As the end of September approaches, we take a look at the top 10 stories from the month that was. 

Click on the article title to be taken to the original story, and let us know which your favourites were – or what else we should have covered.

1.jpg1. “A bold example of adaptive re-use”: unpacking RMIT New Academic Street

After two years in the making, RMIT’s enormous, $220-million New Academic Street project is finally complete.

Lyons Architecture led a five-firm design consortium comprising NMBW, Maddison, MvS, and Harrison and White. Working closely with RMIT to achieve the university’s goals of creating a future-looking building that has an unprecedented focus on students, this major project has transformed the scattered RMIT city campus into an interconnected, vibrant collection of buildings.

2.jpg2. Seaberg House: a seaside dwelling, deconstructed

A beach house offers a family an escape from their busy schedules, and allows them to come together for an extended period of time. But sometimes family members need a bit of time to themselves. While this isn’t always achievable with the traditional beach house, Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA) has designed the Seaberg House as an antidote to forced close quarters. The result is a deconstructed interpretation of the classic beach house.

While modest in scale, Seaberg House is unusual within its built typology as a seaside dwelling that has been split into several distinct structures.

3.jpg3. The Pool House: a century in design, from front door to back

What is the common connection between 1910 workers’ cottage design and modern, motorised architecture? In the case of one Luigi Rosselli project in Randwick, NSW, the answer is a swimming pool.

The aptly-named Pool House is, from the street frontage, a bit of an enigma. Despite a thorough addition and alteration by Luigi Rosselli Architects, the public-facing façade looks like the elegant, 100-year-old structure it is. That’s because, in the words of the architect, “repairing and adapting the old features are continuously threatened by the easy way out approach of removing them.”

4.jpg4. Brick veneer cottage in Sydney receives a timber-clad addition

The renovation of a modest brick veneer cottage in Sydney has resulted in a modern beach house using natural materials and considered volumetric arrangement.

Designed by Buck & Simple, Casa Crisp in the suburb of Mona Vale saw the addition of a rectilinear timber form that sits atop the original podium. This allowed much of the existing dwelling to be retained.

Blackbutt timber was extensively utilised in the home’s design. 

5.jpg5. Play to work: leisure in office design

Business is, by definition, geared towards profit. So how then to justify spending money on employee’s leisure zones?

Then comes the question: what defines ‘leisure’, and how does it contribute to wellbeing? In fact, how do you measure happiness in a workplace? One easy way to gauge your workers’ happiness is whether or not they’re running out the door at the stroke of five.


6.jpg6. Designing a downsizer requires quality over quantity

It’s natural, and often unavoidable, to downsize as one gets older. Designing a small space – which offers both freedom and assistance – requires a mindset of ‘quality over quantity’. And this is exactly what architects VittoAshe did with the interior renovation of a one-bedroom apartment in Perth.

The ‘Adelaide Terrace’ houses an elderly woman downsizing from a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a swimming pool. She desired a space which would allow her to age gracefully in place.

7.jpg7. 'Most advanced hospital in modern world' opens

The $2.3-billion new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) includes 800 beds and will care for an estimated 85,000 inpatients and 400,000 outpatients each year.

The RAH, in the South Australian capital Adelaide, is set to be the epicentre of the state’s health system and is reportedly the third most expensive building in the world.

The hospital features all single patient rooms, each with its own personal ensuite and day bed to allow for a loved one to stay overnight.

8.jpg8. Apartments that feel like homes that look like architectural fish bowls

Cirqua Apartments by BKK Architects is a project that stands out – no small feat in the overcrowded multi-residential sector, which relies heavily on formulaic architectural codes to produce easy, low-cost, cookie-cutter products.

Instead of succumb to the temptation to do things the easy way, the architects decided to offer a new alternative: a series of apartments that, from the inside, strongly resemble those single-dwelling homes that are still ingrained in the collective memory, but which have become largely inaccessible to buyers below the upper strata of wealth.

9.jpg9. CTK Board Room: designing in defiance of gender stereotypes

Designing for a specific gender can be a troublesome task. While an architect’s work should resonate with the specific needs of the client, it must also be mindful of presenting unwanted stereotypes.  

This was of the upmost importance in the design brief for the new Administration Building and Board Room at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College’s girls’ campus. Early in the design process, the Melbourne client identified that, too often, femininity is wrongly linked with fragility.

10.jpg10. Seeing the light: a sun-drenched riff on the typical townhouse

Presented with an 840-square-metre site, it was entirely possible that this project could give rise to a crop of same-same townhouse residents; an easy out for an unchallenging site. Instead, DKO put a distance between them and their laurels, working to achieve a clever, near-threefold increase in the density of 100 Albert Street. In place of three dwellings, there are eight, which together represent a mixture of one, two and three bedrooms.