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    World’s tallest hybrid timber tower in Perth granted approval

    A distinctive 183-metre-tall hybrid timber tower, designed by Fraser and Partners, has obtained development approval, with the 51-storey building reportedly on its way to earning the title of tallest hybrid timber tower in the world.
    The $350-million tower will be three metres taller than the current title holder: Atlassian’s hybrid timber tower in Sydney designed by Shop Architects and BVN, which was approved in 2021.
    The City of South Perth initially recommended to reject the proposal because it did not meet the criterion of “design excellence.” However, the Joint Development Assessment Panel vetoed the council’s recommendation.
    Located at 4-8 Charles Street, South Perth, the development will be named C6, after the chemical element for carbon on the periodic table – a fitting name for the first carbon negative building in Western Australia.
    The hybrid timber tower will be constructed using 7,400 square metres of exposed timber. According to the C6 Perth website, the vision behind the design is to deliver “a simple, elegant, structural solution that can be replicated time and time again,” and to “use materials where they are most fit for purpose.”
    “We seek to create homes that generate joy. Let’s design our buildings to be win-win for us and for our planet – these two notions should not be mutually exclusive.”

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    The fully electric building will comprise 237 one and two-bedroom apartments, a public park, urban farm, and an EV parking lot with charging stations. Image:

    Fraser and Partners

    The fully electric building will comprise 245 one- to four-bedroom apartments, a public park, cinema, urban farm, private food waste and recycling capabilities and an EV parking lot with charging stations, housing a fleet of 80 electric cars for communal use.
    Fraser and Partners’ design intends to adopt biophilic design principles, with C6 to feature3,500 square metres of landscaped floral, native and edible gardens for a “tower to plate” food and beverage offering.
    C6 will release 85 per cent of the site to the community, with locals and visitors able to enjoy the nature themed playground, educational and entertainment cinema, horticulutural zone, and landscaped gardens on the ground plane.
    Architect Callum Fraser said C6 is more than a building, “it’s a new building system that inverts the carbon diagram – from carbon creation to carbon capture and sequestration. An architecture of consequence.” More

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    Expanded Cairns Convention Centre opens

    The Queensland government has opened the $176-million expansion to Cairns Convention Centre, designed by Cox Architecture and CA Architects.
    The 10,500 square metre expansion follows major refurbishment works to the original centre in 2021.
    The new expanded centre accommodates a 410-seat function room, three 120-seat meeting rooms, exhibition space for 30 booths, a new entry, and a large, generously planted porte cochere.

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    Cairns Convention Centre expansion by Cox Architecture and CA Architects. Image:

    Christopher Frederick Jones

    The expansion has been designed to enhance the original 1990s convention centre, also by Cox Architecture.
    “The original building components are largely internalized spaces. They are driven by blackout capacity and light and sound control,” said project director Richard Coulson. “The new expansion really was more about engaging externally while maintaining the expectation of a world class convention facility.”
    Located at the edge of a creek with views towards a nearby mountain range, the building has been “orchestrated” to play with the natural features of the landscape. “The design for the Convention Centre was a chance to embrace the water again and to make the water edge a people’s place,” Coulson said.

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    Cairns Convention Centre expansion by Cox Architecture and CA Architects. Image:

    Christopher Frederick Jones

    A 500-seat banquet space on the top level looks out to the creek and mountains. “A Traditional Owner explained to me that the mountain ranges form Guyala [pronounced goo-ya-la], the White Breasted Sea Eagle. It’s a fantastic creation story from the local community. To know that the silhouette of that spectacular skyline and this special place will now be shared with many because of the strategies in this project is very rewarding.”
    The external facade, which features more than 1,000 glass-reinforced concrete sunshades, has been inspired by the colours of the rainforest and region. The fins provide relief from the tropical sun, while also allowing views out.
    Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “The new-look Cairns Convention Centre is a fitting addition to Queensland’s Far North tourism mecca, which will undoubtedly attract world-class events to the region.” More

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    Institute backs calls to implement sustainable materials regulations

    The Australian Institute of Architects has backed calls to accelerate and wholly implement the National Construction Code 2022, arguing a complete switchover to environmentally friendly construction materials would assist Australia to meet its sustainability commitments. Institute national president Stuart Tanner said sustainable alternatives were accessible and available for use in construction and by implementing the […] More

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    First Indigenous rehab centre proposed for Canberra

    Canberra’s Watson Health Precinct could become home to the city’s first dedicated residential rehabilitation facility for First Nations people, following the submission of a $49 million development application.
    Design team, Judd Studio and STH, have proposed the construction of a 24 bed two-storey rehabilitation facility on the site, as well as the establishment of four one- and two-storey buildings to make up the new health hub, new driveway verge crossings and internal driveway, parking area, outdoor recreation areas and landscaping.
    The precinct upgrades will allow the facility to double the intake capacity for services and enable positive clinical and therapeutic outcomes for more people.
    The project would involve the demolition of existing buildings at the precinct, which have been used to provide specialist mental health care and alcohol and other drug rehabilitation care to young people for almost 20 years.
    Four new buildings, Calm House, Palm Hub, Palm House and Catholic Care, have been proposed to form the health hub, with each building offering different functions.

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    Palm Hub outdoor communal area. Image:

    Judd Studio and STH

    The precinct is sited at 350 Antill Street, at the base of Mount Majura. The property, which is surrounded by open space, is set back from the street and bordered by native trees to provide a tranquil, and private space to support people during their rehabilitation and recovery.
    The landscape serves as a multi-use space, with plans indicating an outdoor dance and gathering circle, half basketball court, vegetable garden and horticulture training area, gym, kitchen and dining terrace, seating areas, covered verandah area and open grass areas.
    Canberra Town Planning submitted the application, which is now on exhibition.
    Construction has been predicted to be completed in late 2024. More

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    Healthcare design for community, mental health and innovation

    The Health Care Health Design forum will explore the influence architecture can have on the quality, efficiency and community impact of healthcare systems, as well as the role design can play on the entire hospital experience from arrival and treatment to recovery and departure.
    Leading practitioners, researchers and professionals from around the globe will consider the evolution of healthcare design while investigating architecture’s relationship with the health challenges of today, including supporting communities through design, reimagining mental health spaces, and how responsive solutions can inform tomorrow’s hospitals.
    Three online sessions will be held across three days in October, with each session presenting a unique and fascinating topic. The line-up will alter for each session, offering differing perspectives, insight and case studies reflecting the different facets of healthcare design.
    The three distinct themes to be elaborated on include – People-Centred Healthcare: Designing for Community Impact, The Psychology of Care: Designing for Mental Health, and Hospitals of the Future: Designing for Innovative Healthcare.
    Each session will comprise one hour of presentations and an hour-long panel discussion. You can choose to view as many sessions you’d like. For each two-hour session, architects can accrue 2 formal CPD points, and Design Institute of Australia members can accrue 3 DIA CPD points.
    Tuesday 3 October, 12–2 pm AEDT
    Session one – People-Centred Healthcare: Designing for Community Impact
    Edwina Bennett, Woods Bagot (Adelaide, SA)Tara Veldman, Billard Leece Partnership (Sydney, NSW)Adele King and Alexandra Smith, Warren and Mahoney (Auckland, New Zealand) with Bronwen Te Whare, Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand (New Plymouth, New Zealand)
    Dissection moderator: Stefano Scalzo, Victorian Department of Health
    Tuesday 10 October, 12–2 pm AEDT
    Session two – The Psychology of Care: Designing for Mental Health
    Susan Le Good, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (London, UK)Lada Bodnaruk, Architectus Conrad Gargett (Brisbane, Qld)Rhonda Johnson, Jacobs (Auckland, New Zealand)
    Dissection moderator: Leigh-Anne Hepburn, University of Sydney
    Tuesday 17 October, 12–2 pm AEDT
    Session three – Hospitals of the Future: Designing for Innovative Healthcare
    Catherine Loker, Hassell (Sydney, NSW)Stig Vesterager Gothelf, 3XN (Copenhagen, Denmark)Isabelle Mansour, Mott MacDonald (Sydney, NSW)
    Dissection moderator: Sophie Patitsas, Office of the Victorian Government Architect
    Tickets can be purchased until 10 November, 2023. Following the streaming dates, delegates can view all three sessions on demand until 17 November, 2023. To book visit Design Speaks. More

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    The Fritz Hansen Skagerak Collection reaches Australia

    Global design house Fritz Hansen has launched their environmentally conscious Skagerak Collection, which is now available in Australia. The collection features indoor and outdoor furniture and accessories crafted primarily from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified teak and oak. With input from renowned architects and designers, the collection pieces have been created with materials that age […] More

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    Victoria to replace 44 high-rise public housing towers

    The Victorian government has announced a plan to demolish and redevelop 44 high-rise public housing towers in what would be Australia’s biggest urban renewal project.
    The project has been proposed in a bid to deliver more social and affordable housing and meet demand for supply.
    Constructed between the 1950s and 1970s, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews described the buildings as outdated and no longer fit for modern living standards.
    In a published media statement, the Victorian government said the towers would fail current building codes in relation to “noise, sustainability, waste and recycling, bedroom area dimensions, room depth, ventilation, private open space, accessibility and minimum amenity standards.”
    “If Homes Victoria undertook only critical capital repairs and maintenance to the 44 towers, it’d cost an estimated $2.3 billion over the next 20 years – roughly $55 million per tower. But even then, their design means many homes would never be able to meet contemporary codes, nationwide energy rating schemes or accessibility needs,” the statement reads.
    Two towers in Flemington, one in North Melbourne and two in Carlton are first on the list to be knocked down. Across Flemington and North Melbourne, 503 dwellings will be replaced with 1,800 new homes and in Carlton, 231 homes will replace 196 existing apartments – an increase in home supply of 18 per cent.
    Premier Daniel Andrews said the project would be Australia’s biggest urban renewal development.
    “It’ll boost social housing by at least 10 per cent across these 44 sites. It’s a massive agenda to reimagine these spaces and rebuild them into the modern, accessible, comfortable homes Victorians expect – and deserve,” he said.
    There are approximately 10,000 people living across all 44 towers, a number the state government says will increase to 30,000 people once the sites have been redeveloped. Every tenant living across the 44 towers will be guaranteed a home while the redevelopment rolls out.
    Homes Victoria has launched a community consultation phase with residents, which saw them visit every household across each tower last week. Community consultation will ramp up, with Homes Victoria staff to remain onsite at the towers to provide information and support.
    The Victorian government’s decision to demolish and redevelop the towers has garnered mixed reactions, with some Victorians in support of the knock down and while others, including architects, have criticized the plan for not considering adaptive re-use options.
    The 44-tower rebuild is one component of the Victorian government’s housing statement, which was recently unveiled. More

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    ‘Poster child for tropical urbanism’ proposed for Cairns

    A development application has been lodged for a residential tower to be established in Cairns, in a move that would see the heritage-listed Cairns Post headquarters being adaptively re-used.
    It has been proposed that four heritage sites, spanning across 22-34 Abbott Street, be re-purposed into commercial outlets, including the former office of the Cairns Post newspaper.
    The tower proposal by Hunt Design includes three parking levels, a lobby, a residents recreation area and 75 units across eight levels. Apartments range in size from 67-square-metres to 178-square-metres and in offering with a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments.
    Plan show a resident’s recreation area on the first accommodation level with gym, spa, swimming pool and sun deck. The pool, with its glass frontage, sits perched four levels above street level to create a visually unique facade.

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    The development would see the adaptive re-use of the Cairns Post headquarters. Image:

    Hunt Design

    All apartments have been designed with a wide outdoor balcony using high thermal performance glass to achieve a low energy footprint for the building. The balconies are a standout feature on the facade, with defined horizontal lines and shaded areas.
    By setting back the car park face, the heritage buildings on the ground plane stand proud rather than feeling overshaded by the tower.
    The vision behind the development is to enliven the city centre by introducing contemporary residences to attract more short and long-term residents, as well as offer more cultural experiences to existing residents by creating a relationship between the gallery precinct and through the delivery of more dining and retail outlets.
    The application states the overarching design concept is to “create a poster child for tropical urbanism, to capture what it is like to have an alfresco lifestyle right in the city heart,” and to formulate a building that amplifies Cairns position as “a city in a tropical garden.”
    Overall, the existing site is lightly utilized from a commercial standpoint, with the Cairns Post building having laid dormant for many years, the neighbouring property Evert House being non-operational and the opal shop being vacant. The only tenanted building is a nearby liquor store.
    The development application was submitted by Sky Commercial. Alex Seckler of Sky Commercial purchased the former Cairns Post office in 2021, followed by the adjoining retail strip. More