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    Architecture & Design’s top 10 articles for April - from the end of glass skyscrapers to waterfall façades

    Nicholas Rider

    As April comes to a close, we take a look at the top 10 stories covered throughout the month. 

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

    1-1.jpg1. Can we finally say goodbye to glass skyscrapers?

    London’s famous Crystal Palace may have been destroyed by fire in 1936 but its legacy lives on. The giant glass-and-iron landmark didn’t just set an architectural standard for exhibition halls that lasted centuries; it also deeply influenced the way we perceive buildings and their materiality today.

    Its structure – which comprised an intricate network of 1,000 slender iron beams and pillars, supporting 84,000sqm of transparent glass formed into the largest sheets ever made – provided a level of open floor space, natural light and transparency previously unseen in buildings of its size.

    2.jpg2. Chamfered corners, green roof and circle motifs soften impact of new North Bondi Amenities

    North Bondi Amenities (NBA) reimagines the template of the boxy, double-brick public bathroom that is, frankly, unbefitting of our signature Australian beaches. It has been designed by Sam Crawford Architects (SCA) to complement its surrounding landscape, accommodate the thronging summer crowds of Bondi Beach and to withstand the sting of the coastal elements year-round.

    The project included the addition of a new amenity building, containing change rooms, toilets, showers and accessible amenity, and the reskinning of an adjoining Sydney Water Pump Station.

    3.jpg3. Suters and DWP arrangement moves from alliance to acquisition

    The Australian Financial Review reported in early April that Australia’s Suters architects has been acquired by Bangkok-based firm DWP, consummating a four-year alliance between the two firms.

    Current chief executive of DWP|Suters and revered figure for women in Australian architecture, Leone Lorrimer will become the new chief executive of the combined group of 450 people.

    Lorrimer told the AFR that the new arrangement was a logical step after a four-year strategic alliance, one that she predicts could double the revenue of the firm over the next five years.

    4.jpg4. New Koichi Takada Brisbane tower features facade-length waterfall

    A few weeks agao, Brisbane-based Aria Property Group unveiled the winning design of their proposed residential tower project in South Brisbane. Koichi Takada’s waterfall inspired design was the winner of the competition that saw four architectural firms (Koichi Takada, Elenberg Fraser, Rothelowman and Woods Marsh) vying for the opportunity to design the tower project.

    Aria has submitted a new development application for the striking 33-storey residential tower located at 77 Hope Street, South Brisbane.

    5.jpg5. World’s first rope-free elevator wins Gold for thyssenkrupp at Edison Awards

    A new thyssenkrupp elevator has taken home the Gold award in the Transportation and Logistics category at the 2017 Edison Awards, announced recently in New York. thyssenkrupp’s MULTI elevator, the world's first rope-free elevator system, leverages linear motor technology to move multiple elevator cars in a single shaft both vertically and horizontally. The system signifies an unprecedented optimisation of vertical passenger transportation.

    Representing a new era in urban mobility, thyssenkrupp’s MULTI elevator addresses the need for a flexible transport system for skyscraper buildings, similar to the Metro. Efficient mobility, especially in tall buildings, is an absolute necessity. In this sense, MULTI is a true example of innovation.

    6.jpg6. First four episodes of Josh Byrne’s Density by Design series now available

    At the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) Participants Annual Forum in Sydney last November, Curtin University’s Josh Byrne, better known as the name and face behind the Josh’s House project in Fremantle, announced he’d been working on a new internet documentary series.

    It was to follow a similar format to his popular 2014 series called Josh’s House Star Performers, but instead of exploring high performing low-density dwellings around the country, the new series would explore exemplary middle and high-density projects.

    The first four episodes of Density by Design, each visiting a different multi-residential project from around Australia, are now available for view on Vimeo.

    7.jpg7. A self-cooling stairwell & rammed earth walls in Luigi Rosselli’s textural Kirribilli residence

    The way to reduce the ecological impact of our built environment is to build with nature, not against it.

    In order to fulfil his brief to create a ‘comfortable house’ for a family in the Sydney suburb of Kirribilli, Luigi Rosselli harnessed the elements: earth, water, wind and light.

    Rammed earth is the most conspicuous element of Kirribilli House. Not only is it aesthetically striking – lending the building a high degree of textural interest and an earthy, orange colour – it is also a highly-effective and economic means of insulating the residence.

    8.jpg8. Using abandoned mines for renewable energy

    Recent projects and initiatives in Australia demonstrate that there is potential in turning old mines into renewable energy developments. 

    Aside from the obvious benefits these renewable energy hubs would have for the environment, with the construction of solar farms and hydro energy projects, they would also benefit the communities that surround them by cutting electricity and associated costs.

    The Kidston Solar Farm Project (KSFP) in North Queensland is one such example of an abandoned mine that is being revitalised to serve the environment.

    9.jpg9. Site of future Sydney mixed-use development to be purchased for $158m

    The sale of a prominent Sydney CBD address could spark its long-awaited development.

    A joint venture consortium containing Australian and Singapore companies is tipped to purchase 59 Goulburn Street in Haymarket, which has held a development permit for a 38-storey hotel and residential tower since 2014.

    Designed by Crone Architects, the mixed-use development is Stage-1 approved for a 29,489sqm 38-storey project comprising 407 hotel suites, 90 apartments, and 3,720sqm of retail space.

    10.jpg10. Architect Prineas reinvigorate Sydney wharf apartment with multiple sliding doors and luxe detail

    This project involved alterations to a circa 2000 refurbished apartment within the heritage listed 1915 Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf on Sydney Harbour. The scope of worked included a general reconfiguration of the interior of the apartment as well as the replacement of a single sliding door with multiple sliders.

    The project brief was centred about making the most of a glamorous city pad with an extraordinary harbour setting. The minutiae of daily life are concealed behind dark panels giving the apartment interior the theatricality and sophistication of a luxury hotel. Contrasting touches of unexpected materiality and luxe detail are picked out as walls are re-imagined as pivoting screens that fold flush in open or closed positions. In this way, the apartment effortlessly takes on a number of reconfigurations, becoming larger and more open.

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