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‘Undeniable Beauty’ of "House in Country NSW" wins 2011 Australian House of the Year.

19 Jul

01A The exterior of the house of the year winner by Virginia Kerridge.

01B The interior of the house of the year winner by Virginia Kerridge.

Architect Virginia Kerridge’s ‘House in Country New South Wales’ has been named the Australian House of the Year during the gala presentation of the2011 Houses Awards on Friday 15 July at Melbourne’s Plaza Ballroom. Presented by Houses magazine, the Houses Awards are one of the country’s most sought-after architectural accolades.

‘House in Country New South Wales’ was chosen as the year’s outstanding project by a jury ofeminent architects and designers who are themselves recognised for creating inspirational Australian homes, including Brian Zulaikha (Tonkin Zulaikha Greer), Camilla Block (Durbach Block Jaggers), Paul Owen (Owen and Vokes) and Kerry Phelan (Kerry Phelan Design Office).

Judges said that the ‘House in Country New South Wales’ demonstrates a complete commitment from an architect and client to creating a distinctively Australian residential architecture. A contemporary architectural interpretation of the Australian colonial idyll, Kerridge has intuitively embraced the legacy of history, creating an elegant yet beguiling utilitarian house that truly captures the spirit of the place.

“Its beauty is undeniable,” the jury’s comments enthused. “Set against the towering mountain ranges that define the valley site, the architectural expression of this sprawling farmhouse is simultaneously fragile and monumental.” Jury members particularly noted the project’s roof form.

“Scaled to the landscape and designed to heighten our experience of its mass and drama, this folded-plane skillion floats across, gathers together and nestles up, creating rooms, connections and spaces with engagingly ambiguous levels of enclosure and function,” read the comments. “The relaxed atmosphere of the country verandah is referenced through planning, materiality and effortless occupation.

”Each year the Houses Awards provides a unique insight into contemporary residential design and the contribution Australia’s architects and designers make to enhancing the way we live today. As winner of the Australian House of the Year Award, Virginia Kerridge receives a $5,000cash prize and industry recognition through a range of media. Winners of individual categories each receive a prize of $1,000 and all Awarded and Highly Commended projects will be presented with a certificate and use of the Houses Awards logo for promotional purposes.

“The Houses Awards program offers a unique opportunity to celebrate Australian residential architecture,” says Cameron Bruhn, Houses magazine’s Editorial Director. “The peer-judged awards recognize achievement through categories that reflect the way architects and designers are shaping Australian homes.

”Houses magazine is Australia’s leading residential architecture magazine for designers and their clients. It is endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Design Institute of Australia.

Image copyright, source-

Category winners:

WINNER: Anthony Gill Architects, Potts Point Apartment, NSW
High Commendation: Jason Gibney, Bronte Apartment, NSW

02 The Potts Point Apartment displays a cheerful atmosphere in an urban setting. The redesigning of the small apartment included the need for transforming a 38 square meter crib into a space filled with light and joy.

JOINT WINNER: Virginia Kerridge Architect, House in Country NSW, NSW
JOINT WINNER: James Jones/HBV Architects, Trial Bay House, TAS
High Commendation: Anthony Gill Architects, Paddington House, NSW
High Commendation: Preston Lane Architects, Mount Pleasant House, TAS
High Commendation: Kennedy Nolan Architects, Stockbroker Tudor House, VIC

04 James Jones/HBV Architects, Trial Bay House, TAS

WINNER: Richard Peters Associates, The Shed, NSW
High Commendation: Sam Crawford Architects, Garrett House, NSW
High Commendation: Ian Moore Architects, Strelein Warehouse, NSW
High Commendation: David Boyle Architect, Burridge Read Residence, NSW
High Commendation: Allen Jack+Cottier and Terragram, Glass Loggia House, NSW
High Commendation: Steendyk, Treehouse, QLD

03 Richard Peters Associates, The Shed, NSW

WINNER: Donovan Hill, Z House, QLD
High Commendation: Wolveridge Architects, Hill Plains House, VIC
High Commendation: Fergus Scott Architects, Southern House, NSW
High Commendation: Fiona Winzar Architects, Orange Grove House, VIC
High Commendation: Sally Draper Architects, Westernport House, VIC
High Commendation: Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects, Florida Beach House, WA
High Commendation: CODA, Norfolk Farm, WA

05 Donovan Hill, Z House, QLD

WINNER: Tribe Studio, House Shmukler, NSW
High Commendation: Domenic Alvaro, Small House Surry Hills, NSW
High Commendation: Insite, Base Camp, VIC

06 Tribe Studio, House Shmukler, NSW

WINNER: Terragram and Allen Jack+Cottier, Garden of Ghosts, NSW
High Commendation: Eckersley Garden Architecture, Mulberry Cottage, VIC
High Commendation: Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Jane’s House and Garden, SA
High Commendation: Domenic Alvaro and 360 Degrees, Small House Surry Hills, NSW

07 Terragram and Allen Jack+Cottier, Garden of Ghosts, NSW

WINNER: Tribe Studio, House Shmukler, NSW
High Commendation: Andrew Maynard Architects, Ilma Grove House, VIC

08 Domenic Alvaro’s futuristic design (Small House Surry Hills, NSW) was highly commended in the Houses Awards.

09 Elsewhere- This year’s Wilkinson award for residential buildings went to Marsh Cashman Koolloos Architects’s designed house at Darling Point.


House Magazine's 2011 House awards

4 Jun

My friends over at House Magazine’s 2011 House awards site (Melbourne based) sent me alink.
I have showcased below the most striking NSW entrants. The 2011 Australian House of the Year will be anounced on July 15th. Meanwhile, here is a smattering-

01. Glass Loggia House by Allen Jack+Cottier ( )
Rustic, eccentric feel.

02. Haberfield House by Lahz Nimmo Architects ( )
Photos- Brett Boardman
Face brick and breeze blocks.

04. Southern House by Fergus Scott Architects ( )
Photos- Michael Nicholson

05. House 20 by Jolson Architecture and Interiors ( )
Photos- Peter Bennetts
This one is actually in Victoria but I included it as it was so good.

06. Freshwater House by Brewster Hjorth Architects ( )
Photos- Christian Mushenko

07. Camperdown House_1 by Carterwilliamson Architects ( )
Photos- Brett Boardman


Venice Biennale: The ‘It’ Bag

3 Jun

June 2, 2011, CAROL VOGEL, NYT.

It’s something of a tradition here that when the National pavilions dole out information on their artists, the papers and catalogs generally come with a handy tote bag.  Both a practical object and a free ad (they usually have an image of some sort and the name of the country on them) some are always more in demand than others.

Venice Biennale- This year one particular stand-out can be found at the Australian pavilion: it’s gold lamé and has the name of the artist — Hany Armanious — emblazoned in black letters and the rest of the information in bright red.  Officials there said within three hours on Wednesday they had dispensed with more than 2,000 of them and as they’re getting scarcer this season’s “it” bag is becoming a collector’s item. One man even asked for two of them so he could turn them into a pair of shorts.

Mr. Armanious was on hand to talk about his exhibition, appropriately named “The Golden Thread,’’ which includes a group of sculptures in the form of familiar images and found objects.

The artist acknowledged that he had a hand in the design of the tote bag. “It’s obviously playing with the title of the show, a subtle signifier,’’ he said, then paused and added, “I wish I had had the foresight to include a matching hat.’’


Melbourne- Stripping the glitter from architecture's 'golden' oldies

7 Feb

SMH February 5, 2011 Julie Szego

Waging a guerilla war against change is actually an attempt to snub history by trying to evade its march.

WHENEVER I am waiting for a green light at the corner of Elizabeth and Grattan streets in Parkville, my gaze is drawn to the former Ampol House. The building, now called the Elizabeth Towers Hotel, has a quirky, slightly space-age vibe that inspires mild curiosity. The corner tower, framed by blue tiling, curves around what is apparently Melbourne’s tallest concrete spiral stairway and is crowned with two flagpoles and a neon sign.

Having casually admired the building countless times, I researched its origins and then searched my heart about the prospect of it being razed (we’ll come to why in a tick).

Despite all you’re about to read, when change, with its PowerPoint efficiency, swoops on a thing from the past that helps ground me in the present, I too feel the pain.

It is only natural. But in recent times a healthy regard for heritage, and fierce sense of place, appears to have morphed into a pervasive and crippling anxiety about the future.

Let’s go back to old Ampol House. The National Trust says the 1958 building is the last of its kind, designed in ”a style that appears to belong to the early modernist period of 20 years previously”. In other words, it was always a throwback.

As its original name suggests, the building once housed the headquarters of a major Australian petrol company; initially a pump station was incorporated at ground level. These days it houses nothing and no one.

Melbourne University, which owns the site, wants to knock the building down to make way for the $210 million Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. As its name, which carries that of an Australian Nobel laureate, suggests, the proposed addition to Parkville’s medical research precinct is about luring top scientists to Victoria, pooling expertise with the aid of proximity, being battle-ready for the next pandemic, and a host of other noble objectives. Complications, procedural and political, have dogged this project, but the point is the institute can’t get off the ground.

The council has blocked the proposal, largely on heritage grounds. The university, which says it stands to lose millions in federal funding, has been forced to fight the matter through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

So which would you choose? The institute or the architectural anachronism from the heritage B-list? An investment that may help save many lives or saving the life of one vacant building?

It should be a no-brainer. But in fairness to the council, its decision is in perfect harmony with the zeitgeist.

The Save Our Suburbs movement of the 1990s has now splintered into cells of rescue workers, ready for deployment at the first ominous murmur from developers or public officials. So much appears to need saving from the tide of change: the railway gate and the bloke who opens it, the bridge, the pier, the point, the strip of grass, the hotel, the sauce and its bottle.

Even if their numbers are small, protest groups are changing the conversation.

Consider the state Liberal Party’s pre-election pitch, which was strikingly conservative in a literal sense: protect Melbourne from the ”wrecking ball”, return the rattling W-class trams to commuter routes, resume alpine cattle grazing, review the council proposal for a new boat ramp and breakwater facility at Mallacoota, reopen the gates at the previously hazardous railway level crossing in New Street, Brighton.

This week I asked a spokeswoman for Planning Minister Matthew Guy whether he supports building the Doherty Institute on the Parkville site – his department being a respondent to the VCAT proceedings. She never responded.

Of course, Labor once drank from the same rusty well. A folksy 2006 press release from then planning minister Rob Hulls declared the Barwon Heads bridge – rotting, cracking and splitting but boosted by its 15 minutes of SeaChange fame – had been ”saved”. Four years later, the bridge controversy rumbles on and helped make a casualty of the local Labor MP.

All of the following are givens: Melbourne could do a lot better at adapting what it already has for new uses, an engaged and passionate community is a good one, the mistakes of the past should be avoided, give up too much of what’s known and trusted and we risk losing our bearings and our sanity as well. But waging a guerilla war against change is actually an attempt to snub history by trying to evade its march.

And that’s why planning schemes or heritage codes aren’t the point. There’s a deeper crisis of faith involved. I’ve tended to assume that a loss of belief in the future, in the whole notion of progress, drives the compulsion to pickle our cities. But then recently a friend was bemoaning a plan to upgrade her suburban railway station. ”I love its unfinished character,” she said. ”If the plan goes ahead, it’ll be time for me to move.”

OK, she’s a middle class resident of a well-to-do-suburb who can afford to romanticise crumbling infrastructure. Still, could her attitude reflect a more general unease?

Maybe fear of success – the prospect of arriving, of things being ”finished” – is the real neurosis of these privileged times. After all, if the new bridge works a treat, if the trams run faster, if the institute gets built then even more people will want to come here, right? And that, of course, would only bring more change.


Statement of Significance
The former Ampol Building, designed by Bernard Evans & Associates, and completed in 1958 is architecturally and historically important at the Regional level.

Architecturally, the building is notable principally for its dramatic glazed circular corner tower, housing Melbourne’s tallest concrete spiral stair. The tower is accentuated by the flanking blue tiled wing walls topped by flagpoles, and neon sign.

Historically, it is of interest as a building that is designed in a style that appears to belong to the early modernist period of twenty years previously, and is by far the last major building designed in this tradition in Victoria. It is also of interest as the headquarters of one of the major petrol companies in Victoria, which were all undergoing great expansion at that time, and for originally incorporating a petrol station at the ground level.

Brisbane Floods- History forgotten in rush to riverfront luxury

18 Jan

IN the rejuvenation of Brisbane as the River City, boasting expensive homes and apartments along the waterfront, buyers of the relatively new and luxurious apartments of Tennyson Reach enjoyed the best of both worlds.

On one side, the Brisbane River; on the other the new home of tennis in Queensland.

The development, by ASX-listed company Mirvac, also boasts history: it is on the site of the old Tennyson power station, a huge sprawling complex that was pulled down to make way for millionaires’ row. In Brisbane’s 1974 floods, the water that inundated the power station was a powerful reminder of the vulnerability of the city and its leafy near-river suburbs to heavy and sustained rainfall.

But, with the passage of time, as developers moved in and the beautification and rebranding of Brisbane gathered momentum, the images of water flooding around the power station were forgotten or discarded. Residents believed their insurance policy was Wivenhoe Dam, commissioned a quarter of a century ago to mitigate against a future large flood. Yesterday, as the smell in the luxury dwellings at Tennyson Reach, home to tennis greats including Ashley Cooper, rose with the temperature and humidity, owners wondered how the planning controls that were meant to regulate development could have gone so wrong.

Several said they were assured before buying that the ground level would not flood unless the Brisbane River reached a mark of 8.4m, well above the 4.46m at which it peaked last Thursday after a massive discharge of 645,000 megalitres from Wivenhoe Dam on Tuesday. Between cleaning up and moving out yesterday, several owners said they needed explanations from Mirvac and the council about their true flood immunity and whether the development, completed less than two years ago, should have been approved, given its history of inundation.

The flooding at Tennyson Reach is one small part of a major problem for Brisbane City Council and the Queensland government, as the losses of owners, the liability of developers, and the policies of governments combine in a perfect storm of recrimination and confusion. The residential precinct went through all the council’s usual approvals process after the Beattie government sought tenders to make something glorious from the site of the abandoned and obsolete power station.

Apartment owner Chrissie Buchanan, who bought in June 2009 with her husband, Sam, who is a quadriplegic, has had damaged floors, walls and cabinets. She said she was fortunate to have insurance and was in a lot better position than many in Brisbane. ‘‘The things that have been damaged are easily replaced,’’ Ms Buchanan said. ‘‘There are people who have lost their businesses and houses. I feel for people who are a lot worse off than ourselves.’’ She said flooding risk was ‘‘not an issue’’ that was canvassed when she and her husband bought the property. ‘‘You never believe it’s going to happen to you,’’ she said.

Keith George, who paid $2.25 million for his ground-floor apartment 18 months ago, said he had waist-level water throughout his property. As a result, he will have to rip up floors and carpets, rebuild walls, and most of the apartment’s cabinets will have to be replaced. ‘‘I’m going to have to spend at least $100,000 to replace the cabinetry,’’ he said. ‘‘We won’t be back in here for months.’’ Mr George said the flood risk never came up when he was buying the property, partly because City Hall had approved the development. ‘‘And I always believed the Wivenhoe would not let the Brisbane River come up,’’ he said. Another resident, Julie Savage, said most people living in the complex were not too concerned on Tuesday night when other parts of the city started to evacuate their homes. ‘‘I got the impression everyone was relaxed because it could withstand a flood of 8.4m, so it would all be fine,’’ she said. It is not only residents on the ground floor who are affected, with those on the many levels above unable to return home because there is no power and no lifts working. ‘‘They were saying 12 weeks until they can return, but it might be eight,’’ Mr George said.

Chris Freeman, the former Queensland chief executive of Mirvac, also bought into Tennyson Reach, but higher than the flood level. Mirvac Development Queensland chief executive Matthew Wallace, who inspected the development yesterday, said the priority was to work with the body corporate to get the buildings reinstated, and ‘‘get peoples’ lives and properties back together’’.

The flooding hit the apartments 12 hours before the peak in Brisbane of 4.46m. It is believed the body corporate does not have flood insurance. Several owners who bought their apartments before the global financial crisis had looked for loopholes to litigate a way out of their contracts before settlement, but failed after filing actions in the District Court. The irony is that being misled over the level of their flood immunity might have provided a perfect exit.

After successfully defending itself against some residents’ claims that it misrepresented the quality of the river views, as well as a host of technical legal arguments surrounding the contract documents, Mirvac said the original buyers had to meet, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars in default interest and associated costs. The development’s proximity to the city — 8km from the Brisbane CBD and a half-volley from championship tennis courts — was a large part of its appeal, along with the usual prestige trappings of gymnasium, swimming pool, walking and cycle tracks, barbecue areas, parklands and landscaped gardens.

Source- Australian, January 18th. 2011.

Alfred Tennyson’s Crossing the bar

SUNSET and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Gillard shuts door on 'big Australia'

27 Jun

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is breaking free from one of her predecessor’s main policy stances by announcing she is not interested in a “big Australia”.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd was in favour of population growth, with his government predicting it to hit around 36 million by 2050, largely through immigration.

But Ms Gillard has indicated she will be putting the brakes on immigration in order to develop a more sustainable nation.

“Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population,” she told Fairfax.

“I don’t support the idea of a big Australia with arbitrary targets of, say, a 40 million-strong Australia or a 36 million-strong Australia. We need to stop, take a breath and develop policies for a sustainable Australia.

“I support a population that our environment, our water, our soil, our roads and freeways, our busses, our trains and our services can sustain.”

But Ms Gillard says that does not mean putting a stop to immigration all together.

“I don’t want business to be held back because they couldn’t find the right workers,” she said.

“That’s why skilled migration is so important. But also I don’t want areas of Australia with 25 per cent youth unemployment because there are no jobs,” she said.

Mr Rudd installed Tony Burke as the Minister for Population, but in one of her first moves as Prime Minister, Ms Gillard has changed his job description to Minister for Sustainable Population.

Mr Burke will continue to develop a national population strategy which is due to be released next year.

Ms Gillard says the change sends a clear message about the new direction the Government is taking.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin told Channel Ten that Australia’s population growth has to reflect the country’s economic needs.

“When we have areas in Australia with 25 per cent youth unemployment we should be getting in there doing everything possible to get those young people skilled up and into the jobs that are available,” she said.

“Making sure that where we have serious congestion in our cities that we do something about it.”

But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has told ABC1’s Insiders that Ms Gillard cannot be believed.

“When the Coalition said a few months ago that the population had to be sustainable we were pilloried up hill and down dale by Julia Gillard,” he said.

“I think what we’re also going to see from Julia Gillard is an attempt on all the controversial issues where the Opposition is making the running, to adopt a kind of ‘me too’ strategy.”

Australian businessman Dick Smith has been a vocal advocate for a more sustainable approach to population growth and has applauded Ms Gillard’s announcement.

But he acknowledges it will not be welcomed by everyone.

“The business community, my wealthy mates are completely addicted to growth because of greed,” he said.

“So they’re going to fight her every inch of the way. They just want growth, growth, growth, even though it’s obvious that it’s not sustainable.

“I think she’s a brave lady, I reckon she will stand up to them.”

But an urban planning group is trying to convince Ms Gillard of the benefits of a big population.

Urban Taskforce Australia chief executive Aaron Gadiel says a large population increases the tax base to fund improvements to infrastructure and welfare services.

“We shouldn’t be trying to fight it, what we should be trying to do is ensuring that we’ve got the investment and infrastructure that makes that process easier to manage,” he said.

“I think people should be focussing on how much state, federal and local governments have been investing in urban infrastructure to help absorb population growth.”

A survey earlier in the year by the Lowy Institute found that almost three-quarters of Australians want to see the country’s population grow, but not by too much.

The Lowy Institute surveyed more than 1,000 people and found that while there was support for increased immigration, Australians were not quite prepared to embrace the Government’s predicted 36 million.

The poll showed 72 per cent of people supported a rise in Australia’s population, but 69 per cent wanted it to remain below 30 million people.
New poll results

Meanwhile, a new Galaxy poll published today shows voters believe Ms Gillard will give Labor a better chance of winning the Federal Election than Mr Rudd, although they do not support the way she came to power.

Voters who were polled still believe Mr Rudd should be given a job on the frontbench.

The poll puts Labor in an election-winning position, jumping ahead of the Coalition by two percentage points on a two-party preferred basis, leading 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

A Herald/Nielson poll released yesterday showed Labor’s primary vote climbing to 47 per cent, while support for the Coalition fell 1 point to 42 per cent.

However Mr Abbott earlier dismissed the figures and said he was not worried.

“Right now the new Prime Minister is enjoying a predictable bounce in the polls that was to be expected the Government has tried to fix the headlines,” he said.

“But they can’t fix the problems and the headlines won’t stay fixed unless they fix the problem.”

The latest poll has indicated that most of all voters just want the Government to get on with the job of running the country and are urging Ms Gillard to fix the mining tax debacle, stop wasting money and sort out the health system.

Voters insist Ms Gillard must move quickly to settle the mining tax issue, with 30 per cent of poll respondents saying it should be her first priority and 24 per cent saying she should fast-track health and hospital reforms.

Her third priority should be to get the Budget back into the black, they say.

Only 11 per cent of the 800 voters polled believe Ms Gillard should revive the emissions trading scheme to tackle climate change and 13 per cent feel she should get tougher on asylum seekers.

Labor’s primary support has locked in at four points higher than after the Budget, on 41 per cent, but the Coalition has dropped only one point to 42 per cent and that loss has been at the expense of the minor partner, the National Party.


Hundreds protest Windsor redevelopment in Melbourne

28 Mar

AAP   MELISSA JENKINS  March 25, 2010

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has vowed to take the protest against the redevelopment of Melbourne’s historic Windsor Hotel to federal parliament.

Senator Bob Brown said the historical buildings in Melbourne’s parliamentary precinct should be protected.

“This is one of the most important and beautiful precincts in this whole nation,” he said.

“It’s part of our federation history, it is part of this nation’s democratic history as one of the world’s four oldest continuous democracies.”

Senator Brown joined hundreds of demonstrators outside the Victorian parliament on Thursday to protest the state government’s approval of the controversial multi-million-dollar redevelopment.

He says protecting the heritage-listed hotel was important to people across Australia.

“This isn’t just Melbourne, it’s Australia’s heritage,” he told the crowd, some of whom carried signs reading “Hands off the Windsor” and “Money Speaks, Minister Listens”.

“I can tell you now that this gathering has the support of not just so many Victorians but millions of Australians who will not want the bulldozers moved in on this marvellous Windsor Hotel, which belongs to Melbourne and the whole of this nation.

“I will take the message of this rally to Capital Hill in Canberra.”

Planning Minister Justin Madden last week gave the green light to the $260 million redevelopment, which will involve demolishing the rear section of the 1883 building, which faces Parliament House, to make way for a 91-metre high, 26-storey tower.

It follows a leaked email scandal sparked by a document created by a media adviser – who has since been dumped from Mr Madden’s office – advocating a fake public consultation process.

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) is considering its options, which could include taking legal action.

Chief executive Martin Purslow criticised statutory authority Heritage Victoria for its support of the project and called for an overhaul of the planning system.

“Our inability to challenge Heritage Victoria’s decision except in the Supreme Court points to a problem with the system,” he said.

Planning Backlash convenor Mary Drost said Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush, who sent his apologies for not attending the rally, compared the redevelopment to the destruction of the German city of Dresden which was razed by British bombers in 1945.

“He said that old historic city of Dresden was bombed out during a war,” Ms Drost said.

“We don’t need a war to bomb out our city. We’ve got a government who is bombing it out for us.”

Protectors of Public Lands Victoria president and the Greens’ Melbourne candidate, Brian Walters SC, said the planning process was corrupt.

“Give us planning that values our heritage and give us a process that values the community,” he said.

Premier John Brumby said Mr Madden’s decision was based on recommendations from his department, an independent panel, Heritage Victoria, Melbourne City Council and the Victorian government architect, Geoffrey London.

“People who are passionate about heritage, people who are passionate about the environment – people have strong views,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“The bigger question is how do you best maintain and restore a beautiful building into the future.”

The state opposition is in broad support of the proposed redevelopment but is critical of the planning process.

“The planning processes in this state today are a sham,” opposition planning spokesman Matthew Guy said.


2010 “Save the Windsor” rally on the steps of Parliament House

The Hotel Windsor is a 5 Star luxury hotel in Melbourne. The Windsor is Australia’s only surviving grand 19th century city hotel and only official “grand” Victorian era hotel.

The hotel has a significant role in the History of Australia as the place where the Constitution of Australia was drafted in 1898.

For much of its 20th Century life the hotel, dubbed the Duchess of Spring Street, was one of the most favoured and luxurious hotels in Melbourne. It has hosted many notable national and international guests including Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Katharine Hepburn, Muhammad Ali, Basil Rathbone and Lauren Bacall as well as Australian prime ministers Sir Robert Menzies, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard.

The Windsor is situated on Bourke Hill in the Parliament Precinct and is a Melbourne landmark of high Victorian architecture.

The original Grand Hotel in 1883 from Treasury PlaceThe hotel was built in two stages by shipping magnate George Nipper, both designed by Charles Webb in a broadly Renaissance Revival style. Originally named the Grand Hotel, the first section (the southern half) was completed in 1884.

The northern half, which included the distinctive twin mansard roofed towers in the Second Empire style, was completed in 1888, just in time to host visitors to the Centennial Exhibition in the Royal Exhibition Building. A notable feature is the stone sculpture, attributed to John Simpson Mackennal, over the main entrance with male female figures known as ‘Peace and Plenty’ reclining over the English and Australian Coat of Arms.[5] The extension was undertaken by a new owner, temperance movement leader James Munro, who burnt the liquor licence in public and operated the hotel as a coffee palace, renamed the “Grand Coffee Palace”.

Grand Hotel and Spring Street in 1906Re-licenced in 1897, it became the Grand Hotel and in 1898 the Constitution of Australia was drafted in the hotel.

The present name dates from 1920, when the hotel was sold and refurbished, and honours the British Royal Family.

For much of its 20th Century life, the hotel dubbed the Duchess of Spring Street was one of the most favoured and luxurious hotels in Melbourne, hosting many notable national and international guests.