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Ingenhoven Architects 1 Bligh Tower spectacular lobby is open

25 Oct

Above image taken from Peter Murphy’s very cool interactive panorama-

I would love to catch one of the glass lifts (on acid…)

Check out the foyer of the recently opened 1 Bligh Street.
Quite superb glass and steel full height lobby, glass lifts, etc. Totally awesome….

Floor plans

The plans show how the lobby goes all the way up through the building-

It exits the roof in a snailshell orgy of solar cells-

Corporate tower.

The green wall and outside cafe (substation exhaust?) appears to be something of an afterthought.

And the entry is so bland that the interior, with its vibrant and warm colours, comes as a mad shock.


Info from the architectus website-

The structure delivers consistent large floor plates of up to 1600m2 and achieves 92 per cent efficiency Nett Lettable Area to Floor Space Area.
Forty per cent of office space is within 4.5 metres of the facade with 1000m2 contiguous column-free space creating high potential for office layout flexibility. The elliptical plan is 12 per cent more efficient than a rectangular building in facade to floor area and allows excellent natural light penetration. The 120 metre high central atrium makes dynamic views accessible to all.



Recent inner-city developments- CBD Low/Mid Rise (under 10 levels)

8 Jul

01- Cheese Grater (Architects- Allen Jack+Cottier)

Spunky new educational bldg DA as part of UTS (1 -3macarthur st)
cnr Macarthur st/bay sts
International Grammar School

02 15-35 chippendale student accommodation (architects- Silvester Fuller)

Here’s a render – looks better as a model. The architects (Silvester Fuller) are based in Australia, but I guess that doesn’t mean they’re not American. The owners of the building are American, however – it’s student accommodation for Boston University.
Original design from rising star TONY OWEN. Not half as good as what was finally built.

03- Belmore Park substation
The more I think about this one the more of a wasted opportunity this really is.
The 1918 Sydney hotel which was pulled down for current carpark.

04- New HQ for Google in Pyrmont- Workplace6. 6-Star Green Star-designed. (architects- Nettleton Tribe).

05- SUSSEX HAY CENTRE – 405-411 SUSSEX STREET, HAYMARKET (architects- Crone Partners Architecture Studios)

Demolition of the existing 5-6 storey buildings and construction of an 8 storey building with 2 levels of basement parking for 23 cars and lower ground supermarket, retail and restaurant at ground and first floors and 6 levels of commercial offices above.
It’s called the Sussex Hay Centre. You aren’t going to be happy with what they replaced, and what with (well I know I’m not, over 100 year old heritage lost!).

Here’s a Flickr website dedicated to what has been lost –

Here’s what the old 2 buildings looked like –

06- Dominion. 299 Forbes st, Darlinghurst. (architects- Group GSA)
At it’s highest point (about 30m down Burton Street), it’s about 29m from street level to the top of the lift overrun. At the corner of Forbes and Burton Streets it’s about 23m (7 storeys); at the corner of Burton and Bourke Streets it’s 24m (7 storeys).

A new Dominion to rise in Darlinghurst
8 July 2010

St Hilliers and Cbus Property have launched Dominion, a 110 luxury apartment development in Darlinghurst, Sydney.

The development is located on the site of the former Caritas healthcare facility, which St Hilliers acquired from St Vincent’s Hospital in 2008 with concept plan approval for a medium density residential and commercial development.

The triangular site is bounded by the famous Darlinghurst Gaol, now the National Art School, the NSW Supreme Court and the former heritage Darlinghurst Police Station.

The building was designed by Group GSA, with interiors by SJB Architects.

Architecturally, the approach has been to create three new buildings unified on a contiguous sandstone base, which wraps around the site and is in keeping with the historic surrounds. The base houses around 1,000 sqm of retail and commercial areas.

The Bourke, Burton and Forbes residences are low-rise buildings which feature an architectural profile of steel, glass and louvres and floating roofs. Four apartments housed within two adapted heritage buildings retained on the site blend heritage features and contemporary style.

Utilising the large frontages and stepped unit façade layout, over 90 per cent of the units are cross-ventilated.

The development as a whole aims to achieves a 5 star NatHERS environmental rating.

Construction of the development is expected to commence in December 2010 and will take 18 months to complete.

07- ‘Eden’ 19-31 Goold Street, Chippendale: (Architect: Tony Owen)

On a sadder note, a new DA is in for 19-31 Goold Street, Chippendale, and those terrific swooping and swaying lines of the rear of the building have been ‘rationalised’ into something much straighter and more conventional and much less interesting. What grey cardigan’s bloody idea was that?! 8 storeys 26 apt.

08- EastExchange. The extension to the old East telephone exchange at 320 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst.
Developed by Maygood Australia.
A 1923 stripped classical style public works building designed by E.H. Henderson.

09- Luxe Apartments in Woolloomooloo. The site – currently a hole – sits between Sir John Young Crescent and Crown Street.
A large hole in the ground on the site of the former Sydney Eye Hospital in Woolloomooloo is set to become twin seven-storey apartment blocks (has been gathering puddles and graffiti since the late 1990s).
Developer- Investment group FKP. The new $95 million blocks will be called Luxe and contain 77 apartments with an average price of $1 million.
The buildings were designed by architects Marchese Partners International and modified by Krikis Tayler Architects.

10- DA in for Student Housing, 1 Regent Street, Chippendale.
DA submitted 2007.

11- Glass box atop Louis Vuitton’s new flagship store, on the corner of King and George. (architects- Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp).
Formerly The Blacket Hotel. Developer- Kingvest Pty Ltd.


27 Apr

The latest building by Tony Owen blurs the line between architecture and urban billboard. Work has commenced on the EDEN apartments in Sydney.

This infill project is located in a varied and complex part of the Sydney cityscape and is visible from many vantages. The office sought to explore the possibilities of adding to the tapestry as a piece of art in the urban landscape. In a unique approach, the final image was chosen from an on-line poll of various options to allow the public to decide the streetscape of their city.

Vertical louvres of varying colours and textures create a pattern on the eight-storey facade that is discernable only from a distance.
Up close it’s just a part of the colour of the city, by when viewed from afar a distinct image emerges of fabric flowing in the breeze.

Five visual concepts were trialed, including the face of a beautiful woman, and subjected to an on-line vote on architect Tony Owen’s website. Some Council officers even registered their preference, with the abstract fabric design being judged more appropriate than the graphic of the attractive blonde, the floating clouds, the cityscape and the CBD skyline.

Eden will have 24 apartments in a diverse mix of layouts, from one to three-bedrooms. The two-storey configurations may have their roots in a traditional Victorian terrace but these have evolved into modern habitats with high ceilings, dramatic voids, double-height windows and wintergardens.

The vertical louvres are there for more than just show; they function for sun control, privacy, and help to modulate temperatures within the apartments.
Interiors are bold, with colourful tiles, geometric-patterned wallpaper, exposed storage options, modular joinery, and kitchens designed as large pieces of furniture to maximise the space.

Durbach Block- Architects carve their own space

8 Apr

Robert Bevan, The Australian March 18, 2011

Above- the Roslyn Street Kings Cross bar and restaurant by Durbach Block (2008). This is a wee gem of a building. The Spanish restauranteur ran out when he saw me taking photos and enthusiastically espoused the “Spanish Gaudiesque” qualities of the building.

BY making solids, you make voids, says architect Camilla Block. When an object is built, a space is also shaped around it.
The geometric principle is simple, but some designers – in awe of creating the spectacular facade or beautiful details – put space-making too far down their list of priorities.

Not so Durbach Block Jaggers. The Sydney-based architecture practice has made its name (until recently as Durbach Block) by making the space in and around its buildings crucial to its modernism. In so doing, the firm is part of a heavy-duty alternative to the mainstream of Australian architecture. “We make the garden central to what we do,” Block says.

Sydney-based architects Neil Durbach and Camilla Block on the rooftop space they created in the city’s Kings Cross. Picture: Sam Mooy Source: The Australian

There’s a garden at the heart of the 2009 Sussan Group Headquarters in Melbourne that the practice built for Naomi Milgrom, and a roof garden with grassy knoll and frangipanis crowns its bump-and-grind Barcelona building in Sydney’s Kings Cross. The curvy white-tiled homage to Spanish expressionist Antoni Gaudi is also home to the eight-strong DBJ studio.

National award for commercial architecture … Sussan and Sportgirl’s headquarters, Cremorne, VIC, designed by Durbach Block Architects. Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall.

Commonwealth Place in Canberra, on axis with Parliament House.

Garden House in Sydney. Corbusian villa.

The slate includes domestic, commercial and public projects. At the large scale, the architects’ award-winning Commonwealth Place created an undulating part-building, part-landscape for the ceremonial parliamentary axis of Canberra. At the small scale is a residence such as Garden House in Sydney, in the running for this year’s Australian Institute of Architects Awards.

A sculpted L-shaped block, Garden House has a conventional floor plan but its verticals (its section) are scooped away or bowed in places to create complex forms where the garden invades the house and vice versa. There is a wonderful external staircase sheltered by a narrow niche that is polished to a high sheen.

“The garden is present above you, below you, beyond you, beside you,” Block says. Her business partner Neil Durbach describes the building, with its miniature edifices and squares, as “a small city with lots of distinct moments”.

Glenn Murcutt’s influential call that Australian building should follow Aboriginal advice and “touch the earth lightly” has become the generator of a national architecture: a language of timber, screens and floating platforms that, internationally, is seen as the country’s most successful contribution to quality design.

Durbach and Block’s work, however, is almost the antithesis to this celebrated national school and is instead characterised by a desire to create permanent and definite markers of human presence on a vast landscape.

“It is not about tiptoeing on the earth,” Block says. “It is about being embedded in it and loving it.”

Durbach says he is more interested in mass than weightlessness, and describes the ephemeral nature of much Australian architecture as romantic at best. “At its worse, it is incredibly exclusive. I feel like I will never really be Australian enough to get it. Overseas it is always picked up; it is seen as exotic and I suppose it is.”

Durbach came to Australia in 1983 after he had escaped conscription in South Africa and studied in the US.

“I read this huge article in Rolling Stone magazine about Australian film – the last of the Mad Max films, Breaker Morant, you know – and I thought that [creative opportunity] was very possible for architecture, too,” he says.

“I’m not a real Australian either,” says Block. Born in South Africa, she moved here aged 12.

Durbach’s first success was with architect Harry Levine, winning the job to create a new wing at Tusculum, the NSW home of the AIA. He taught Block in the final year of her studies at the University of Sydney and a decade ago they together formed Durbach Block and went on to build a series of houses: most famously the Spry House and the Holman House that won them international acclaim. The houses may inhabit clifftop eyries but there is nothing flighty about these concrete dwellings.

Spry House (image- Durbach Block)

Holman House (image- Durbach Block)

Unlike many architectural duos, Durbach and Block don’t work as a yin-yang pairing (typically one being the business force and the other the design ace) but instead share similar obsessions.

Both admire what Durbach calls “that incredible plastic quality of modernism” present in the work of architects such as Alvar Aalto, or in the post-war work of Le Corbusier and Eero Saarinen that moved away from rigid functionalism to something softer and more humane.

The Garden House is made of heavy recycled brick, used with the rough face outwards, then whitewashed. It is reminiscent of the summer house Aalto built for himself in a Finnish forest. Corbusian elements regularly find their way into Durbach and Block’s work, in the way a rap artist may sample a class hook.

It’s fitting, then, that DBJ is designing an important exhibition on Le Corbusier next year at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. As well as more than 100 original items from the Corbusier Foundation in Paris, the show will include full-scale mock-ups of an apartment from the 1940s Unite D’habitation development in Marseilles and of the arch-modernist’s cabin retreat which, Durbach and Block observe, may be an antidote to Australia’s obsession with bigness when it comes to housing. Australians build the world’s biggest, most greedy homes. “It is tiny, 4m x 4m, and he called it his palace,” says Durbach of Le Corbusier’s modest cabin. “It shows how people can live beautifully and purposefully.”

Block says that while contemporary Australian houses may have five bedrooms, a media room and an ensuite for everyone, they have lost the luxury of spaciousness: they have only the merest smear of greenery around them. Durbach and Block’s experimental scheme for an alternative, the Infinity House, won them a brick industry award last year. The 250sqm figure-of-eight glass and brick home can house up to two families, separated by the narrow waist of the “eight” (actually the infinity symbol), and is wrapped in gardens to the point that there is almost no useful separation between garden and house.

Infinity House (image- Durbach Block)

It is obvious that Durbach and Block (now joined by long-term employee David Jaggers) wildly enjoy what they do. But has their initial perception of endless possibilities for architecture in Australia been borne out?

Yes, says Durbach: “It is still true, but there are deeper problems. Australia has become so anxious,” he says, citing his suburb of Bondi Beach as an example, with its endless regulations and prohibitions: no drinking, no smoking, no dogs on the beach.

Australia has become, he says, one of the most highly governed Western countries. He quotes research that suggests Australians, more than nearly all other nations, welcome government involving itself in their daily lives.

At the beach, DBJ has found its way through the regulatory tangle with a scheme for the new North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club, an inhabited sculpture with a roof garden crowning its three stories.

The ground floor will be for storage, changing rooms and nippers, the middle floor the observation deck and radio room, and the top floor the bar. Its front is cut away, as if a shark has taken a bite, to visually connect its “beautiful courtyard” with the ocean.

It is an ambitious building for the urban seaside, an environment that, strangely, Australian architects have been consistently poor at responding to.

The approvals have been given and 75 per cent of the money has been raised, so work should start soon. The aim, says Durbach, is a “genuinely public building” that users can wind their way in and out of, exploiting its different levels of entry. With a commission for a surf club that touches the earth weightily, Durbach and Block are in danger of losing their outsider status.


Westfield Sydney- my how you've grown!

12 Sep

With only seven weeks until the opening of the first (and major) stage of shops, Westfield Sydney is starting to rapidly take shape. Below are some images contrasting the site as it is today and as it was in 2008.

The $800 million project involves the construction of a new mall and office tower (85 Castlereagh Street) and refurbishment and reskinning of the existing 100 Market Street building and some mall sections.

The view from the corver of Market and Castlereagh Streets.

Some interesting historical images from 1969-

More at-

Paper buildings could become recyclable student housing

22 Feb

I’d never of thought you could build a multi-story house out of cardboard but that’s exactly what Col James of Stutchbury and Pape architects has done. It just goes to show what can be achieved when you think outside the box  .

Continue reading

Westfield signs JP Morgan in Sydney

20 Feb

Westfield Group, the Australian shopping centre owner, has signed JP Morgan at its 25-storey 32,800 sq m office tower in Sydney. Continue reading