Page N1.3. 17 November 2010                     
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Australia Architecture Awards 2010

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Two Houses in Tasmania

Two residences in Tasmania were honored with awards. Although both projects involved renovations of existing buildings, the two dwellings otherwise represent a study in contrasts.

For the Trial Bay House in Kettering, Tasmania, overlooking the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, HBV Architects reorganized two existing pavilions and added a new living room, verandah, courtyard, and garage, bringing the total floor area to 475 square meters (5,110 square feet). The renovation kept the gable form, external wall lines, and timber ceiling of the existing structure, while changing all internal walls and internal and external openings.

The new "Channel Room" projects toward the channel, providing views while preserving the views from the original house and ensuring direct sunlight to both. In this addition, the architects sought to achieve a structure both extroverted and solid. Precast concrete panels with a natural concrete finish form the walls and roof.

"There is a sense of striking originality, yet extreme serenity in this exceptional understated house," praised the jury, giving the project the top award for houses. "It is not surprising that the immaculate and original details resulted from the architect carefully preparing reams of full size drawings."

In West Hobart, a suburb of the Tasmanian capital, Maria Gigney Architects converted a historic stone barn into the single-bedroom, 82-square-meter (880-square-foot) Strangio House. Although not heritage-listed, the existing Victorian barn building was presumed to predate the 1840s. The masonry elements, including the brick chimney, were preserved, and wood elements were retained where possible, especially the roof framing, which was visible internally, and an external timber pole, thought to be an early radio-transmitting device.

Additions include a glazed-roof front porch and an internal steel frame to support a new thin insulated roof.

Recognizing the residence in the category of small project architecture, the jury called it a "creative and sensitive conversion."

"The richness of past combines easily with modern fittings to form a compact two level home."

Steel Pavilion in Shanghai

The Australian Pavilion had a striking presence at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China: a sinuous form clad in bold, rust-colored Cor-Ten cladding, with glazed openings and tubular circulation ramps threading through its undulating plan, interrupting the continuous facade.

Designed by Wood/ Marsh Architecture, the pavilion received the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture. The jury lauded the structure as "a building that is about and from Australia," noting both the pavilion's resemblance to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and other, more-subtle references to the Australian outback.

Queensland Resort Rentals

In the coastal town of Zilzie, Queensland, architecture firm Donovan Hill designed a multiunit residential development for the Seaspray Resort and Spa. Located in a hot climate, the vacation apartments are designed to maximize cross-ventilation and minimize the use of air conditioning.

Stage 1 of the development consists of 17 terrace-style rental units, along with associated parking, storage, and landscaping. The construction was consolidated along one edge of the site, preserving most of the site as landscape. The units are arranged in a slightly curved line of single-depth blocks, with a central double-height room in each unit to facilitate natural ventilation. Unifying the 2,300-square-meter (25,000-square-foot) development is an overarching folding roofline.

"The Seaspray apartments are highly successful and popular," said the jury, "and offer a model for tight, economical and ecologically responsible housing development."

Sydney Harbor Park

The City of Sydney has transformed a former Water Police site into waterfront parkland. This two-hectare (five-acre) extension of Pyrmont Point Park, now renamed Pirrama Park, was master-planned and designed by Aspect Studios, Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects, and CAB Consulting. An important link in the harborfront path, the park also adds key open space in the inner-city Pyrmont suburb.

The design interprets the site's successive shorelines and maritime associations, and aims to heighten the experience of tidal water movement. Foreshore elements include outboard walks, maritime remnants, and platforms sunken and revealed by monthly and annual tidal cycles. A new sheltered bay has been cut into the previously reclaimed land.

New architectural elements, by Hill Thalis, include a steel stair hung from the sandstone cliff face, three shade pavilions, and a canopy and belvedere that help define a landscaped square. Environmentally sustainable design features include solar panels, a stormwater collection system, biofiltration basins, and native plantings.

"The coherence of this composition belies the complexities of the site," argued the jury, "and speaks of the sophisticated approach of the multidisciplinary design team."

The jury further noted the importance of the new parkland: "For a city enamoured with its harbour image Sydney has surprisingly few places where you can dangle your feet in the water."

Supreme Court of Tasmania

The Supreme Court of Tasmania Complex in Hobart was honored with the 25 Year Award for Enduring Architecture. Designed by the City's Department of Public Works/ Peter Partridge, the facility consists of two sandstone-clad pavilions on a recessed slate plinth.

Prior to its national recognition, the complex was honored by the Australian Institute of Architects in the 2010 Tasmanian Architecture Awards, given in June. That awards jury praised the project for its "quiet dignity and human scale," with an informal entry and connection to the adjacent park. The complex also features four unusual circular "courts in the round." The Tasmanian awards jury said, "The Supreme Court projects the primary qualities of a major public building; an august presence, stoic, serious, secure, solid and timeless, without the frequent bombastic display of power, subjugating the individual through scale."

The National Architecture Awards jury added, "This building is an exemplary, enduring piece of public architecture that makes a poised, urban contribution to the city of Hobart."

The Australian Institute of Architects presented its 2010 National Architecture Awards on October 28.

The jury for the Australian Institute of Architects 2010 National Architecture Awards was chaired by Melinda Dodson, Melinda Dodson Architects, immediate past president of the Australian Institute of Architects, and also included Elizabeth Watson-Brown, Elizabeth Watson-Brown Architects; Peter Stutchbury, Peter Stutchbury Architecture; Max Pritchard, Max Pritchard Architect; and, Cameron Bruhn, editorial director, Architecture Media. For the category of international architecture, the jury included all of the above except Peter Stutchbury.   >>>

 

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