News of the week

This week’s blog post is a combination of news and views from the field of architecture in Victoria. To channel a famous Melbourne footy show presenter, What a big week it has been… in Architecture! The Flinders Street design competition has begun, the 2012 Victorian Architecture awards have been announced and major industrial action is rumbling again on Victorian building sites.


Flinders Street Station Design Competition starts in earnest

Whilst there seems to have been a few false starts to this competition, it is now officially on in earnest.  Major Projects Victoria released the competition brief and entry materials last Friday. The Jury who will decide the winner/s has also been announced with a somewhat surprising inclusion. George Calombaris of Master Chef fame has be listed as the ‘notable Australian’ on the panel. This reinforces my message that architecture is for everyone.  People outside the industry should feel free to comment, engage and participate in their built environment just as much as architects. This is not to say that everyone should be an architect, but that everyone should consider their built environment from their own viewpoint and then engage in healthy debate.

So in this spirit, please feel free to fire in comments about what you would like to see in a revitalised Flinders Street Station.


The 2012 Victorian Architecture Awards winners announced.

On Friday, the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) held its night of nights, the annual Architecture Awards. The high profile winners included Billard Lease Partnership and Bates Smart for their work on the new Royal Children’s Hospital as well as Lyons for their work on The Melbourne Brain Centre. A full list of winners and images can be found at link below

After the winners had been announced I took the opportunity to visit the gallery of entrants to see where the current ideas are taking architecture. I was delighted to also be joined by an avid reader of this blog, who provided interesting perspectives and discussion. I think visiting the exhibition in a small group is perhaps the way to get most out of the exhibition as it facilitates debate and provides insight into the perspective of others.

To continue this discussion in the online format I will put forward some of my favourites. (in no particular order)

The Boat Builders Yard by Six Degrees Architects

I have visited this outdoor pavilion earlier this year and was very pleasantly surprised. If ever you would like a quality venue to have a quiet beverage with a spectacular Yarra backdrop, this is the place.  The architecture is robust but refined and well worth a visit.

Hill House by Andrew Maynard Architects

I include this project amongst my favourites because it is a fantastic example of a house which is dramatically different. When it comes to Architecture and housing in particular, people shouldn’t be afraid to have something different from their neighbours. Different should be celebrated and sort after. One of the problems with our suburbs is the sameness that exists in some pockets of Melbourne. This can create a disorientating and dehumanising experience.

Hi Pod by BKK and Peter Elliott Architecture

The Hi Pod is a small external addition to a third storey apartment within a 1960s era public housing tower. As the name suggests it is a small pod like structure, which sits cantilevered out from the existing structure.  It is one of my highlights as it literally thinks outside the box.

The Milk Carton by Simon & Freda Thornton

This is one of the most unusual houses you will ever see.  I have included it in my highlights to demonstrate that architecture can be fun and that sometimes we take ourselves too seriously.

Melbourne University Boat Shed by Lovell Chen Architects and Heritage consultants

This alteration and addition has achieved a very tricky balance of contemporary architecture within conservative heritage context. Within Melbourne, Lovell Chen has an excellent reputation for working with architectural heritage. An indication of this reputation is that, Peter Lovell, one of directors, has been nominated as the heritage expert on the Flinders Street Design Competition.

What are your favourite 2012 Awards entrants? Comment below


Victorian building sites to close in protest.

On Wednesday we should expect to see disruptions to inner city transport as a result of CFMEU protests. The CFMEU are holding the protest in response to the Victorian State Government’s new code of conduct for contractors tendering on State construction projects. This new code of conduct has been put in place after the Federal Government removed the industry watchdog specifically recommended by the Cole Royal Commission.

Whilst there is nothing written about the strike on the CFMEU website, it does specifically provide a link to The Age article discussing the strike action.

“The code will force building companies bidding for government construction contracts to crack down on the display of union logos, mottos and insignia on building sites.
Any ‘no ticket, no start’ signs on sites – or any indicators that imply union membership is compulsory – will also be stopped by companies bidding for government work.”

So there we have it direct from the CFMEU. They think we should not be free to choose our associations. Perhaps if the CFMEU respected freedom of association and were more relevant in contemporary society they wouldn’t have to resort to forcing membership in exchange for work.
Alas Victoria once again looses productivity and reputation due to militant unionism.


Melbourne Open House 2012.

On a final note I would also like to highlight the Melbourne Open House event on the 28th and 29th of July. This is a fantastic opportunity to see behind the scenes at some of Melbourne’s most fascinating buildings.

I will be blogging further about this in the coming weeks but in the meantime the website is below

Architecture is for everyone

About Michael Smith

Architect and Director of Atelier Red + Black based in Melbourne, Australia
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1 Response to News of the week

  1. Noelle and vaughan says:

    In the flinders street redesign we would like ample facilities so that you don’t have to queue, especially the ladies. Can we have shops that sell REAL Australian memorobila.
    You run a great site.

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