As May ends, we 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.jpg1. Australia by Design: the first-of-its-kind architecture show in Australia

These days, when we think of architecture on television, we mainly think of programs such as The Block where the format runs like reality television. Either that, or hard-core architectural documentaries designed for those with a set of esoteric industry knowledge.

Set to hit Australian screens in July 2017, Australia by Design is created to be a middle-ground between these two extremes of architectural viewing. Not only is it different by virtue of its ‘accessible’ yet expert approach to architecture, but as the first-time government architecture has been shown on Australian television, it is also unprecedented in terms of its subject matter.

2.jpg2. Australia’s first cross-laminated timber office built in only a year

Australia’s first engineered timber office building has opened its doors at Sydney’s Barangaroo, just one year after construction began on site.

Developed by Lend Lease as the ‘front door’ to Barangaroo South, International House Sydney is built entirely of the industry’s ‘rising stars’ – Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue-Laminated Timber (Glulam).

Project architects at Sydney practice Tzannes say the design and construction of the building, as well as the choice of building materials, were born from a big picture and first principles analysis – the project’s siting in the masterplan meant it had to demonstrate leadership in environmentally sustainable design and foster wellbeing for users.

3.jpg3. Sticks & Stones: Luigi Rosselli's light-filled, sandstone-and-timber residence has a dark side

The Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill has a rich history of heritage and habitat. Sitting between both the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers, the northern suburb was a pre-cursor to the Garden City movement. It was subdivided in the 19th century, which resulted in a combination of sandstone- and timber-rich period homes, and sprawling parks and gardens with centuries-old trees.

When Luigi Rosselli Architects was given the brief to create a new family home in the area, timber and sandstone were the natural material choices. Sydney sandstone was sourced specifically for the project – not just for its relevance to the context, but its incremental response to it. 

4.jpg4. Gold Coast super tower will be the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere

A 108-storey ‘super tower’ planned for Southport will not only be the tallest building in Australia; it will also be the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. The building will function as a community-in-miniature, and feature its own university.

Designed by Kris Kowalski Architects, the Imperial Square Stage 3 Tower will have more floors than the Empire State Building in New York, and beat the recently-announced Orion Towers in Surfers Paradise – a 328-metre, 103-level, mixed-use project by Woods Bagot – as Australia’s tallest building.

The Imperial Square Stage 3 Tower will also out-strip the building that currently holds the title of Southern Hemisphere’s tallest; Auckland’s 328-metre Sky Tower by Craig Craig Moller (CCM) Architects.

5.jpg5. Award-winning Australian architecture firm announces closure

After 25 years in practice, award-winning Australian architect Caroline Pidcock has announced the decision to close her design firm, PIDCOCK - Architecture + Sustainability, a few weeks ago.

In a brief statement released yesterday, Pidcock said of her decision:

“As a sole director, I have had an opportunity to reflect [over] 25 years of practice, and this has allowed me the privilege to envisage what the next stage will be. I believe it is important to be able to recreate a personal and professional vision for the future and to keep aligning to your joy.”

6.jpg6. Changing Sydney: International Towers Barangaroo

Like it or not, there’s no denying Barangaroo is significant. As the largest urban renewal project Sydney has witnessed since the 2000 Olympic Games, its scale, size, cost and value to the NSW economy is irrefutable.

Also without doubt is how well Barangaroo has serviced the design community. The amount of practices – both local and international – that have contributed to the 22-hectare, $6 billion development is astounding. With three major building components still to come, there is a healthy amount of job opportunities in the pipeline for architects and design contractors.

One the firms reaping many of the development’s rewards is UK firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP). RSHP has acted as both lead masterplanner of the 7.6-hectare Barangaroo South portion of the project and as lead designer of its largest commercial office component - the International Towers.

7.jpg7. True North: a lesson in claiming corners

There’s no denying that the curvilinear form of the True North house in Kensington is unique. And as much as it was the product of project architect and client being on the same page – namely because they were one and the same person – its tapered, triangular footprint also seemed a natural response to the awkwardly-shaped block it sat on.

To Tim Hill of Melbourne’s TANDEM studio, the Kensington site – located along a disused lane on an oddly-shaped block that had kept its heritage-listed stables from the 1880s – the inherent challenges of the build were nothing but licence to innovate.

8.jpg8. Terroir reveals pointed, timber-heavy design for Phillip Island visitor centre

The Penguin Parade on Victoria’s Philip Island is the state’s most visited tourism destination. Each evening, just before sunset, roughly 3,800 people gather to see the Philip Island penguins come ashore in their daily commute.

But it’s not just tourism that the Penguin Parade must facilitate. Its reputation as a sight-seeing destination is always in delicate tension with its function as a conservational habitat.

When architecture firm Terroir was appointed principal architect for the new Penguin Parade visitor centre, they were posed with the challenge of maintaining this delicate balance between the site’s two functions.

9.jpg9. Melbourne’s unused roads to be transformed into green spaces

$15 million has been allocated by the City of Melbourne to build new green spaces on land occupied by “underperforming” roads.

Announced as part of the council’s 2017-18 budget in Early May, the money will be spent on several projects including one for Southbank Boulevard and another for Elizabeth Street.

$11 million has been set aside to develop Melbourne’s largest linear park at Southbank Boulevard. Designed by the City of Melbourne’s City Design Studio, the project will see the replacement of a one car lane road with 2.5 hectares of green space. 

10.jpg10. Perimeter House: a poster child for brick’s diversity

Sometimes, an alteration or addition to a single dwelling is no more than an improvement on its existing functions and forms. At other times, A&A can result in an entirely new identity for a home.

Perimeter House – a residential extension by Make Architecture of a Victorian cottage in Melbourne – falls firmly into the latter category. At face value, a brick addition sounds quite simple. But Make’s wrap-around façade design and courtyard extension proves just how diverse the classic building material can be.

The brick extension wraps around the existing Victorian cottage from front to back – street façade to rear courtyard – and extends over the two storeys of the building.