Page N2.2 . 13 January 2010                     
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    Aussie Architecture Awards 2009


    Sustainable Office for a Water Utility

    VS1 is the sustainable new headquarters for SA Water in Adelaide, South Australia. The office design by Hassell has received a 6 Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), and the integrated base building and fit-out are also designed to achieve a 6 Star Green Star As-Built rating, an assessment of the completed structure.

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    Located on Victoria Square, the midrise structure features a zigzagging colonnade leading from a new landscaped plaza to the building entry. The 35,400-square-meter (381,000-square-foot) building contains offices organized around a ten-story atrium, along with a cafe and an educational center that overlooks water-testing laboratories.

    The amply daylit building features a variety of shading devices to limit solar gain and glare: fritted glass on the western facade, spandrel panels and vertical fins, and manual and automatic blinds. Other sustainable features include high-efficiency water-cooled chillers, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, the use of rainwater and recycled water for toilets, and excellent transit links and extensive bicycle storage and changing facilities to encourage non-car commuting. The laboratory program lead to development of a sustainable rating tool based on LEED Labs 21 and GBCA Office Interior.

    Beachside House near Sydney

    Chenchow Little Architects designed the Freshwater House for a family of four in Harbord, a coastal suburb of Sydney. On a compact, 332-square-meter (3,570-square-foot) beachside site, the architects created a flexible home divided into three levels: a podium base, a living space and yard, and a bedroom volume.

    The basement level is wrapped in a recycled-wood screen, its vertical rhythm echoed subtly by the dark slatted metal bi-fold shutters screening the glazed bedroom level above. Between the basement and bedrooms, the living level forms a fluid space, with rooms defined by movable walls and service cores. Sliding doors open to a lawn atop the garage with an integrated swimming pool. The careful use of corner glazing ensures diagonal views to the beach below while minimizing the visual impact of neighbors.

    The house includes such sustainable features as a northern orientation, shaded openings, cross-ventilation, rainwater harvesting, and a compact form, along with its adaptable design. "The house is now two years old, and due to careful consideration of materials and detailing is standing up well to the marine environment," reported the jury.

    National Portrait Gallery

    The National Portrait Gallery in Canberra consists of five pavilions housing daylit galleries. Located near the High Court of Australia and the National Gallery, within the parkland of the Parliamentary Triangle, the building's linear form runs perpendicular to the "land axis" defined by Walter Burley Griffin.

    Designed by Johnson Pilton Walker, the project includes a range of public and private external spaces. Huge cantilevered concrete fins define an eastern forecourt, providing a transition between the monumentally scaled surroundings and the intimacy of the galleries.

    The awards jury commended the building for its "well resolved sequence of carefully modulated spaces [that] provide a calm backdrop for the display of art."

    Noting how popular the gallery has become, the jury lamented the modest, 16,400-square-meter (176,500-square-foot) size of the structure: "The building, while a triumph in cultural terms and popular appreciation, is clearly too small for its public role and purpose — a reflection of contemporary governments' aspirations and budgets... Nonetheless, the building is an important and worthwhile addition to the national capital."

    Melbourne's Tensile Landmark

    The Australian Institute of Architects honored the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne with a "25 Year Award for Enduring Architecture." The jury praised the 1959 outdoor music venue as "one of the great tent-like suspension structures of the world" and "a much-loved icon, and part of the social fabric of Melbourne and the nation."

    Two large masts support a canopy consisting of aluminum-clad plywood panels on a grid of tensioned cables. Designed by architects Yuncken, Freeman Brothers, Griffiths and Simpson with structural engineers W.L. Irwin and Associates, with design led by architect Barry Patten, the structure predates the built tensile-roof structures by German designer Frei Otto.

    "The Myer Music Bowl continues to amaze and intrigue as a major sculptural form beautifully integrated with its site and the surrounding landscape," lauded the jury. "It remains an architectural engineering triumph perhaps without equal in Australia."

    Musical Interiors

    For the Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC) and Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), architecture firm ARM sought to create contemporary performing arts spaces equivalent in acoustic performance to the great auditoria of the 19th century.

    In the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall at the MRC, audience members are surrounded by wood. The walls and ceiling are covered in layered plywood paneling that evokes a topographic contour map, or perhaps a large-scale depiction of wood grain itself. The space also features hardwood floors, wood chandeliers, an adjustable ceiling, and stepped seating.

    The jury reports that this grand hall, particularly well suited for chamber music, is "beloved by performers for the clear rendering of music," delivering a "sparkling acoustic quality." A smaller MRC space, the Salon, was also designed for musical clarity.

    Within the same 15,700-square-meter (169,000-square-foot) complex, the MTC Theatre features basic but bold interior finishes: paint, plasterboard, and plywood with graphics. The jury commended all three venues for "excellent functionality within distinctive and memorable interiors."

    Urban Infusion

    The commercial development ivy — described by the awards jury as "part Roman baths, part smart restaurants, part urbane gathering place" — encompasses two adjoining sites in midtown Sydney. Architect Woods Bagot designed the 20,000-square-meter (215,000-square-foot) project in collaboration with interior designer Hecker Phelan & Guthrie. The six-story, two-building complex combines 18 bars and nine restaurants, a ballroom, two penthouse suites, a rooftop pool, and new headquarters space for the client, the Merivale Group.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The steel-clad Snowy Mountains House, which received an award for steel architecture, is expected to require little or no maintenance.
    Photo: Patrick Bingham Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The VS1, the Adelaide headquarters of SA Water, received an award for sustainable design.
    Photo: Trevor Mein Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Hassell's design for VS1 earned a six-star Green Star design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.
    Photo: Trevor Mein Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Awarded for residential design, the Freshwater House in Harbord, north of Sydney, was designed by Chenchow Little Architects.
    Photo: John Gollings Extra Large Image

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    With living spaces on the second and third of three stories, the Freshwater House optimizes views from its small site overlooking a beach.
    Photo: John Gollings Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Johnson Pilton Walker designed the 16,400-square-meter (176,500-square-foot) National Portrait Gallery, located in Canberra, Australia.
    Photo: Brett Boardman Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The National Portrait Gallery is composed of a series of long parallel gallery spaces separated by narrow corridors comprising circulation and seating areas.
    Photo: Brett Boardman Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    With its simple material palette and distinctive metal roof form, the National Portrait Gallery received an award for public architecture.
    Photo: Brett Boardman Extra Large Image


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