Eleven unrealised Australian architectural projects will be constructed as part of Australia’s exhibition at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Augmented Australia 1914-2014.
Selected by Australia’s creative team, felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad, the 11 were chosen from a call-out issued in July for unbuilt contemporary Australian buildings to accompany ten historical unrealised designs.
The successful projects are:
Darwin City Waterfront Signature Restaurant – Susan Dugdale and Associates
The Darwin City Waterfront Signature Restaurant is a sculptural building situated at the exciting threshold between dry landscape – a defining feature of most areas of the Northern Territory – and sea. From the sea, the restaurant appears as a soft-edged plume of reddish smoke or dust. From the land, it appears as a silver-white cloud or spray of water. Upon closer viewing, the patterning and translucency of the large screens is evident, revealing the structure and activity within.
The restaurant's interior provides a tropical ambience, with five metre high ceilings and wide ocean views through the protective screens. Large screens reduce glare from the surrounding water into sparkling particles of light and cast decorative patterned shadows into the interior. At night, this effect will be reversed so that the building becomes a glowing lantern.
Museum of Contemporary Art – fjmt (Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp)
This project proposes a dynamic engagement of art, city and moving image. The natural topography, harbour and trances of earliest settlement have inspired the form, and are characterised by ribbons of steel and glass, light and movement. A series of glimmering plans are to be inserted into the existing sandstone masses, extending in sinuous organic forms opened towards the harbour. Metal and glass fins form linear horizontal shafts through which the building breathes, drawing in cool fresh air at a low level and expelling through the roof.
The curved blades orientate the main public cinemas and rooftop theatres directly towards the city’s icons, the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. A moveable screen descends in front of this ‘window to the city’, replacing and juxtaposing reality with the infinite view of the projected moving images.
Caught Unawares – MvS Architects
Caught Unawares is from a series of experimental projects that speculate about architectural ideas and effects. They are not unbuilt in the sense of merely failing to be constructed, but instead engage with those architectural qualities that are not reliant on material, tectonic or spatial resolution.
Buildings can become over-determined and saturated through relentless mediation. Here, MvS Architects propose a synthetic process to derive a new structure from a picturesque itinerary of the old. “She’s looking a bit tired, time for a reno.”
(un)Common Earth_National World War I & World War II Memorial, Canberra – Mulloway Studio
A shortlisted entry into an international architecture competition, (un)Common Earth proposes two rammed earth monuments of equal visual proportions located symmetrically about the land axis of Canberra.
It is constructed from soil collected throughout the country, a symbolic gesture which reinforces the human connection with the land, and creates a link between home and the often abstract notions of war: sacrifice, death and loss. Soil forms the core of the architectural mass and expression, and is hollowed out to offer different perspectives in contemplating loss and sacrifice. In the WWI Memorial, the ramp ceiling and inner space direct the eye downward, in acknowledgment of the abiding images of the trenches and a war fought far from home. In the WWII Memorial, the eye is contrastingly directed upwards, recognising the changing nature of warfare, and the anxiety of a war closer to home.
Each mass is extensively and delicately punctured with a series of light transmitting fibre-optic cables, with each light point representing 100 war deaths. Externally, the lighting strategy provides contrasting urban characters; a long-distance visual solidity during the day and lantern-like image at night. Internally, the architectural expression creates an emotive internal spatial experience of the differences between the two wars.
Styx Valley Protest Shelter – Andrew Maynard Architects
The Styx Valley is a wilderness in south western Tasmania, home to the tallest hardwood trees in the world averaging over 80 metres, many of which are over 400 years old. In 1996, only 13 per cent of these trees remained.
In an attempt to half the clear felling of the Styx Valley, a large group of activists formed human barricades to stop the entry of bulldozers and log trucks. The centrepiece of the activists’ protest is the Global Rescue Station (GRS), perched within the canopy of a grand old Styx gum named Gandalf.
Made simply from two platforms suspended by rope from the branches of Gandalf, GRS provides a visible protest presence within the forest. To avoid being removed during winter, the mass of the new protest structure was distributed over three trees, thereby protecting a number of trees per structure.
Lodge on the Lake – m3architecture
The Lodge on the Lake is a city within a city, enriching Lake Burley Griffin’s environment through the moderating form of a glasshouse. A place for landscape and inhabitation, the Lodge moves beyond previous forms and mirrors and miniaturises Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony’s notions of the ideal city.
As planners, Griffin and Mahony manipulated landscape at the geological scale, with the built house nestling within the landscape. The Lodge responds in kind.
At a smaller scale, within the walled city, an intimate natural environment is allowed to flourish where buildings act as support structures to the landscape.
Jewel Cave Visitor Centre – iredale pedersoon hook architects
The Jewel Cave is a subterranean wonderland hidden under an ancient forest. Located near the south west surf town of Yallingup, this new facility provides an entry to the cave and a visitor centre featuring science education and the history behind the caves and its fragile surrounding environment.
The architecture is driven by the concept of revealing natural systems not immediately apparent to visitors, such as micro climate, post-bushfire regeneration, the ecology of the forest, and the aspects of change over time. These are expressed through weathering materials, framed views, ‘interpretation’ components, and the formations of the karst systems themselves.
A single level building, dictated by fire offset requirements and the available floor area, emerges from its contact with the earth and pushes out over the landscape. Its blackened, recycled Jarrah ‘belly’ becomes visible in contrast to the clean steel framed glazing, copper clad walls and oiled timber battens that form the enclosure.
The landscape falls, allowing occupation of the forest floor under the shade of the building. The grounded end provides access to the existing staircase that descends into the cave and the elevated café at the opposite end provides a majestic view into the trees. Between is a space captured by a ceiling that dips and hangs, exploring an abstraction of the cave formations.
Tower Skin – LAVA
LAVA addresses the anonymity of a 1960s brutalist building by ‘reskinning’ it with a lightweight membrane envelope. Beginning as a proposal to re-shape the UTS Tower in Sydney, ‘Tower Skin’ evolved into a broader architectural system to give buildings across the globe a second life, thus avoiding the costs of demolishing and rebuilding.
The simple, cost-effective, easily constructed skin transforms the modernist icon into a sustainable, site-specific structure. A lightweight structure based on surface tension allows a high tech membrane to freely stretch around the tower, referencing the Opera House sails, nature, and the harbour.
The translucent cocoon embedded with LED strips acts as an intelligent media surface and creates its own ‘microclimate’: it generates energy with photovoltaic cells, collects rainwater, improves the distribution of natural daylight, and uses available convective energy to power the building’s natural ventilation abilities.
Carlton United Brewery Site, Swanston St Melbourne – ARM Architecture
In 2007, Grocon purchased the Carlton United Brewery site, inviting ARM to take part in a design competition. Following its original concept of a gateway building structure, ARM generated the pulling away of two buildings to create a sticky/elastic space of bridge links and tendril forms.
The façade, predominantly geodesic glass, also shows a generated heat-map pattern, produced through the simulated action of a surface under tension/pressure as it is pulled apart.
The resulting void space is an anti-monumental response to the Shrine of Remembrance at the opposing end of the Swanston Street axis.
Hybrid Cathedral – tessellate a+d
The Hybrid Cathedral proposed a new typology for a place of worship by connecting faith and social enterprise with commercial venture, using mathematical equations to mediate the three. It is a study into how the economics of housing, aged care and a business hotel can fund the creation of a new cathedral for the recently established Melbourne Docklands, while also funding the church’s ongoing social work.
Sited upon a man-made rise re-establishing Batman’s Hill, which was demolished in the 1860s, the cathedral reveals itself externally through the spiritually significant east and west façades, while the north and south façades reference the detailing of apartment buildings in the local context.
RMIT University – Sports Centre – Lyons
This project investigated strategies to create an object-texture that ameliorates the ‘crisis/predicament’ defined by Colin Rowe in his seminal essay in Collage City. The program included sports facilities and interdisciplinary research spaces encompassing the idea of ‘body and mind’.
Speculating on a primary urban gesture that could both amplify and contrast these prosaic readings of the city, the design is conspicuously oppositional to urban conventions of streetscape; a disruption to the respectability of typology.
The scale of the tube form does not fit easily or comfortably onto the site. It was bent and cranked to a rough best fit within the site constraints. It bends around the circumstantial pressures exerted by the historic corner hotel and precisely cut, or ‘sliced’, along the streetscape frontages forming elliptical elevational profiles that create the surface of the street wall.