2014 was a successful and busy year for Australian architects both internationally and on the domestic front. In October we saw four projects from Australian architects take out category prizes at the World Architecture Festival Awards and it seemed a week couldn’t go by without Sydney’s One Central Park receiving another international design award.

At home the Australian Institute of Architects National Architecture Awards were announced in November and saw community-oriented projects celebrated extensively. Our own 2014 Sustainability Awards were the biggest in its history and signalled that the Australia’s shift towards green building practices is growing and adapting to new technologies and discoveries.

Starchitect Frank Gehry’s first Australian project, The University of Technology, Sydney’s (UTS) new business school and hi-tech learning hub is also about ready for opening and its distinctive brick facade was one of the most hotly debated topics of the year. Zaha Hadid’s “inverted coke bottle” design for a site on Brisbane’s Toowong riverbank also caused quite a bit backlash from architectural circles.

The following list comprises Architecture and Design’s top 10 stories from the 1st of January 2014.
*Click on the link or picture to be directed to the story and be sure to let us know which your favourites were - or what else we should have covered.

 1. Five famous architects and their most iconic buildings

So many great architects’ buildings have graced our skylines and decorated our cities that it’s almost impossible to pick the best and brightest. This list of five famous architects and their most iconic works only touches on the myriad of impressive projects we’ve seen over the years, but nevertheless it seems everyone likes to reminisce. Renowned architects Antoni Gaudi, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, Tom Wright and James Hoban all featured on Architecture and Design’s number one article for 2014.

2. Frank Gehry’s UTS tree house joins Sydney skyline

When news broke that world-renowned architect Frank Gehry’s first and only Australian building in Sydney had reached its topping point our audience was very intrigued. Would the so-called “tree house” live up to its hype and redefine downtown Sydney? Or would its distinctive brick façade be too incongruent with the rest of the city’s skyline?  The building’s exterior has since been uncovered and that story can be found here:

3. Nine storey Melbourne apartment goes up in just five days

The future of prefabrication in construction and design was one of the most engaging topics for our readers this year. Stories on digital prefabrication, lessons from the Japanese on prefab houses and even one about a Chinese company that claimed to have 3D printed 10 houses offsite in a day were all widely read. But the most popular prefabrication story came on the 6th of May when a nine storey apartment building in Melbourne by Amnon Weber Architects was constructed in a mere 120 hours.

4. Five examples of vertical gardens - including a preview of the world's tallest

Vertical gardens and green roofs made appearances in many projects throughout 2014 and their environmental benefits were widely acclaimed. At the Uni of QLD’s Global Change Institute we saw a greenwall used to reduce VOC levels and give biological treatment to the building’s interiors, while in Sydney we saw Australia’s largest vertical garden-walled residential building, One Central Park, taking out international design awards left, right and centre. The City of Sydney even adopted the first ever green roofs and walls policy for Australia in 2014, which sets out its commitment to increase the number of high quality green roofs and walls in the City.

5. Shipping container house wins major architecture award for Sunshine Coast

The shipping container craze of 2013 certainly didn’t dissipate this year; in fact the popularity of ‘cargotecture’ only soared higher in 2014. Shipping container projects from Australian architects this year included a light-filled office from Room 11 architects, a container mansion from Zeigler Build and a transportable modular home from G-Pod. But the most popular shipping container build for 2014 was a beach house that took the major prize at the 2014 AIA Regional Architecture Awards.

6. Woodhead goes into liquidation a day after GHD takeover

The once revered Australian architecture firm, Woodhead went into liquidation in April this year, just one day after its takeover by Australian engineering consultancy, GHD. The news of the liquidation came as a surprise to Architecture & Design who only a week prior had read that GHD was busy finalising its acquisition of the Adelaide architecture firm and that they were looking forward to consolidating the workforce and portfolios of both firms .

7. Secrets of skinny skyscrapers: 5 slender towers and how they do it

From this list to another, our compilation of five slender skyscrapers from around the world included skinny designs from the likes of SHoP Architects (New York), DLN Architects & Engineers (Hong Kong) and Triptyque (Brazil), as well as our very own BKK architects and Fender Katsalidis.

Check them out and comment about your favourite or, alternatively, answer our question: ‘How skinny can we go?’

8. Seven Australian firms make World Architecture 100 – Woods Bagot leaps to 7th place

The top 100 list of architectural firms compiled by Building Design of UK —an international ranking based on architecture firms by size - was announced in January and seven Australian practices made the list. Woods Bagot, which employs 792 architects, was Australia’s highest ranked and came in at 17th, but Hassell architects pipped Woods Bagot to be named Australasia’s highest earner, grossing $99 million in 2013 compared to Woods Bagot’s $74 million. 

9. 2014 Sustainability Awards Announced

With 70 finalists and eight category winners, the 2014 Sustainability Awards were the biggest and most successful yet. Judges were thrilled with both the standard of the projects as well as the commitment from their designers in pursuing the most holistic methods for creating sustainable buildings.  The Commons by Breathe Architecture in Melbourne was selected from a pool of eight category winners to be honoured with the Best of the Best Award for 2014.

10. Five impressive integrated solar solutions for buildings

While harnessing solar energy isn’t a new phenomenon, the way it is harnessed and where it can be harnessed from is changing and adapting to suit aesthetic desires from clients. Our list of five impressive integrated solar solutions includes innovative ways to incorporate solar energy into your new building beyond the use of standardised PV solar panels.