Pholiota for sale

31 October, 2007

The Griffin’s own house in Eaglemont is for sale (from $770k).

According to the blurb, the 1922 house has an ‘Art Deco’ addition. I think someone might want to send the copywriter a book on historical styles because somehow I don’t think angled blonde timber panels are a  particularly deco  feature. It isn’t a great extension in my opinion, don’t think it pays enough attention to the Burra Charter, specifically “22.2 New work should be readily identifiable as such”, which really is a very good recommendation.


environment for development

27 October, 2007

Failure to address these persistent problems, UNEP says, may undo all the achievements so far on the simpler issues, and may threaten humanity’s survival …humanity’s footprint [its environmental demand] is 21.9 hectares per person while the Earth’s biological capacity is, on average, only 15.7 ha/person…

from a new report from the UN Environment Programme, Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4), published 20 years after the Brundtland Commission’s seminal report Our Common Future.

hopefully this will inspire some action, rather than panic and/or further denial.

2007 national awards

26 October, 2007

the winners of the 2007 RAIA national architecture awards have been announced, Victorian winners are (there are too many to lists them all, hence the parochialism):

  • John Curtin School of Medical Research – Stage 1 Redevelopment (ANU, Canberra, ACT): Lyons
  • Cape Schanck House (Mornington Peninsular, VIC): Paul Morgan Architects
  • Yve Apartments (St.Kilda, Melbourne, VIC): Wood Marsh Architecture
  • Southern Cross Station (Spencer Street, Melbourne, VIC): Grimshaw Jackson JV
  • Manchester Civil Justice Centre (Manchester, England): Denton Corker Marshall
  • SOHO Shangdu (Beijing, China): LAB architecture studio
  • Eureka Tower (Melbourne, VIC): Fender Katsalidis (Aust) Pty Ltd
  • 1010 LaTrobe Street (Docklands, Melbourne, VIC): ARM
  • Great Smith Aussie Home (Blackrock, Melbourne, VIC): Cassandra Complex
  • Council House 2 (CH2) (Melbourne CBD, VIC): City of Melbourne + DesignInc Melbourne
  • Stage One ACE, Kangan Batman TAFE (Docklands, Melbourne, VIC): Lyons
  • Park Street House (Fitzroy North, Melbourne, VIC): Robert Simeoni Pty Ltd Architects

a few surprises there. something i find really interesting was in The Age article about the awards: “The cautionary tale of 2007, the jury said, was that the economic boom created a strong market for ideas, and yet perversely also meant quality sometimes suffered in the drive for higher profits.”

this is something i’ve heard from a few people. basically it seems that thanks to a fat, fast economy, there is a push to get things finished really quickly so that the developers can move onto the next project. which is fair enough, but when the buildings aren’t finished properly it’s pretty stupid. it seems that this also stems from the fact that architects are no longer in control of the project, that’s left to project managers at the developer’s end.

i can’t help but wonder if it will come back to bite them on the backside when poorly finished buildings start to show wear very badly, very soon.

but enough of that, congrats to the winners.

5 star treatment for everyone

26 October, 2007

it was announced today by the Building Commission that from May next year, all domestic renovation and extension work will include bringing the house up to a 5 star energy efficiency rating, press release here.

this is really a much more important step than introducing 5 star for new homes, simply because the vast majority of homes in Victoria are not new, but we do love to renovate. though it will still be pretty hard to make the argument for energy efficiency on the basis that it will save you money when greenhouse gas emissions are free and thus coal fired electricity remains so amazingly cheap.

an exercise in mapping

25 October, 2007

The National Public Toilet Map

They even have a newsletter!

richmond + cardiff = ???

25 October, 2007

zaha hadid’s fantastic cardiff bay opera house never did get built, the city of cardiff in their wisdom chose something that looks like a beetle instead, but it appears that rothe lowman are trying to revive the ill-fated project. in richmond.

zaha, cardiff:

zaha in cardiff

rothe lowman, richmond:

rothe lowman richmond

there also appears to be a touch of the laban centre about the gills…

aus mod houses

23 October, 2007

there’s a new book coming out next month 50/60/70: Iconic Australian Houses which looks pretty damn good, great photos and plans.

possibly the best thing about it though is that it isn’t seemingly aimed at the standard audience, i.e., it isn’t preaching to the choir (us). it is written by the editor of one of those cushion chucker style interior/design magazines, which contain most of the architectural knowledge that the australian general public will ever be exposed to. which i think says more about architects than the general public really.

also, it is published by murdoch books so it will get out to more than 3 bookshops.

as wonderful as books like Houses for the 21st Century are, they’re unlikely to reach a wide audience, which is something that i think 50/60/70 may well be able to do. and in doing so might be able to introduce a whole lot more people to the wonderfulness that was Modern domestic architecture in australia.