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Architecture AustraliaArchitecture Australia

Architecture Australia November 2016

Ask architects which Australian magazine they choose to read or to publish their work and the answer is most likely Architecture Australia. If you want to be up to date with the best built works and the issues that matter, then Architecture Australia is for you. Its commissioned contributors are independent, highly respected practitioners, architectural thinkers and design commentators and each article is supported by images from leading architectural photographers. Provocative, informative and engaging – it is the national magazine of the Australian Institute of Architects.

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6 Issues


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Architecture awards exemplify the diversity and creativity within our talented profession. This issue of Architecture Australia is devoted to the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2016 National Architecture Awards. These awards demonstrate convincingly the richness, complexity and individuality of Australian architecture, and speak of diversity – in approach, location, practice size and client base. Diversity is evident not just across the categories but also within them. The National Architecture Awards celebrate excellence in architecture at all scales and across both generous and modest budgets. Outstanding works speak for themselves, as architecture at its best is both intelligent and visceral. For the projects that receive the highest level of recognition, more often than not the jury – made up of people with varying values and interests – unites immediately under the spell of…

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At a recent talk in Melbourne, New York-based, Australian-born artist and filmmaker Natasha Johns-Messenger responded to a question about her practice with the sally “you had to be there.” This concise answer to an inquiry about the affective and enduring qualities of her site-specific, phenomenological interventions and installations has a conceptual resonance in both art and architecture. Natasha was speaking at the occasional On Top of the World talk series presented by John Wardle Architects and Spacecraft Studio ahead of the opening of her solo exhibition Sitelines at Melbourne’s Heide Museum of Modern Art, curated by Linda Michael. Sitelines is insightfully reviewed by Suzie Attiwill in this issue of Architecture Australia (page 15). Suzie brings her assiduous engagement with interiors and interiority to the critique, describing how Natasha’s work enables us…

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lines of site

“In the end it is just a frame” – with these words Natasha Johns-Messenger summed up her work and practice. Working with what is already there, art and architecture are brought into a dynamic relation with each other as framing mechanisms in the production of images. While this sounds like a form of site-specific art practice, Johns-Messenger’s approach is not about making specific in the sense of making a relation that specifies something. Instead, in her exhibition Sitelines at Heide Museum of Modern Art, lines of site are activated to animate the gallery in ways that suspend the process of recognition. Perceptions are tricked, assumptions are confronted and you have to look without recourse to logic or memory to make sense of what is seen. As a “site artist,” Johns-Messenger spent six…

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concrete mastery in the city

In Sydney’s tight-knit inner suburb of Surry Hills, architecture practice Candalapas Associates has created a striking multiresidential building that pays due respect to its prominent location at the corner of Pelican and Poplar Streets. “The choice of concrete walls minimizes maintenance costs for the body corporate, which is essential for keeping owner strata fees low.” The building uses three different forms of concrete walling – precast, off-form and permanent formwork – to create a sheltered haven for residents in this bustling inner-city location, and it expresses an architectural form that speaks of class and quality. Project background The concrete facade of the Pelican Street Apartments lends style and flair to the building's character and this is apparent in the fine surface texture of the concrete finish. The facade was carefully detailed and constructed to…

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damp power: reflections on the pool in venice

Venice is spectacular. The thrill of arriving by train, spilling out onto the canal-front plaza and being swept into the channel by vaporetto is only enhanced by the pageant of gondola-rocked tourists. The city is a theme park of palaces, odd transportation, photo opportunities and souvenir sellers. And, as if its setting wasn’t enough, Venice is the host of annual blockbusters, from the film festival and Carnevale to the alternating art and architecture biennales – spectacles within the spectacular. The main events of the architecture biennale are housed in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini and the nearby Arsenale, at the eastern end of the island. Fringe exhibitions are scattered throughout the archipelago. In the year preceding each biennale, a creative director is appointed and a theme chosen to guide invited…

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digital practising in venice

The brief of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, Reporting from the Front, was in favour of a BC – “before computers” – survey of evolutionary building techniques. Curated by Alejandro Aravena, a declarative South American grand visionary, the first building blocks like bricks were endorsed as fundamental solutions to the “current crisis in architecture.” There was a strong reference to refugee conditions, Third World housing and crisis accommodation. A perceived backlash took place – spectacularly so with the Zaha Hadid exhibition, sadly coinciding with her sudden death. Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects clearly stated that the biennale stood for a wave of politically correct architecture, encapsulating a “lack of confidence, vitality and courage” in the profession at large. However, somewhere in between there were solutions…