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    Australia’s best new urban design: a Sydney pool and a new Canberra princint

    Nathan Johnson

    Molongo Group/ Fender Katsalidis/ Oculus and Neeson Murcutt Architects/ Sue Barnsley Design/ City of Sydney were the two big winners at the 2014 Australia Award for Urban Design hosted by the ­Planning Institute of Australia (PIA).

    The New Acton mixed-use precinct in Canberra designed by Molongo Group/ Fender Katsalidis/ Oculus was joint winner with Neeson Murcutt and Sue Barnsley’s Prince Alfred Pool + Park Upgrade in Sydney; they took out the large-scale ­delivered-outcome category.

    The New Acton precinct included a four stage development, two of which have been finished for over five years. The final two stages were also designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects which included the NewActon Nishi, a multi-purpose medium rise building for the west of the precinct.

    Images from top: Fender Katsalidis and Steven Smith 

    Prince Alfred Pool + Park Upgrade by Neeson Murcutt Architects, in association with landscape architect Sue Barnsley, continues its recent success in awards programs. Late June it was announced that the pool, park, gardens and facility upgrade project had taken a bag of trophies from the NSW Architecture Awards. In May the same project won a Good Design Award in the Architecture and Interiors category.   

    Located at the edge of central Sydney, the Prince Alfred Park + Pool are used by local workers and residents for recreational means. The design ambition was to reinvigorate the park and upgrade the tired public pool without erasing the Victorian roots of the area.

    The pool and surrounding parkland received a complete overhaul and now include an integrated landscape, an activity emphasised facility and a new urban ecology. Images: Brett Boardman

    The PIA president Dyan Currie said the winners demonstrated “the degree to which wildly different urban innovations can have positive impacts on their communities”.

    “The ambitions of Canberra’s New Acton Precinct were achieved with a surprising design and place-making ­solution that represents an exemplar for 21st century ­Canberra,” she said.

    “On the other hand, the Prince Alfred Park and Pool project in Sydney demonstrated the power of modernising an existing urban canvas without eliminating its historic roots.”

    Other winners included the ASPECT Studios and CHROFi designed Goods Line in Sydney, which took the Policies, Programs, Concepts—Small Scale category, and the Fremantle Esplanade Youth Plaza by design firm, Convic who won the Delivered Outcome – Small scale category.

    Designed by Aspect Studios with Choi Ropiha Fighere, The Goods Line is a government initiative seeking to build on the 500 metres of industrial railway track currently dividing Ultimo from Haymarket, and create an Ultimo Pedestrian Network, or UPN – The Goods Line. Fly-through video below:

    Built in two stages, the northern section of the line will connect the new UTS Dr Chau Chak Wing Building designed by Frank Gehry to the Powerhouse Museum. Construction is scheduled for completion in November 2014.

    This second stage will provide a makeover for the existing pedestrian route from Central Station through to Darling Harbour, and is expected to go to tender late this year, with construction starting early next year.

     The Fremantle Esplanade Youth Plaza is a 1000sqm, $1.8m corridor esplanade that includes pedestrian zones, street plazas, a skate bowl, basketball & table tennis facilites a parkour zone, and an informal social and event space. It was designed by Convic in association with the City of Fremantle. Images: Luke Thompson

    Urban Voices, A book by Bruce Echberg, Bill Chandler and John Byrne which celebrates urban design in ­Australia, won the newest award to the program: Statesmen of the Built Environment .

    Full list of award winners:

    DELIVERED OUTCOME – Large scale (two awards given)

    • Award: NewActon Precinct, Molongo Group/ Fender Katsalidis/ Oculus (ACT)
    • Award: Prince Alfred Park and Pool, Neeson Murcutt Architects, Sue Barnsley Design, City of Sydney (NSW)

    DELIVERED OUTCOME – Small scale

    • Award: Fremantle Esplanade Youth Plaza, Convic, City of Fremantle (WA)

    POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND CONCEPTS – Large Scale (no award winner)

    • Commendation: Pilbara Vernacular Handbook, CODA Studio, Landcorp (WA)
    • Commendation: Darwin City Centre Master Plan, City of Darwin, Northern Territory Government, Design Urban Pty Ltd (NT)

    POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND CONCEPTS – Small scale

    • Award: The Goods Line, ASPECT Studios with CHROFI for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (NSW)
    • Commendation: Thinking outside 'the box': Key design elements for apartments in Ku-ring-gai, Ku-ring-gai Council Strategy and Environment Department (NSW)
    • Commendation: King’s Square Urban Design Strategy, CODA Studio, City of Fremantle, Creating Communities Australia (WA)

    SUSTAINED CONTRIBUTION TO URBAN DESIGN (new award)

    • Award: Urban Voices – celebrating urban design in Australia, Bruce Echberg, Bill Chandler, John Byrne

     

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