an under-used piece of land between the northern border of Government House and Alexandra Avenue will to be recontoured to create new amphitheatre venue for small theatrical performances.
    Hopetoun Lawn will be redeveloped into Wild Wood, a natural bush children’s area and unstructured play space.
    The masterplan will be delivered in stages, culminating in the construction of the New Lakeside Conservatory on the existing site of the Terrace Tea Rooms. The masterplan describes the proposed conservatory as an “indoor pleasure garden.”
    “Sitting sensitively in the landscape as a grand folly, this structure would become a major new landmark and destination in Melbourne,” the masterplan reads. More

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    Three Sydney schools to be upgraded

    Three Sydney schools will receive upgrades together worth $290 million, after the New South Wales government gave the projects the green light.
    The Architectus-designed $250 million overhaul of Chatswood Public School and Chatswood High School will deliver more than 150 new and refurbished teaching spaces along with dedicated performing arts spaces, new sport and recreational facilities and new libraries.
    Education minister Sarah Mitchell said the school upgrades would transform the teaching and learning experiences for students and staff.

    “Upgrades to Chatswood Public School will include up to 53 classrooms with special programs and support classrooms while Chatswood High School will include up to 123 classrooms with special support classrooms,” she said.
    The character for each of the Chatswood schools is distinct. Architectus describes how Chatswood Public School on Pacific Highway will have a fine-grain urban character with brick and sandstone, while Chatswood High School on Centennial Avenue will embrace its natural bush setting.

    Meanwhile, the $40 million upgrade to Darlington Public School, designed by FJMT, will deliver 19 teaching spaces, a special programs room, canteen and a library.
    FJMT’s design reponds to the existing character of the school, which “sits at the nexus between the fine grain of the Darlington terrace houses and the large scale of the University of Sydney.”
    “The urban response to the site is to continue the dominant street alignment of the terrace houses which characterise the surrounding context,” the design report states.
    “The rhythm of the existing buildings that characterises the suburb of Darlington has been maintained, where the new development draws reference from the surrounding context and key buildings.”

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    ‘Over-scaled’ Waterfront Brisbane development approved

    The $2.1 billion Waterfront Brisbane office development designed by FJMT and Arkhefield has been given approval to be built on the Brisbane river, next to the Harry Seidler-designed buildings Riparian Plaza and Riverside Centre.
    Brisbane City Council and developer Dexus announced the approval for the controversial two-tower project at Eagle Street Pier at a press conference just days before Christmas 2020.
    Deputy mayor Krista Adams said the Eagle Street Pier precinct would be revived to include new public realm and a new riverwalk as part of the development.

    “This approval follows six months of working with the applicant on their plans to enhance the existing riverside destination and deliver a better experience for residents and visitors,” she said.
    “The Eagle Street Pier precinct was established as a dining precinct more than 30 years ago and this refresh will ensure it continues to provide dining, entertainment and spectacular riverside experiences for future generations.”

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    Waterfront Brisbane by FJMT and Arkhefield.

    Included in the scheme are two towers of 49 and 43 floors along with approximately 9,000 square metres of riverside public open space and a new 280-metre riverwalk connecting Waterfront Place to the Riparian Plaza. The riverwalk will be funded by the council and delivered by Dexus, with construction set to begin in 2022.
    The previously included private pontoon to the north has been removed and replaced with a new publicly accessible, shaded space.
    The approval comes despite opposition from residents of the Riparian Plaza, and a scathing assessment of the proposed design from Penelope Seidler, director of Harry Seidler and Associates and wife to the late Harry Seidler.

    In a letter to the council in 2020 Seidler said she was “horrified” by the proposal which would “obviously have a detrimental impact on the iconic Brisbane waterfront.”
    “Waterfront Brisbane appears as an over-scaled wall of glass positioned without any regard to the established principles respected in the design of all other towers to their mutual benefit and to the benefit of this part of Brisbane,” she wrote. “The proposed design seems to turn its back in disrespect of Brisbane: ‘if you are not on our waterfront, you don’t exist’. The building shape forms a wall separating the city from the river.”

    In a design statement submitted to council in October, FJMT and Arkhefield describe how the design has been updated to better suit the river-front location, in response to council comments. “The architectural expression of the podium elements has moved away from vertical surfaces with façade operability, towards a more horizontal expression with continuous landscaped edges,” the architects state. “Deep overhangs provide increased shading and multiple opportunities for occupied outdoor terraces. The architectural expression has moved toward a more subtropical language that extends the Riverwalk vertically though the podium levels. The expression is of a multi layered edge condition populated by inhabited and welcoming landscaped spaces to stop and gather.” More

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    National Gallery of Victoria unveils ‘spectacular’ second Triennial exhibition

    The National Gallery of Victoria has unveiled its much-anticipated Triennial exhibition, which features 86 projects from more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from more than 30 countries.
    The exhibition includes more than 30 new major commissions, including architectural commissions by Australian and international architects and designers.
    BTVV (Switzerland and Finland) were invited to create an installation after their whimsical Swiss national pavilion won the Golden Lion Award at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Like the Swiss pavilion, the Triennial installation plays with scale and perception.

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    Walls 4 Sale: near new and supersized by BTVV.
    Image: Sean Fennessy
    “BTVV are an architecture studio that takes issue with architecture,” said Simone LeAmon, curator of contemporary design and architecture at NGV. They are critiquing their own discipline from within.
    “For this commission, they came to Melbourne and they witnessed what we’re all witnessing which is the building boom, and they took particular interest in the language of selling off the plan.”

    The studio made particular note of the distorted wide angle perspectives in renderings of apartments and the over emphasis on kitchen appliances in real estate.

    “They’ve taken what they see as being a very insincere language of visualizing and representing real estate and they have built it,” LeAmon explained. “So you will walk through doors that are oversized, you will encounter appliances which make you feel like Alice in Wonderland. It is quite a surreal experience.”
    The studio also plays on the speculative development market with a tongue-in-cheek proposal to construct an apartment tower over the Roy Grounds designed NGV International building.
    Japanese architect Kengo Kuma collaborated with Melbourne artist Geoffrey Nees on a timber pavilion made from trees that had died during the Millennium drought at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

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    Botanical Pavilion by Kengo Kuma and Geoffrey Nees.
    Image: Tom Ross
    “When an arborist deems a tree unsafe sometimes that tree needs to be felled and that timber is very precious,” LeAmon said. Some of the trees pre-date European colonization. “If you walk inside the pavilion, you will encounter timber from all these trees and the smell is quite extraordinary.”
    The pavilion is built using a traditional Japanese technique where interlocking pieces are held together only by tension and gravity.
    LA-based Australian architect Liam Young created a 15-minute animated film installation that proposes that in the future, the entire world’s population would live together in a single densely packed city.

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    Planet City by Liam Young.
    Image: Tom Ross
    “The provocation is we do this to let the rest of planet to return to its former state. This is a speculative design. It suggests we need to think differently about how we live in the future, how we design our cities, how we even live together as human beings,” LeAmon said.
    Other new commissions include the transformation of the NGV Gallery Kitchen by English architect Adam Nathaniel Furman and Australian studio Sibling Architecture. The installation draw on influences from the boudoir, the salon and the nightclub to create a space with “flamboyant scenography and décor.” It is intended to be an inclusive space that is “especially welcoming to those who may not feel comfortable or safe in the public realm.”

    The mammoth Triennial exhibition is underpinned by four themes: illumination, reflection, conservation, and speculation. The artworks – some of which have been several years in the making and others created in the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns – explore some of the most pressing issues of today, including isolation, conservation and climate change.
    Other artworks in the exhibition includes the world’s first quantum artwork – a 100 square metre screen depicting a speculative work by Turkish artist Refik Anadol, made using artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
    The exhibition is open from 19 December 2020 until 18 April 2021 and entry is free.
    “There couldn’t be a better way to welcome Victorians back to the NGV – the people’s gallery – than with the spectacular second NGV Triennial,” said Victorian premier Daniel Andrews.
    In unveiling the exhibition, Andrews also announced a $20 million donation from the Ian Potter Foundation towards the development of the proposed NGV Contemporary. More

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    Pyrmont strategy clears path for controversial Star tower

    The NSW government’s final strategy for the Pyrmont peninsula clears the way for the controversial Star hotel development, with a 110-metre tower allowed at the northern end of the casino site and a 140-metre tower approved for the southern end.
    The decision to allow the development follows a prolonged battle over the proposed tower development, with state government MPs trading blows with the government’s own planning department and the City of Sydney over its appropriateness. The original 180-metre tower, designed by FJMT, was recommended for rejection by the planning department and was ultimately axed by the Independent Planning Commission. When the government announced a planning strategy overhaul for the area in July it was criticized for aiming to resurrect the controversial development; in September, Star Casino announced its intention to build two towers, instead of one.

    The release of the final Pyrmont Peninsula Place Strategy means the casino can now prepare a development application. Planning minister Rob Stokes said the strategy would provide more certainty and clarity regarding the future of the CBD’s western gateway.
    “We’ve listened to community and business feedback and have adapted the plan so that Pyrmont remains a prosperous and unique part of Sydney,” he said.
    “Striking a balance in planning is never easy and the unique geography and history of Pyrmont’s settlement pattern provided a particular challenge. Our fundamental task was to encourage economic development while enlivening the peninsula, boosting jobs and providing for more quality public open spaces for everyone to enjoy.”

    The strategy also confirms that a new Sydney Metro station will be built in Pyrmont as well as a new active transport link from Blackwattle Bay to the Fish Market Light Rail Station.
    It also calls for a “low-line” (modelled on New York’s High Line) beneath the Anzac Bridge pylons and Western Distributor overpass, comprising a ribbon of public, recreational space. Wentworth Park greyhound track land and the temporary pop-up school will also be transformed into publicly accessible open space.

    “Our plan will unlock public access to Sydney’s foreshore from Blackwattle Bay to Woollomooloo Bay [which hasn’t been accessible] since the 1800s,” said Stokes.
    “The pandemic has shown us the importance of public space and this strategy provides hectares more open space, uninterrupted foreshore and plenty of community infrastructure to support new and existing development.”
    Building heights will be allowed of up to 170 metres at Harbourside, while at Blackwattle Bay, 156 metres will be the maximum.
    The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will now prepare masterplans for the Pyrmont Peninsula’s seven sub-precincts: Pirrama, Darling Island, Blackwattle Bay, Tumbalong Park, Wentworth Park, Pyrmont Village and Ultimo. More