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    Australian projects impress at 2016 Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Awards

    Nicholas Rider

    Four Australian projects, with designs by Iredale Pederson Hook Architects, Hassell and Tzannes, have been awarded at The Chicago Athenaeum Museum 2016 International Architecture Awards.

    Hundreds of submissions were received for this year’s annual global awards program from architecture firms from 43 nations. A final shortlist of 370 projects was presented to a Jury of Italian architects and critics. 132 new buildings, commercial and institutional developments, landscape architecture, and urban planning projects were awarded. 

    The four Australian projects awarded were:


    Walumba Elders Centre by Iredale Pederson Hook Architects. Image: Peter Bennetts

    After the town of Warmun in the Kimberley region of Western Australia was devastated by a catastrophic flood in March 2011, Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects were tasked with rebuilding the community facility buildings and Walumba Aged Care centre.

    Working directly with the community elders and the local Home and Community Care staff, they designed a new home for the elders, considerate of their specific cultural and social needs.

    The site was selected to be close to the school and town centre to ensure the elders are able to continue their role as educators and cultural leaders. Being within a flood zone, the facility was designed to be well above the 2011 flood level – standing some three metres off the ground like a bridge or jetty.


    The University of Melbourne's Conservatorium of Music by Hassell. Image: Hassell

    By stripping away the walls and showcasing the activity within, Hassell has avoided a traditional approach in their design of Melbourne’s new Conservatorium of Music building.

    Translucent and transparent surfaces make the teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces visible from the street and accessible from within. The interior spaces are placed around a central atrium, which allows for a wealth of light, views and fresh air. Similar to the façade, many of these indoor spaces are separated from the atrium only by glass. 

    Along with a mixture of formal and informal teaching and rehearsal spaces, the Conservatorium is also home to a music library, hub, café, box office for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and an entrance to the Victorian College of the Arts.


    East Perth Power Station by Hassell. Image: Hassell

    Hassell developed a concept for a disused power station in Perth – an art gallery on the banks of the Swan River. The design of the building is a sequence of rotating and shifting ‘planks’, creating a horizontal and terraced urban plateau.

    “The horizontal form and layered facade is representative of the power of the Western Australian landscape and also symbolises the drama of land meeting water,” says Mark Loughnan, Hassell’s Head of Architecture. “The planks are also inspired by the detail and drama of cliffs along the Western Australian coastline.”

    The design has ensured the history of the site is maintained with a large rotating atrium inside the building, connecting the old power station and the new building. This provides public access to large and diverse gallery and lobby spaces.


    The Brewery Yard by Tzannes. Image: John Gollings

    As part of stage one of the Central Park precinct development in Sydney, Tzannes have injected a trigeneration plant into the Kent Brewery building (which is a century-old), making the system’s bulky cooling towers an architectural feature.  

    The 62-metre heritage listed chimney flue exhaust adjacent to the site’s old boiler house has been retained and creatively adapted to be used as the exhaust flue for the gas boiler in the new trigeneration plant.

    The actual plant is located below the ground level of the site and is made up of two 1.1 megawatt reciprocating engines which will eventually produce enough low-emission electricity and thermal energy for the entire Central Park precinct through use of natural gas.

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