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Architecture Australia

Architecture Australia March 2019

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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3 minuti
advocating for the profession and the community

As we power on in what is expected to be a year of tremendous activity, it is timely to reflect on one of the Institute’s core purposes: to be the leading advocate for the profession. And our advocacy has, unquestionably, been on the ascendency. Issues that were primarily the concern of the profession are increasingly gaining traction with the general public, with architects and the Institute leading the charge. Yasmeen Lari, one of Pakistan’s most renowned architects, describes the many and varied things architects can and should fight for as “crusades.”1 From opposing the misuse of iconic pieces of public architecture such as the Sydney Opera House and preserving buildings of architectural significance such as Anzac Hall to promoting public safety through better construction regulation, we are campaigning side by side with…

2 minuti
from the competitive to the collegiate

This issue of Architecture Australia opens with an analysis of the contentious issue of architectural competitions. Open competitions are often praised for bringing forward new talent and brave views of the future, yet the bewildering variety of structures and conditions applied across a growing number of competition formats risks devaluing the real merits of a fair process. Michael Keniger, who has been an advocate of the use of architectural competitions over his long career, examines how best to protect high-quality design outcomes and promote innovation in the Australian architecture profession (page 17). The valid concerns about the competition process and the resultant influx of international architects gaining work in Australia inspired the line-up for the 2018 Architecture Symposium in Sydney, organized by Architecture Media and guest curated by Angelo Candalepas and…

7 minuti
books received

Beaumaris Modern Beaumaris in the 1950s was a veritable architects’ playground among Melbourne’s fledgling suburbs. The postwar period saw a flurry of development, which attracted architects and home builders alike. It is the suburb where a number of that era’s best-known Australian architects designed their earliest homes, some of them their own. Architect Eric Lyon recalled that “at one stage there were fifty architects living in Beaumaris.” Beaumaris Modern, by Fiona Austin, Simon Reeves and Alison Alexander, is a “fitting celebration of the postwar flowering of modern residential design in Beaumaris [with] houses that epitomise Good Life Modernism,” writes architectural historian Philip Goad in his foreword. The book features fourteen mid-century houses in the area that are largely in their original condition or that have been sympathetically restored and renovated. Among these are…

9 minuti
regaining a competitive edge

Throughout my career I have advocated the use of architectural competitions to select designs or design teams for notable public buildings and spaces. Open competitions in particular can bring forward a breadth of new talent, new ideas and adventurous views of the future and serve to advance the architecture profession, especially when shaping the public realm. There is a sense of bravura and an excitement about the melting pot of ideas that results from the challenge of a competition, particularly when we recall the body of knowledge drawn from significant competitions of the past – most notably that for the selection of the design for the Sydney Opera House. And yet today, our enthusiasm wanes. Competitions are no longer reserved for high-profile projects and have rather become the default process for…

7 minuti
peter elliott architecture + urban design

With a level of subtlety that is rare in the political domain, Victoria’s gracious nineteenth-century Parliament House, which sits on Spring Street watching benevolently over Melbourne, has recently gained an exquisite, and quite unseen, addition of 102 parliamentary offices designed by Peter Elliott Architecture and Urban Design. Built in stages between 1856 and 1893 to a design by Peter Kerr and John George Knight, Parliament House grew from the inside out in the sense that its remarkably beautiful interior spaces – the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Council, the Library, Queens Hall and the Vestibule – all preceded the completion of the exterior facade. Described by Philip Goad as “an unfinished masterpiece,” Parliament House was devoid of any offices for the Parliamentarians who spend many of their working and waking hours inside the…

6 minuti
woods bagot

The high part of Surry Hills in Sydney, despite being one of the mostly densely populated parts of Australia, is quite a green, thickly foliaged place. Established trees line the main streets, creating dappled shade and fresh air and protecting buildings and people from the city’s heat island effect. The whole suburb has a gritty urban coolness that sometimes provides the feeling that the style police must be stationed at a velvet rope somewhere on the boundary. Into this context Woods Bagot and its client have inserted a clever and entirely appropriate residential and retail building. It is a syncopated play of concrete forms overflowing with precociously vigorous plants that brings to mind the phrase “a concrete jungle.” Architects deal with constraints. The limitations of planning legislation, client brief and budget…