Another bunch of boxes for the CBD

14 December, 2007

The Age today produced a particularly wonderful piece of journalism, singing the praises of none other than themselves!

The Age render

Yes, they’ve unveiled plans for their new building. They like them so much they’ve written about it twice. Bates Smart are the architects and Grocon will build the thing (according to their media release, they’ve already started).

It will be on the south west corner of Collins and Spencer, with a nice big lawn out the front and some colourful bits (in the render at least) and will be 5 Star, but basically it just looks like yet another collection of intersecting boxes in search of any meaning or contextual relevance.

Perhaps that is a bit harsh, I’ve only seen two renders after all. Unfortunately Bates Smart website doesn’t have any more info though.

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Dutch cheese

14 December, 2007

Apparently the Dutch want to build an entire island to relieve over-crowding on their already created land.

And they want to build it IN THE SHAPE OF A TULIP.

It seems all of their much lauded stylish and sleek designers were on holiday when this was announced and it was handed to a politician or a nine year old to design instead.


Eco, schmeco

7 December, 2007

The UK’s new scheme to build a bunch of ‘eco-towns’ is being criticised as being totally stupid. the basic criticism is that you can’t say something is ‘eco’ just because it has lots of insulation, and you especially can’t say it is eco if you have bulldozed a bunch of trees to get at the land to build it on and that land is miles from anywhere else. Der.

An economist pointed out a while ago that the best way for a small town to become ‘green’ was actually to move to London. Because of the density of London, the people that live there emit 40% less GHG than the national average, whilst the inhabitants of the town emit 25% more.

I tried to argue for the benefits of density with a committed Green a while ago, in the wake of protesting against some truly badly designed new development nearby, only to find out that density just didn’t fit with this person’s idea of green. Not enough mud bricks, vegie patches or hemp it seemed.


Process

30 November, 2007

The final Process for 2007 will be held this coming Monday night, at Loop as per usual.

It is taking the form of a debate of the topic “Architecture affects positive social change”, to be adjudicated by Michael Roper and argued by Nicola Garrod from Antarctica,¬† Peter Hogg from Peter Hogg Architects, Tim Stats from MGS, Karen Alcock from Neometro, Daniel Khong from VicUrban and Nigel Smith from Delfin Lend Lease. It doesn’t say who is affirmative and who opposing unfortunately. But I think that this Nigel Smith guy from Delfin Lend Lease deserves credit for bravery.

Monday the 3rd of December, Loop, Meyers Place, 6:30pm


The ambience of Camberwell

30 November, 2007

It appears that the Camberwell Station redevelopment is back! And the NIMBY’s aren’t happy.

camberwell

Apparently even Randall Marsh‘s mum wasn’t too happy with her son’s take on the site. And you can be sure that everyone’s favourite conservative liberal art types, Geoffrey Rush and Barry Humphries, will be up in arms loudly holding forth with their very own version of Pauline’s “I don’t like it”. The resident’s action group spokesperson is priceless though “This is worse than we expected, apart from a small strip of land near the station, the entire site will be covered in buildings and the ambience of Camberwell will be destroyed forever.”

Yes dear, what will happen when those dreadful people move in to live in the apartments? They might even be something other than white anglo-saxon protestants, heaven forbid! Because really, all of these new houses that Melbourne needs, can’t they just build them somewhere else? Those new housing estates are frightfully ugly, but at least one doesn’t have to look at them. Yes, send those people out there, somewhere else away from me and my time warp.

There is also the small issue of “the ambience of Camberwell”, does this woman see nothing odd about talking about the ambience of some train tracks?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any more images on the Wood Marsh site and I can’t even find a site for the developer, Tenterfield.


Carfeul with the flashing kids…

28 November, 2007

So I’m sure we’ve all heard about the whole MIT-sues-Gehry-because-their-building-is-leaking shamozzle, but apparently it is a bit of a beat up.

mit

According to none other than Bill Mitchell however: “It was all about insurance, of course, an uninteresting wrangle over how to pay to fix some routine construction problems that inevitably arose in a large, ambitious and complex building.”

Importantly he points out that MIT are happy with the design, because several crusty old and not-so-old curmudgeons have been opportunistically using this incident to get stuck into Gehry’s design and have a big old “I don’t like it” whinge.

There is of course always the possibility that the efflorescence and cracking are the fault of the engineer or contractor. I remember reading that Steven Holl used the construction of the Pratt Institute as a teaching exercise for the archi students there, notably making a point of getting local and Canadian contractors to provide concrete and showing all of the students the difference between them. The local contractor’s concrete was pretty bad, so I wonder if this says something about the quality of construction in the north east USA?

Then again, perhaps it was all due to a badly written contract, shouldn’t responsibility for rectification be sorted out before building goes ahead?? Who knows, but I’m feeling a pull to get back to that box gutter I’m working on…


Oh no, not the view!

24 November, 2007

Apparently the view from the St Kilda Esplanade over the current concrete carpark to the beach is “unique” and must be saved! Personally, I assumed it was just another view of the beach and a somewhat unlikely one at that, fewer people walk along the footpath on the side of the Esplanade that has beach views than the other side where all of the actual (current) buildings are. That and the fact that you can look at the beach from a few other places in St Kilda…

Triangle

But no, apparently it appears that ARM + Citta’s St Kilda Triangle will alter the view from the upper Esplanade. Never mind the fact that there is a seriously ugly carpark sitting in the middle of that view at the moment, or the fact that the views from the new development will be of the beach. Now, apparently there is a planning provision in place that says that beach views can’t be blocked, but being in contravention of a planning law is a different thing than sheer NIMBY-ism.

Are we still living in the bloody picturesque?