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news archive 2000




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federation square
more money for square 3.10.00 The State Government has just approved a further $75M bailout to the Federation Square project, and confirmed that the "Federation Square Management Company" had taken over the running of the project.
the age - passing of the shard (22.09.00)
the national trust view

OMP sacked from fed square 23.09.00
The Office of Major Projects have been removed from responsibility for the Federation Square Project after costs were realised to have tripled from the original $110M. The decision was recommended by a recent Bracks government review. In other news, LAB architects have been charged to come up with a new design to replace the ditched northwestern shard, one that retains the view of St Pauls Cathedral.
the age (22.09.00)
the age - passing of the shard (22.09.00)

shard woes 14.05.00 A working party is to start examining options for the redesign of the Swanston/Flinders corner in the wake of Premier Bracks decision to can the western shard. The architects are still hoping for the reinstatement of the shard, stating delays, extra cost and impossible re-planning among their reasons. The cost of the project is set to escalate over $300M. Latest news at the age and Discuss at the age talkback. shards
09.05.00 Federation Square's eastern shard vetoed by Premier Bracks. The architects lectured a full Storey Hall Monday on why the shard should stay. Latest news at the age and Discuss at the age talkback.

Federation Square archive 2001

hanover design competition / homelessness

wardle's slice of life 2.12.00 John Wardle Architects in conjunction with Becton have won Melbourne's Hanover Design Competition with a busy multifunctional building that includes a glass wall to Flinders Street revealing unofficelike activities to the street. Parallels with the market building that occupied the site until 1958 are intentional. Will it be built? Not likely in this form, but let's hope Wardle gets to do something on the site.
age 1.12.00
hanover at the age

hanover entries complete 23.11.00 In early September, eight Melbourne architects were randomly paired with eight developers to design a structure for the wonderfully seedy western end of Flinders Street. The resulting building had to include low cost housing, which has been decreasing in availability in recent years. Most of the architects have design galleries of their submissions at the following link. See winner below.
hanover at the age

competition to benefit homeless 09.09.00 The Hanover design competition will hopefully see one of the gloomier intersections in Melbourne's CBD given new life. Eight developers have paid $10,000 each to Hanover Welfare Services to take part. They will each pair off with architects (Six Degrees, Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Nation Fender Katsalidis, Elenberg Fraser, Carey Lyon, Peter Elliott, John Wardle and Kirsten Thompson) to make proposals to develop the site. The development must include twelve low income housing units, but other than that the brief is open. The completed designs will go on show in the middle of October. the age (08.09.00)and the age (08.09.00)

homeless numbers surge
26.09.00 Housing prices, Olympic demand, backpackers and a lack of commitment to public housing have pushed Sydney's public housing waiting list up to 97,000 people. This equates to an eight to ten year delay in people gaining housing. Victoria is not far behind with 65,000. 70,000 people in Sydney found themselves homeless for an extended period in 1999. 1,200 housing units were built last year in Sydney, about 20% of the figure 30 years ago. Not helping matters is the widespread conversion of boarding houses into hostels catering to the booming backpacker industry. (the age GW 09.09.00)

melbourne issues

are they kidding?? 28.11.00 The Melbourne City Centre Executive, a government and council-funded body, has submitted its ten year plan for the Central Business District. In what seems to be a move to convert the city centre into an inner Chadstone, the following moves are suggested:
>A monorail(!) to connect shoppers between the city, southbank and the casino.
>Closing Chinatown to traffic.
>Gentrifying Swanston Street into a quality retail and lifestyle avenue.
>Roofing over Bourke Street Mall and expelling its trams.
>Extending the shopper "ant track" that runs south from Melbourne Central beyond Bourke Street Mall by building another department store.

This report
doesn't stop there but it's too distressing to continue. In their enthusiasm to create a "truely world-class shopping centre", they seem to be losing sight of what is unique in the city as it stands. At least they didn't ask for more carparks.
(yarra leader 27.11.00)

Sandridge Bridge 17.11.00 Melbourne's derelict Sandridge rail bridge sits forlorn at a pivotal point of the city. Expressions of interest are being sought for uses for the structure. More information on how to compile a design and construct submission is available here.

britomart winner 26.11.00 Auckland's Waitemata Waterfront competition has produced a winner, Southern Californian Mario Madayag, after/font> a two stage competition. The competition focussed on the difficult block of reclaimed land that includes the closed CPO and the Britomart Bus Terminal. Madayag's winning submission imagines a 'market square' in place of the bus terminal, and a forest to fill the downtown area's great mistake, QEII Square.
Jasmax Architects have been helping Mayadag develop the scheme since he reached the second stage of the competition. Rem Koolhaas' name pops up on the project team line up, but in an as yet unknown capacity.
(NZ Herald, 18.11.00, 22.11.00; NZIA Architext 11.00)

rescode "fundamentally flawed" 12.11.00 An independent planning panel reviewing Victoria's draft residential code is rumoured to think that the whole thing should be thrown out. It is belived that the new code's complexity, and its one-size-fits-all approach have made it unworkable. metro 08.11.00

sam newman to keep his facade
12.09.00 Sam Newman's controversial St Kilda house, designed by Cassandra Fahey, is to keep its pixellated glass Pamela Anderson facade now that the local council has approved its retrospective planning permit. But what does Pamela think?
the age (12.09.00)the age - norman day (12.07.00)

green games get bronze
07.09.00 "Greenpeace has downgraded the Olympics to a c-grade in environmental responsibility. "There’ve been broken promises about PVC, ozone-depleting and greenhouse-polluting air conditioning, and natural gas buses". (natural life canada 21.08.00)
spowers seeking spencer street
17.09.00 Spowers Group of Melbourne is to present an unsolicited scheme this week proposing an $825M development on top of the rundown Spencer Street Station. They are proposing a mix of eight and twelve storey towers, with a "green" theme afr 14.09.00
olympic architecture exhibition 06.09.00 An exhibition has opened at the Custom House in Sydney profiling the buildings at Homebush. (raia 28.08.00)
huh? architects face deregulation  07.07.00 The Productivity Commissions draft report into the Architect's Act is available for reading online, as are transcripts of the June hearings. Responses from the RAIA and registration authorities are also available via the practice section.
guggenlong29.07.00 The entertaining pursuit of the Guggenheim by Geelong has netted a visit to Geelong by museum director Thomas Krens. After a year of harrassment by Geelong's council, the media, and Premier Steve Bracks, Krens has relented to touring Victoria's own Bilbao later this year to decide whether a feasibility study should be made. The siting of the imaginary museum is causing friction too. Geelong councillor, Ken Jarvis, who holds the 'guggenheim portfolio', has called local conservationists' actions "terrorism". The Port Phillip Conservation Council Inc recently announced to the museum that it would oppose siting of the museum on the Eastern Park foreshore. (the age 29.07.00)
raia gets with it 06.09.00 Architecture in Australia gets an important new resource with, which I've finally discovered. A searchable online database of australian award-winning architecture.

"roads, roads and more roads" 21.08.00 The Royal Australian Planning Institute says past premier Kennett's freeway plans are back on the agenda. The new Bracks government recently announced it is investigating several new roading projects, some of which were dumped when they entered office. Three of these, freeways at Craigieburn, Scoresby and Ringwood, will interfere with creeks and wetlands.  Opponents say that VicRoads bureaucrats have stepped in to fill a government policy vacuum.

protest  (the age 21.08.00) / feature  (the age 20.08.00) / scoresby and ringwood (the age 08.08.00) / scoresby positive comment (the age 10.08.00) / scoresby negative comment (the age 09.08.00)
/ craigieburn (the age 08.08.00)

rescode2000 implications dawning 28.08.00 The proposed victorian planning scheme is causing some agitation in councils as they realize the difficulties in being required to vet the character of new developments. Leigh Snelling, Moreland councillor responsible for planning, feels restricted by the constraints of the plan, saying that it will prevent "delivering the architeture of tomorrow". She puts the conservatism of the code down to the strength of the backlash that brought it about. Paul Jerome, the Department of Infrastructure's Director of Planning responded that, "built form is not architectural style. Built form is more about bulk, setbacks, height of a building. Architectural style is about the detail within that." He conceded that more debate is required. (the age 26.08.00)
rescode2000 home page

foreign issues
the greyer the better
12.11.00 Beijing, in an odd move to beautify the city with the 2008 Olympics in mind, has determined that all new buildings be grey. More at AP(8/11/00)
millennium dome wins an award for a change

The Guardian - Dead duck cartoon
20.10.00 London's doomed dome finally won an award - a construction industry award praising its tensile membrane top. But otherwise it's all bad news. Tony Blair has apologised for it, people are getting arrested for it, and a Michael Jackson / David Copperfield funded consortium might be buying the 937M pound elephant for a bargain 135M pounds.
The Guardian - The Dome
The Independent - The Dome

Russian architectural monuments go the way of the rouble20.10.00 The last ten years have not been kind to many of russia's landmarks, including the Bolshoi Theatre and the Hermitage Museum. Local money is hard to find, so many institutions are seeking overseas sponsorship. More at cnn

dulles watch  24.08.00 Eero Saarinen's Dulles Airport in Washington was the 'fastest growing airport in the world' last year and so a US$3.4B extension and renovation is planned. The building was last extended, to Saarinen's plans, in 1996. As part of the development, new walkways connecting the terminal to concourses are currently being built. The design and rendering for these appear disturbingly amateurish next to Saarinen's work.
architectural record 8/00
dulles D2 homepage
washington airports project information

"a monstrous blancmange" 24.09.00 Prince Charles has eagerly joined the mounting opposition to London's beleaguered Millennium Dome, telling visitors to Buckingham Palace that the Dome was a "monstrous blancmange" and a "crass waste of money". In 1984 the Prince referred to the first proposal for an extension to the National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle". We at zebra hope that the royal vocabulary may be broadened before the next attack on contemporary architecture.
The Independent - Prince's rant 08.09.00 / The Independent - The Dome Mess the latest / what is a blancmange?

other items
seijima and the MCA 
Japanese architect Kazuyo Seijima has been invited to recompete for a competition she thought she'd won three years ago. The Sydney MCA extensions were to take place two years ago but the well-publicised management restructuring has meant a new competition is required. Seijima was less than happy to receive an invitation to the new contest and has made her feelings known in a letter to the MCA. "... Even if the financial situation surrounding MCA has changed since then, our position as a selected architect should not be influenced." smh 27.07.00
praemium imperiale 
17.08.00 Richard Rogers has just been awarded this nobel equivalent in London. venice biennale news
brass bridge rocks the boat 11.08.00 The Christchurch public has been heatedly debating the merits of the soon to be constructed "millennium pedestrian bridge" over the river avon. The council-run competition was recently won by sculptor Andrew Drummond. Architecturally conservative Christchurch is a city caked in gables and mansards on both new and old buildings, so hopefully this simple design will signal easier times ahead for artists and architects.
bridge home page
CBD gets more buildings 15.07.00 Harry Seidler has designed a building for developer David Marriner on a key corner of the CBD, Bourke and William Streets. The Grand Central will stand 56 storeys high. article at the age.
It now appears probable that a 33 storey DCM-designed  building for APN will be built on the corner of Exhibition Street and Collins Streets.
rescode2000 backlash begins 15.07.00 Signs of concern for the implications of the draft victorian planning code are beginning to surface in the press. In an Age article, architect Norman Day  discussed the recent popularity of "unfriendly" modernism in australian design and how the Rescode will work against this work. "[Some of] The public has become increasingly upset with what planning has done to their suburbs... [they] would prefer the badly reproduced forgery to a contemporary creation, and the new RESCODE legislation... supports that view. (the age 15.07.00)
rescode2000 home page
legionella 11.07.00 The legionella keep on showing up in a cooling tower near you. Last week a spray mist from 241 Collins Street was investigated and found to contain the bug. This was the fifth occurence this year. Last month it was found in the Collingwood footy team's spa pool, and the month before at 222 Exhibition Street. In April three died after a mist drifted across queues entering Melbourne Aquarium.
Yarra Leader 10.07.00 state government help page
las vegas fortress 07.07.00 The new Las Vegas courthouse has been built with curtain walls and slab connections to resist bombs like Oklahoma's and upthrusting earthquakes like Northridge's. Connect to the LA Times for a full description of the structure.
rescode2000 defines 'neighborhood character' 14.06.00 Planning minister John Twaites has responded to the vocal Save our Suburbs groups in the draft planning code just published. Developers will now have to demonstrate adherence to the predominant neighborhood character as gauged by the local council. "The govermnment wants appropriate development, it does not want streets destroyed by ugly boxes", he said. The government is not seeking to obstruct medium density housing, which it sees as inevitable with the number of small households relocating into the city. Dual occupancies will not require a planning permit if they satisfy certain conditions.  In a surprise move, the opposition is seeking an interim planning code to replace the Good Design Guide in the meantime. The final code is intended to be released next year.
the herald sun (no link to article)
rescode2000 home page
day in dili
10.06.00 Norman Day and a crew of Australian architects and urban designers are contributing to the redefinition of a shattered country. Click to headspace20 .
reconciliation square 22.05.00 The Federal Government is to build a $5M square to reconciliation in the parliamentary triangle. It will acknowledge 'indiginous contributions'. The announcement came a day after prominent activist Charlie Perkins publicly lamented that reconciliation would be unlikely while John Howard was in power. the sydney morning herald
sydney gets a 'new' train line 22.05.00 No longer need you chance your luck in Sydney's airport taxis, the train has arrived - sort of. The Campbelltown line has a new side branch that passes by the airports. Several new stations have been built, which with the new track cost $900M. Tourists are having to pay up to four times as much as the commuters they share the trains with to pay off this debt. The new stations are very similar (confusing for travellers) and are fitted out with such restraint that they verge on the bland. the sydney morning herald
strike 22.05.00 The recent death of a building site worker has prompted a walk off of many others. They claim that the new state government is dragging its heals with WorkCover reform. Full story in the age.
the cost of bricks 14.05.00 The cost of laying a brick has doubled in the last year due to a pre-GST residential building boom, making supply scarce. Ironically the boom is causing over-committed builders to go bust as they pay too much to their subcontractors to get the work done. Two major home builders have fallen in the last two weeks leaving more than 700 homes incomplete. Full story in the age.
docklands goes residential 14.05.00 The Studio City consortium is to go into liquidation, stalling indefinitely the Viacom-backed theme park at Docklands. Residential projects are the only starters apart from the Colonial Stadium that are likely to be completed. Mirvac recently announced that documentation work would recommence on their second and third riverside towers. Work stopped earlier in the year during union 36 hour week negotiations. the age
avonwood anger 06.05.00 Hundreds of owners of half-built houses in Victoria and Queensland protested outside the head office of Avonwood homes after they went into liquidation. Last minute efforts to form an allegiance with Sydney's Clardendon Homes fell through. Avonwood have directed blame at the surge in the cost of bricks due to pre-GST panic demand.
housing guarantee fund 24.04.00 Robert Caulfield, manageing director of Archicentre, has called for a state government review of changes made to the Housing Guarantee fund last year by the Kennett government. The limit for the claimable amount was reduced from $100,000 cover for defects and faults plus $100,000 for bankruptcy down to 20% of the contract sum.(sourced from The Age 24.04.00) April 2000.
legionella 06.05.00 The Melbourne Aquarium is now under threat of a class action by customers made sick by the building. Two have died and over 70 more are affected. The management, contractor, subcontractors and government are currently ducking and weaving around allegations of negligence.Latest news at the age/issues
tunnel opens19.04.00 Melbourne's Domain tunnel opened on April 16th to the delight of some and the consternation of others. Southbank architect Peter Deacon, living next to its vent stack, said recently that, "I feel they have a responsibility to do it right in the first place and if they haven't got it right they should be made to do so. If filtration systems are available they should be made to install it." The Environmental Protection Agency has announced  better air monitoring around the tunnel. April 2000 (Metro News 19.04.00)
gold The RAIA awarded this year's gold medal to South Australian architect John Morphett. April 2000.
Full coverage at the RAIA.
good design guide going? 19.04.00 Victoria's City of Yarra, encompassing Richmond and Collingwood, has adopted a new residential planning code to replace the Kennett government's "Good Design Guide for Medium Density Housing", and the City of Moonee Ponds is following suit. The Yarra model requires more housing projects to be subject to planning permits. Planning minister John Thwaites is considering approving the new design guide. (sourced from Metro News 19.04.00) April 2000.

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