1. Australia Architecture Awards winners:
The Australian Institute of Architects has announced the winners of the 2015 Victorian Architecture Awards, NSW Architecture Awards, Tasmania Architecture Awards, Queensland Architecture Awards, South Australia Architecture Awards, ACT Architecture Awards and Northern Territory Architecture Awards.
Figure 1: Shrine of Remembrance; Figure 2: The Lady Cilento Children Hospital
Figure 3: Fiona Stanley Hospital Main Building; Figure 4: Adelaide Oval Redevelopment
In Victoria, ARM is deservedly the biggest winner, sealing the night with 5 awards for their extension at the Shrine of Remembrance and their book Mongrel Rapture: The Architecture of Ashton Raggatt McDougall. Big winners at the QLD Architecture Awards are Conrad Gardett Lyons (The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital) and HASSELL (Queensland University Global Change Institute). HASSELL is also part of the “super team” alongside Hames Sharley and Silver Thomas Hanley who took 4 awards at 2015 Western Australia Architecture Awards for their Fiona Stanley Hospital Main Building. Collaborations also help Cox Architecture, Walter Brooke and Hames Sharley win many prizes for the Adelaide Oval Redevelopment project.
Figure 5: Alice Spring CBD Revitalisation Project; Figure 6: NewActon Precinct
Figure 7: #thebarnTAS; Figure 8: Art & Craft
Big urban design projects topped at NT and ACT Architecture Awards with Sunsan Dugdale and Associates winning for their Alice Springs CBD Revitalisation project and Fender Katsalidis Architects claiming multiple prizes with their NewAction Precinct in Canberra. Tasmania celebrates a year of adaptive reuse, including #thebarnTAS by workbylizandalex and Art & Craft by 1+2 Architecture. NSW Architecture Awards see a lot of big firms getting home awards, namely BVN with its medical research facility the Westmead Millennium Institute, FJMT with St Barnabas Church and 50 Martin Place by JPW. See who wins what via links.
Figure 9 (left): Millennium Institute; Figure 10 (center): St Barnabas Church; Figure 11 (right): 50 Martin Place
2. Bricks – Uncube Magazine
Figure 11: Uncube no.35 issue on bricks, mainly focusing on projects in Europe
If I have one favorite material, it would have to be brick. The material has been used to build some of the oldest and best architecture buildings in history. It has compression strength yet its modularity provides great opportunity for architecture expressions and details. Many publications and researches have been about the use of the material, traditionally and contemporarily; the two most recent ones are the book Brick by William Hall & the online magazine edition Bricks by the German magazine Uncube.
3. Contemporary China architectures
Blaine Brownell, a regular contributor to Architect magazine, recently wrote about his 3-week research and teaching program China Lab 2015 with students from the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture, with images that sparkle debate regarding the material execution and construction standard of building in China. The most shocking one to me is the up-close shot of Zaha Hadid Architects’ 2010 Guangzhou Opera House. The RIBA 2011 international awards’s best cultural building is shown under terrible conditions shortly after its commencement. Other projects with disappointing execution include the Himalayas Center by Japanese Arata Isozaki, Shanghai Natural History Museum by Perkins + Will,…
Figure 12 & 13: Guangzhou Opera House, Zaha Hadid – then and now
The problem ironically partly lie within the incredible growth rate in China construction sector, so much that current workforce could not catch up to the level of knowledge and skill required to build such innovative design. Brownell’s 2nd part of the report (a sort of self-rebuttal) on the other hand praises other Chinese architects and design firms whose material strategies are sensible and contextual. Wang shu, director of Amateur Architecture Studio and 2014 Pritzker Prize winner, is heavily referenced as an exemplar in reinterpreting traditional building methods creatively. Not only does architects like Wang understand material applications and skill of constructions, they also help Chinese architectural identity progress.
Figure 14 & 15: Ningbo Historic Museum’s bamboo-formed concrete wall (left) and wapan tiling masonry construction (right)
Figure 16 & 17: Broken Shadow (left) with precast concrete facade inspired by traditional window pattern (right)
Figure 18 & 19: Building 15 of Xiangshan campus of the China Academy of Art referencing traditional masonry construction with an example from a residence in Zhejiang, Hangshou
4. Emerging Voices
Figure 20: Thirty Years of Emerging Voices: Idea, Form, Resonance
The Emerging Voices, one of many initiatives by The Architecture League NY, celebrates its 30-year-run with a new book titled Thirty Years of Emerging Voices: Idea, Form, Resonance. The program has supported many talents who become prominent figures in the architecture discourse. Metropolis Magazine has conducted an interview with the League’s executive director, Rosalie Genevro & program director, Anne Rieselbach regarding the program ongoing mission; as well as gathering reflections from several Emerging Voices alumnus on what the award meant to them and their careers, including Steven Holl, Toshiko Mori, Tom Kundig, Dan Wood of WORKac, etc. You can also check out this year winners here. Hopefully I can do a bit of review soon on the book.
5. Built after body
Figure 21: Beyonce-inspired Premium Tower, Elenberg Fraser
A Beyonce-inspired tower project in Melbourne has turned many heads, raised many eyebrows and disturbed many rolling eyes. Elenberg Fraser, the architect of the dubbed “Premier Tower” claimed that the singer’s body in Ghost music video help “shaped” the curvaceous building. Some of the statements includes:
“This project is the culmination of our significant research”,
“The complex form – a vertical cantilever – is actually the most effective way to redistribute the building’s mass, giving the best results in terms of structural dispersion, frequency oscillation and wind requirements.”
Figure 22 & 23: MAD’s Absolute Tower (left); Dancing House in Prague (right) by Frank Gehry
While the building is not aesthetically disastrous (how can anything Beyonce-related be), the backlash from online media is overwhelming. Oliver Wainwright from Guardian has extended in his article to including more “body-inspired” buildings, namely MAD’s Absolute Towers claiming Marilyn Monroe’s body as an inspiration, or Frank Gehry’s Fred and Ginger building (or better known as Dancing House) in Prague whose shape influenced by a dance between Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
Other traces include Paris first skyscraper in 40 years by Herzog & de Meuron, a sculpture made out of 70000 bottle caps; potential read list of designer this summer, productivity tips from world’s top designers, more design-related podcasts (check my own list here), two articles – one promotes work-life balance while the other shows ways to effectively work both day and night, car tyre that generates power (a bicycle version could be perfect match for the solar path in Holland), a project by Chen Chao, A Royal College of Art’s student, exploring material that shape-shifts in response to rain, a crowdfunding project in Seattle, Washington for a tsunami survival pot, and a golf-course-turn-energy-plant in Japan.
Project of the Week
Planchonella House – Jesse Bennett
This house which won 2015 Queensland Architecture Award – New House Catergory is, in many way, a dream house. The clients are architect/builder Jess Bennett and his wife, interior designer Anne-Marie Campagnolo; whose design office offers everything from architecture services to handmade furniture. This house is a coming-together of all their trades & skills where the pair camped on site during the construction of the building, seeing every of its details to their satisfaction. It is a very personal and labor-intense approach to building a house and the end result clearly reflect their mentality and dedication. The building adopts precast-concrete slab constructions with full height glazed, maximising connection to the beautiful surrounding landscape. The interior material complement the robust concrete and glass exterior with timber adding warmth and personality. It is truly a project of love.