Aussie Architecture Awards 2008
The now-familiar Beijing National Aquatics Center in China, also known as the Water Cube, was designed for the 2008 Summer Olympics by Australian architects PTW Architects with Arup and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation.
As described previously in ArchitectureWeek, the boxy building is structured as if carved from a cluster of water-based foam bubbles. The Australian Institute of Architects awards jury called it "an engaging and ethereal building" that "captures light in an extraordinary and memorable way."
The Klein bottle is a tantalizing geometric concept: a surface without distinct inner and outer sides. This topological puzzle provided architects McBride Charles Ryan with the inspiration for a vacation house on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne. The Klein bottle's compelling and unusual form aptly fit the constraints of the site, located on heavily treed sand dunes.
The building is a lightweight structure largely steel-framed and clad in cement and metal sheeting, arrayed in facets evocative of origami. A balcony and a central courtyard connect the house to its surroundings. Sustainable features include rainwater collection, double glazing, extensive insulation, bamboo flooring, and efficient artificial lighting. The courtyard aids in cooling and cross-ventilation.
"The spiral form of the house makes the most of what is potentially a difficult sloping site by slowly twisting out of the dark tea-tree at ground level and reaching up to the light-filled views," described the jury. "The carefully sculpted, angled space of the living area is both a revelation and a delight after the narrow, twisting stair that leads from the main entry."
NHArchitecture created dog kennels for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) that both improve living conditions for their canine tenants and excel in sustainable design. Part of a phased redevelopment of the Burwood East facility near Melbourne, the kennel building houses new dogs while in quarantine.
It consists of five two-story wings oriented east-west, each with 40 kennels. The configuration provides each dog access to daylight and outdoor views and minimizes visual and olfactory connections with other dogs, reducing the dogs' stress and resultant barking. Black-and-white corrugated iron cladding and playfully landscaped courtyards provide visual stimulation for the dogs.
The design ensures passive solar gain and adequate shading. Underfloor heating and a passive cooling system, including thermal chimneys, "shower" (cooling) towers, wind scoops, and Venturi caps, provide efficient heating, cooling, and ventilation, with a high rate of air exchange.
The jury lauded the "robustly detailed complex" for the strong expression of its articulated circulation systems and ventilation shafts, as well as for the architects' use of simple technologies to sustainably improve the care of animals.
Stanisic Associates designed the EDO apartment building in Woolloomooloo, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, to embody three concepts: environment, diversity, and operability.
"Operability" refers to the sliding doors and external blinds that tenants can operate. The retractable aluminum blinds provide key afternoon shade on the building's western face, as well as creating an ever-changing facade. Three-meter- (ten-foot-) wide balconies extend the living areas into the outdoors.
The eastern side of the building faces a rear garden courtyard and two-story gallery of open louvers that draws in cool air. The lower ambient temperature of the gallery induces cross-ventilation through the apartments. On the ground level, a restaurant opens onto a terrace.
The 31 apartments range from one to three bedrooms, some single-story and some on two levels, and in gallery and cross-over arrangements. Like Japanese shoji screens, the bedroom walls can slide open, allowing for fluid, adaptable space.
The jury commended the architects for expressing the program "in a thoughtfully detailed and restrained architectural language that neatly envelops the more complex programmatic content and the inherent constraints of the site."
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