Heading to Venice
– an Australian perspective

Micro City Macro City is the theme of the 2006 Australian pavillion up at the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale, soon to be held on 7 September. This is the third time for Australia to showcase its creative talent at such as a global scale. According to RAIA (Royal Australian Institute of Architects) National President Carey Lyon, as being the ” most important international forum for contemporary architecture. “

The Pavilion will feature eight case studies taken from Australia’s contemporary urban landscape. It will showcase specifically contemporary buildings of different scales, types and functions such as woolsheds, shipwreck lookouts, riverside apartments and rural art spaces will be documented.

The exhibition is expected to attract more than 25,000 world-leading architects, urban planners and city designers. The Architecture Biennale was launched in 1980 and attendence numbers may well run above 115,000 during the two month long exhibition, ending 19 November 2006.

Relevant Links
Royal Australian Institute of Architects
Venice Architecture Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia)



Sex Appeal
Believe us or believe us not, but when it comes to attracting the ladies, male architects have an advantage over doctors, stockbrokers and even firefighters. Based on a survey conducted
by a UK introduction agency, Drawing Down The Moon, architects were picked as the sexiest male professionals. According to the women surveyed, the oomph factor comes from the esteem associated with this venerable profession. The RIBA president David Rock noted that architects tend to be unaware of this animal magnetism, with self images that fail to match this public appreciation. However Alicia Pivaro – director of the RIBA Architectural Gallery and married to architect Paul Monaghan – sweetly begs to differ. Men on the other hand selected PR executives as the sexiest profession for females, followed by actresses and journalists.


Green as Grass
Le Corbusier would be delighted. It seems that his favourite building material is now available in a form that can truly give rise to the term Concrete Jungle. Organic Concrete is a newly developed material by Portuguese architectural firm. Due to its moisture retaining properties the concrete has a permeable surface, allowing for the growth of grass. The possibilities are mind boggling. This revolutionary invention was first presented at the ExperimentaDesign 2005 Lisbon Design Biennale.

Pioneering Spirit
Photography: Jeff Wells
2006 will see the completion of architect Daniel Libeskind’s extension to the existing Denver Art Museum, originally designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti. The new building is a joint venture between Libeskind and Denver’s Davis Partnership. Inspired by the topography of Colorado, the structure is what Libeskind calls “the dialogue between the boldness of construction and the romanticism of the landscape,’ and will function as a nexus that ties the museum to the downtown urban makeup.

Constructed using local stone and boldly experimenting with innovative materials like titanium, the extension will serve as the main entrance to the whole museum complex and will house the modern and contemporary art collection, architecture and design, as well as oceanic art. The architect further elucidates the building process: “One of the challenges of building the museum is to work closely with and respond to the extraordinary range of transformations in light, colouration, atmospheric effects, temperature and weather conditions unique to this city.”

Civic Desires
Australia’s second oldest city Hobart is calling for design entries to the Hobart Waterfront International Design Competition.

This competition aims to create a new civic focus for the least active side of Sullivans Cove, one of Hobart’s historical site which houses a “unique collection of heritage buildings.”

Earlier this week, Premier of Tasmania Paul Lennon launched the Hobart Waterfront International Design Competition, seeking visionary ideas for the area between Theatre Royal and Sullivans Cove.

Members of the jury panel include Spain’s Carme Pinos, Wiel Arets of the Netherlands, Prof. Geoffrey London of Perth, Melbourne-based landscape architect Dr Catherin Bull, Daryl Le Grew of Hobart, Australia

Entries for the competition closes 1 December 2006

Dizzying Heights of Success
Melbourne’s architect firm Wood Marsh Architecture have snagged up the highest honour that can be bestowed on a Victorian architect or architectural practice at the annual Victorian Architecture Awards for the design of Yve Apartments.

‘Innovative use of materials and building techniques’ judges said these were the qualities that made the edifice stand out from the rest. Yve won 11 awards like six other projects that are also located in Melbourne CBD.

It was double the success when Yve also scooped the major residential architecture award, the Harold Desbrowe-Annear Award.

Yve with its distinctive organic-shape and shimmering metal-finned façade was completed last year and has since then become a prominent landmark structure on the city’s primary boulevard – St Kilda Road.

Another Melburnian firm Ashton Raggatt McDougall Architecture won the Melbourne Prize and a Commercial Architecture Award for the Melbourne Central’s face lift. Judges commented that the insertion of laneways reminiscent of the surrounding street pattern as extremely well handed.

Lonsdale Street’s Urban Workshop, designed by joint venture of John Wardle Architects, Hassell and NHArchitecture shared the Melbourne Prize. They also picked up three other major awards – the Sir Osborn McCutcheon Award for Commercial Architecture, the Marion Mahony Award for Interior Architecture and an Urban Design Award.

Other worthy mentionable projects are the Melbourne Grammar School’s memorial Hall upgrade Collins Street’s HUSK clothing store and the White Noise – a compilation of the moving image artwork at the ACMI’s Screen Gallery at the Federation Square.

Strictly for Kids
Author and design commentator Melissa Jones’s new publication Interiors for under 5s presents a worldwide range of interiors designed specifically for children. It covers large-scale level public projects such as crèches, restaurants and schools to little intimate designs for bedrooms and play spaces. The book comes as package of eye-catching photography and clean cut drawings, along with detailed project descriptions.

The contents are divided into 4 categories: Learning, Art and Science, Play, Water and Sleep. London’s Tulse Hill Jubliee School and Barcelona’s Swiss School Kindergarten are featured under the Learning category. Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Roald Dahl Gallery and Museum in Buckinghamshire are all part of the Art and Science section. Under the Sleep category, come the Family House in Toronto, Canada and London’s Evelina Children’s Hospital. Interestingly, the Water section features Hull’s The Deep and the Shirokane Preschool in Tokyo, one of the 2 Asian projects presented in the book. The other is the Gruzdien Residence in Hong Kong, which is examined as a Play project. Other spaces that induce playfulness according to Jones, are the Twenty-first Century Treehouse and the Blue Kangaroo Restaurant, both of which are based in London.

It also provides with useful listings containing full contact information of the featured projects. Interiors for Under 5s does stimulate designer parents or at least the design-conscious ones to watch out for inspirational spaces for children to learn, play, sleep and basically have a memorable childhood.

Stacking Beauty
The recently completed Swiss bag brand Freitag’s flagship store is the smallest multistory building in Zurich. Designed by local firm Spillmann Echsle architects, it is build to last for five to ten years.

The edifice sits as a pile of cargo containers that are the main building blocks for the building. For more specifics, 17 cargo containers are stacked up, 25m high tower. The brand is displayed in bold on the topmost block, oblivious to the other cargo brands, makes up for value-for-money advertising. No pretentious treatment whatsoever is given to the exterior. The building is accessed by a flanking flight of metallic stairs.

The interior is given a cold industrial look, yet is able to acommodate commercial and storage spaces very elegantly. Neatly stacked up orthogonal cabinets offer the world’s largest selection of individual recycled freewaybags.

The firm’s design to go with using cargo-containers has reflected the Freitag’s design strategies which involve recycling of vehicle parts such as used truck’s hood, bicycle tubes and recycled car seat belts.

Looking Forward
Fabric of the Future, sponsored by Nanotechnology Victoria is part of the Melbourne Design Festival and will run from 12 to 14 July at RMIT University, Brunswick Campus.

The exhibition features conceptual designs by final year students, expressing a convergence of nanotechnology and textile design. The designs will cover a large number of possible future applications ranging from military to fashion to lifestyle and entertainment, as well as health and wellbeing.

Down Under Out Right Creative
The 2006 Melbourne Design Festival has kicked off in Melbourne, Australia on 6th July. This ten-day festival is organised by Melbourne-based National Design Centre, bringing along a range of events related to multi-disciplinary design fields such as architecture, landscape, interior, graphic, industrial, textile, fashion design and multimedia. The specific architecture highlights of the festival include:

5oth Anniversary of a Design Icon – is a international touring exhibition and events related to design duo – Charles and Ray Eames. The exhibition was launched by Eameses grandson Eerman Demetrios at Melbourne’s iconic Federation Square. The centrepiece is the Eames Lounge which is considered one of the Carla Hartman will conducting a series of educational workshops Chair Camp.

Under Capricorn – The New Design Show – Claiming to be the ” design show with a difference”, Under Capricorn is a trade event featuring recently released products, technologies and services. Commissioned work from newly emerging designers such as Pseudo Republik, Simon MacEwan and Poppies for Grace will be part of the show.

Hot House – Design studios such as Moth Design, Syndicate Design, Pseudo Republic and others participated in this architectural installation. The concept is to observe design’s effect on the environment. The installation also includes a series of thought-provoking products, incorporating ideas of sustainability, solar energy, energy harnessing methods and use our most prolific energy source – the sun to the optimum degree.

expresso expressway – Presented by architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall, who were out to present the non-architecture component of their designs. This Melburnian team are known for their landmark structures such as the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, the Melbourne Museum and the Bolte Bridge. This exhibition features cups, coffee pots (famously for the Italian brand Alessi), furniture and other objects. Designs were presented through original ‘never-ever-seen-in-public’ hand-drawn sketches, computer visualisations, animations, photographs, models and actual objects. John Denton, Victoria’s government architect, will also present a lecture about the processes behind the work on exhibition during the Melbourne Design Festival Speaker Series.

Additionally, feature films such as My Architect (2003) by Nathaniel Kahn and Pollock (2000)will be also part of the design festival.