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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



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.

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.

Marcus O’Reilly Architects Kyneton house, Victoria

17 Feb

This single story house is located on a leafy well established street in Kyneton, Victoria, Australia. While appropriately scaled for the neighborhood it is a variation on the local typology. Whereas the typical suburban model of a distinct front yard and back yard is the norm in the area, this design focuses the house to a generous north facing outdoor room.

Stretching east to west across the site, the dynamic double skillion roofs provide ample northern light into every room in the house. A central spine between the two roofs splits the house into public and private functions and visually connects the entrance of the home to the sculptural forms of the rear garden. A thickened wall with deep niches for the display of art and random artifacts heightens the experience of passing along the central circulation. Continue reading

Green means endurance: ANZ'S Melbourne Docklands headquarters

15 Feb

PHILIP HOPKINS The Age February 3, 2010.

ANZ’S new greener-than-green headquarters in Docklands stands out as a model, but sustainability experts warn that the $750 million building faces a new test – time.

Richard Reed, a professor in the faculty of business and law at Deakin University, said while ANZ had achieved its basic sustainability goal, ”the real test will be in the future, when there is increasing pressure to increase the level of sustainability in buildings”. Continue reading

Australia's 10 Greenest Buildings

25 Jan

Recycles sewerage … Melbourne City Council’s $41.2 million CH2 building features a black water recycling plant which provides water for toilets and plants.

Chilled beam technology … The $112 million headquarters of Lend Lease at 30 The Bond in Sydney was the first in Australia to install a chilled beam cooling system. Continue reading


28 Jun


by Jorge Chapa


zaha hadid potential design, zaha hadid, melbourne, docklands, the age, australia, green building

We don’t often bring news of projects without at least an inkling of the actual design, but sometimes we just can’t resist: Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi Pritzker Prize winning architect, is set to design Melbourne’s, and Australia’s, greenest and probably most expensive commercial and housing complex. A tall order, considering that Melbourne is already home to CH2 and 40 Albert Road, which have been the only two buildings in the country to achieve the highest 6-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. Continue reading