Complementing the transit nature of the tunnel environment, the façade design generates a sense of visual movement and energy for vehicular traffic and passers-by.RPS Group has designed a facade cladding system to Brisbane Australia’s Legacy Way project – a $1.5 billion tunneling project that included the urban and architectural landscape design as well as tunnel portals, ventilation facilities, noise barriers, and roadside landscapes. The project was recently named Australia’s top project at the 2015 National Infrastructure Awards. One key aspect of the design is a facade cladding system developed in collaboration with UAP Factory. The metal bar assembly attaches to the concrete walls and an open facade of the ventilation facility to provide a patterned effect for high-speed vehicular traffic. The digitally sourced pattern is fabricated by twisting steel bars arrayed perpendicular to the viewer. They are selectively twisted to produce momentary thin nodes. These nodes, spread throughout the field of the system, produce a pattern legible at a large scale to high-speed traffic. The assembly is noteworthy for its ability to produce image-like effects with factory-controlled fabrication techniques and conventional installation details. Prefabrication of the panels further added to the economy of the system. “Our aim was to balance Legacy Way’s design and infrastructure components to create an attractive, safe and seamless connection that integrates with local communities,” RPS Landscape Architecture Principal Philip Kleinschmidt explained in a press release. The design team tracked their movements around Australia for one year via GPS, and translated the resulting patterns into a layered graphic patterning system. A base layer of flatbars on edge is fixed back to the building on two horizontal rails. A secondary layer was established by mechanically twisting the flatbar ninety degrees to create undulating fields of solid and void. A tertiary system introduces a ridge detail via triangular fins to create depth change across the facade. These visual effects were then tested through an iterative digital modeling phase. “3d visualization and modeling was used to test pattern applications and understand the overall aesthetic once the system was rolled out en masse,” Amanda Harris, UAP’s Senior Associate and Design Manager, told AN. Harris said that this was a project concerning material properties: “The major constraint was ensuring efficiency of material, investigating and proving up the density (and therefore overall linear meterage) of material required to create the desired visual impact.” Digital models, scale physical models, and eventually larger mockups were produced to allow physical testing of the assembly and to confirm its desired visual effects. Harris said the mockups provided an essential feedback loop: “The twisting process itself was limited by the material, and it was important to understand and avoid twisting radiuses becoming too tight, to avoid causing stress and tearing of the aluminum.”
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"It has never looked the same on any two times I have been to site."JCY Architects and Urban Designers have created a student services building on the Australian campus of Edith Cowan University that acknowledges the cultural identity of local Aboriginal community while providing sculptural infrastructure linking the campus community through a series of landscaped environments. The major elements of the building are an elevated concrete podium helping to negotiate a steep grade change, and a perforated aluminum solar shade. The project acts as a web with a central internal vertical spine atrium linked to various programs with a set of interconnected timber clad stairways. An elevated concrete podium navigating a significant grade change is formally derived from fluid dynamics studies of the flow of water through Australian billabong waterways. The podium's folded and sculpted white concrete soffit and faceted columns create their own seductive landscape, 'eroded' and opened up as would be found in nature when stone is sculpted by water. The architects designed the building in a way that makes future conversion to classroom space possible. This was achieved by incorporating “bubbledeck” concrete floor plates. This voided-slab forming system reduces the weight of the slab, increasing efficiency and reducing overall cost. The long span system allows for more slender columns, a generous structural grid spacing of around 30 feet by 30 feet, and a reduction of the shear walls required within the open plan layout. The architects also accounted for the maximum future utility spaces that would be required with a future change of use, which they say required over 30 percent redundant floor area. Embedded within the fabric of the interior and exterior skins are a number of themes which were developed through a collaboration between the architects and ECU’s Cultural Liason Officer from Kurrongkurl Katitjin and the local Noongar community. One outcome is a gold anodized perforated aluminum screen that folds around three upper levels of the building. Patterning is derived from curved, overlapping patterns of the chest feathers of a Carnarby Cockatoo, and creates a layered undulating effect. The perforation of the panels derived from manipulations to photographs of chest feathers from a black cockatoo. Hole diameters correspond to light values on the photograph – the darker the pixels, the larger the openings. Data from the open percentage of each panel was used in shading calculations to comply with Building Code Glazing Performance Criteria. Will Thomson, Principal at JCY, says the major constraints with this shading system were related to costs: “We could have no more than 8 different hole punch diameters to fit the project budget, and once these had been determined they were carefully set-out at 1:1 shop drawing over the panel drawings. They varied between 20-40% open area to meet the ESD requirements.” This aesthetic is introduced to the interior glazing system through a custom ceramic frit pattern and textile design of the carpeting. The fabrication and assembly process included several full size prototypes, which helped to resolve panel geometry. Thomson says the mockups resulted in many fabrication changes to allow for tolerance, movement of dissimilar metals, panel assembly details, material selections, and structural connection details. The anodized finish of the aluminum skin is inspired by the shimmering scales of a butterfly wing. Thomson says the anodized finish consists of a range of colors: “This has created an amazing patina of differing gold panels across large swatches of elevation and added a texture to the facade that would otherwise be lacking. The way the building changes color during the day, across the seasons is always a welcome delight. It has never looked the same on any two times I have been to site since the cladding works have been completed.”
Zaha Hadid is designing another skyscraper in Australia. Following designs for a trio of towers in Brisbane and a pair of towers in Gold Coast, the London-based architect has just submitted plans for another tower, this time in Melbourne. Like the Brisbane and Gold Coast towers, the proposed project, a 54-story mixed-use skyscraper, also employs a sculptural, tapered expression, creating more open space at the base. Despite the notion that Melbourne is reaching an oversupply of residential housing units, the tower will comprise 420 apartments, 118,000 square feet of retail space, and 60,000 square feet of commercial office space. “If more residential units are not supplied to meet demand, prices will simply become too expensive,” Zaha Hadid Architects Director Gianluca Racana told Australia’s Financial Review. Other features of the project include a public ground-level plaza as well as a new north-south laneway connecting Collins Street, where the tower will be located, with adjacent Francis Street. Due to recent height and density restrictions for the Central Business District set forth by Minister of Planning Richard Wynne, the development of Hadid’s newest Australian tower was delayed. Plans for the project underwent significant height reduction to comply with the new rules, which have been criticized by developers since they were announced this past September. Even with the alterations to its design, the project’s plot ratio is still beyond the maximum requirement allowed under the new law. The developer is hoping that the project’s proposed contributions to the public realm, including the public plaza and the new thoroughfare, will prove exceptional when plans are sent to the minister for approval.
In rural Victoria, Australia, a local firm Branch Studio Architects designed Pump House, a shed-like home that stores a water pump, farming equipment, and, sometimes, the clients, when they visit their horse, George. Pump House is built of plywood, corrugated sheeting, rough-sawn timber, and other low-cost materials. The unfinished plywood and timber clad the interior, which consists of an open living room and kitchen, separated from a bedroom and studio by a bathroom. Since the kitchen wraps the bathroom walls, there is one, central services core. The house is also minimal in environmental impact. It is oriented North-South to absorb the winter sun, and all energy and fuel are provided from off-grid sources. For instance, solar panels provide power, rainwater tanks supply water, and a wood-burner gives-off heat. The exterior is wrapped in black, corrugated, iron panels. Since the front and rear walls are glazed floor-to-ceiling, the clients have tree-house-like views of the lake, greenery, and George. In the summer, these windows and doors are opened for cross-ventilation, a natural way to cool the house. This craftsmanship, layout, and landscape allow Pump House, a small, cozy home, to have a sense of spaciousness.
Aesop, the Australian cult skincare brand, just released its newest project—a microsite entitled Taxonomy of Design dedicated to the architecture and design behind Aesop's stores. In addition to the company’s reputation for high-quality bath products, Aesop has created a name for itself in the design realm thanks to stores designed by the likes of Snøhetta, Ilse Crawford, Torafu, and Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Taxonomy of Design is dedicated to these spaces, showcasing the special details and ongoing themes through their stores. The digital guide also offers a set of interviews with the designers and architects behind these stores, focusing on the creative process, material selection, and the store’s context in its surroundings. AN sat down with creative director Marsha Meredith to learn more and to hear a bit about Aesop’s newest Chicago location with Norman Kelly. The Architect's Newspaper: How do you approach designing each store? What elements stay consistent and what elements change? Marsha Meredith: Each of our stores is unique. We take inspiration from neighborhoods, past and current streetscapes, and then seek to add something of value. Collaborating with architects also allows new and poetic interpretations of Aesop, conceptually and physically, through the materiality and design features. Consistency for us means remembering at all times what our stores are meant to be: Places of respite where you can thoughtfully explore our skincare formulations. How does location factor into the materials palette? Are there essential materials you include in each store? Architecturally, our method is to work with what is already there, weaving ourselves into the core and fabric of the street rather than imposing ourselves upon a locale. Materiality often responds to a local history and allows us to be playful too. At Aesop Le Marais, in Paris, Ciguë repurposed 427 small polished steel discs—conventionally used to close plumbing pipes throughout the city— to create shelving for our products. For Aesop Nolita, our first U.S. store, Jeremy Barbour reclaimed 2,800 New York Times, cut them into 400,000 strips, and stacked them to craft “bricks” of paper that line the walls and create joinery. As the leaves yellow with the years, they become a testament to the time captured within and passing around the pages. How do you select an architect for each store? We select architects not only for the excellence of their work but also their personality; their capacity to communicate and connect with us is integral to the realization of new spaces. In order to understand their motivations, we like to meet in person for a meal and conversation. The minimum criterion to be considered for a signature store project is usually five years’ professional experience though we are also keen to work with rising talents. We’re opening this fall our first Chicago store, conceived by Norman Kelley. This is their first retail project—their work usually lives in a more conceptual, artistic area. We’re excited to see the mark they will leave on an Aesop space. Could you tell us more about Norman Kelley's upcoming Midwest store? Aesop Bucktown will open later this fall. Carrie and Thomas are working with the Chicago common brick as a primary material. Their design investigates the geometry of Chicago's urban city grid and overlays grid patterns, putting our perceptions at play. Carrie and Thomas’ work can be currently seen at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the Architecture Biennal.
Piggybacking off the axiom that sex sells and anything Beyoncé-related has the potential to break the Internet, Australian architecture firm Elenberg Fraser has nabbed planning approval for a “Beyoncé tower” inspired by the superstar’s hourglass form. The Premiere Tower in Melbourne features an undulating shape that swells in and out at various points – purportedly a concession to “structural efficiency” in response to climate, wind, and “the limitations of the site.” To develop the unique form, the architects used parametric modeling, a type of responsive, computer-guided design where users can program in site-specific data so that the design corrects itself proportional to site constraints. “This project is the culmination of our significant research. The complex form – a vertical cantilever – is actually the most effective way to redistribute the building’s mass, giving best results in terms of structural dispersion, frequency oscillation and wind requirements,” Elenberg Fraser insists in a statement. More specifically, the 68-story structure is inspired by the dancers in Queen B’s music video, Ghost, released separately from her single ‘Haunted’ off her 2013 self-titled album. In it, naked dancers attempt to escape from cocoons of stretchy white fabric that adhere to their svelte figures, creating – if one were to really push it – amorphous towers of curve and sinew. Jokes have abounded over the Internet about the appealing possibility of living in Beyoncé's famous posterior. “For those more on the art than science side, we will reveal that the form does pay homage to something more aesthetic. We’re going to trust that you’ve seen the music video for Beyoncé’s Ghost,” say the architects. Located at 134 Spencer Street at the west end of Melbourne’s central business district, the tower will contain 660 apartments and 160 hotel rooms. The entire structure will be mounted on a stepped podium to be occupied by retail tenants. Public house the Savoy Tavern, which reopened in 2014 after being derelict for nearly 20 years, will be demolished to make way for the tower. Presently, the entire precinct will be replanned, with the goal of respecting its heritage buildings. “The whole precinct is designed with a more long-term view to urban design, creating a self-sustaining development,” says Elenberg Fraser. Construction for the $350 million project is estimated at 40 months, with no completion date yet announced. Meanwhile, controversy has ensued over the building’s potential to overshadow nearby Batman Park and the north bank of the Yarra River. The skyscraper, whose “spiraling curves recall the twists and turns of a woman dancing in black cloth,” joins the dubious leagues of MAD’s curvaceous, twisting skyscrapers in Mississauga, Canada, dubbed the “Marilyn Monroe towers” by local residents. The Chinese firm insists that the design arose as an “organic” antithesis to the boxy typology of urban buildings. With backup dancers becoming the architectural inspiration du jour, perhaps we can next expect a building modeled after Katy Perry’s Left Shark, AKA the Super Bowl Halftime Shark, which recently spawned a lookalike iPhone case designed by Perry herself.
Dutch ecopreneur Joost Bakker designs zero-waste homes, repurposes carcasses for his restaurant and delivers flowers
Vertical gardens fully obscure the home of eco garden entrepreneur Joost Bakker like a mossy overgrowth. The eco entrepreneur, a high school dropout and florist by trade, also designs zero-waste restaurants, composting toilets, freestanding vertical green walls, and houses built from straw for a laundry list of clients. His 6,500 square foot home in Monbulk, Australia, occupies a six-acre former cherry orchard, and is covered with a steel mesh normally used to reinforce concrete. This metal scaffolding holds 11,000 terra cotta pots of strawberries and shields the home from harsh hilltop sunlight. Beneath the mesh screen, the inner walls are insulated with straw bales behind a facade of corrugated, galvanized iron. “Our house stays beautifully warm in winter and cool in summer,” Bakker, who has parlayed the pet peeve of waste-producing industry into a career, told Gardenista. "Most people don't realize that straw is the world's most abundant waste product with over 1 billion farmers producing it. It's basically the stalk that's left over after the heads of rice, wheat, barley, and other grains are harvested." The Netherlands native harvests rainwater to wash dishes, mills his own oats, and folds others’ organic rejects into his own compost pile. The DIY home itself exemplifies the “reduce, reuse, recycle” ethos, built on a recycled concrete slab foundation and sporting walls sided with 150-year-old wood planks once used in the Woolloomooloo wharves in Sydney. Repurposed waste materials prevail indoors, too, with industrial-felt curtains shielding the windows, training-wire ceiling lamps, and unpolished plywood floors. On the driveway sits a spherical sculpture by the enterprising Bakker: a white ball of yarn bedecked with white butterflies. After turning restaurateur, carcasses have become the serial entrepreneur’s latest preoccupation. Last July Bakker opened Brothl, a high-end soup canteen where otherwise discarded though nevertheless reusable beef bones, seafood shells and chicken frames form the base of Bakker’s pungent, nutrient-dense soups. Bakker’s businesses enjoy the same cross-fertilization and managerial economies of a conglomerate: He trades the flowers he grows in his garden for bones to make soup at his restaurant, using the leftovers to feed his garden, which in turn supplies his restaurant.
Tokyo-based architecture firm SANAA has won an international competition to design a new modern wing for the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The firm beat out the likes of David Chipperfield, Renzo Piano, and Herzog & de Meuron for the commission, know as the "Sydney Modern Project." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sNbYB-YYak The $450 million scheme includes the creation of an entirely new building comprising three grass-topped pavilions set on existing parkland. This will double the size of the existing gallery. “We proposed making a number of plates, each containing a gallery,” SANAA's Kazuyo Sejima told ArchitectureAU. “The plates sit along the topography. So every plate has a slightly different relationship to nature.” SANAA will also be implementing strategies to increase daylight within the gallery's current 19th century home. Those involved in the selection process praised SANAA's scheme for the way it subtly adds to the gallery without dominating its existing building or the adjacent open space. SANAA's design will be refined over the next year, and is slated to be completed in 2021—just in time for the gallery's 150th birthday.
Home expansion becomes ungraceful when it dwarfs its context—be it Corinthian pillars among shingle-style houses or an imposingly large annex. With this in mind, a family of five decided to extend their modest weatherboard dwelling upward rather than outward. “Australia is wide and flat. As a result, our homes are wide and flat,” said Andrew Maynard Architects, which was commissioned for the project. Tower House in Victoria, Australia comprises a series of five interconnected, tower-like buildings with triangular roofs that not only heighten ceilings but compartmentalize the home into high-end, treehouse-like nooks and crannies for the twin eight-year-old boys to unleash their imaginations. The house now accommodates a library, an astroturfed getaway nook in the center of the home, and a study room for the kids with floor-to-ceiling shelving, over which a hammock-like net is suspended for them to relax and study. The triangular-shaped towers resemble a tiny village from the outside, but indoors, the home is much less compact than it appears. The family requested a home “for community, art and nature to come together,” and Tower House checks all three boxes. While the backyard is fenced off, the front yard has been transformed into a communal vegetable plot where visitors are welcome to help themselves or take up shovel and hoe. “Rather than simply extrude the existing structure, the new form runs along the south side to maximize sunlight exposure,” the architects wrote in Archdaily. Completed in 2014, the “anti-monolith” home was designed not to impose on the surrounding modest brick and weatherboard homes and country lane-like roads.
Admonishing your kids not to graffiti the walls may be forever futile. A new art installation by publicly deranged Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama entails children being given printed sheets of colored stickers and told to go to town on the walls, furniture, and fixtures of all-white living spaces. Everything from the upright piano to the cutlery and linens in the once-spartan rooms are dappled crazily in a disorienting clot of jarring primary colors. Over the course of two weeks, the Queensland Art Gallery’s pint-sized visitors “obliterated” the room with approximately 3.3 million stickers. According to Kusama, who has suffered hallucinatory visions of repeating patterns since childhood, the process of rendering the orderly space frenetic and unrecognizable is tantamount to “clearing the mind.” Paradoxes aside, dots became a cathartic outlet and Kusama’s trademark after she began to incorporate them into her artwork in the 1960s, at which time she actively rallied in anti-war demonstrations using the medium of art. “One day I was looking at the red flower patterns of the tablecloth on a table, and when I looked up I saw the same pattern covering the ceiling, the windows and the walls, and finally all over the room, my body and the universe,” said the 85-year-old artist, an outpatient at a Japanese mental institution since 1977. “I felt as if I had begun to self-obliterate, to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space, and be reduced to nothingness.” According to Kusama, the non-descript living spaces function as blank canvases to be “obliterated,” while the nature of constant flux as the artwork changes with every sticker application reflects the loss of control associated with mental illness. ‘The Obliteration Room’ is a vicarious foray into the artist's hallucinatory alternate reality. The installation is on view at the Queensland Art Gallery through April 19, 2015.
“Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment.” – Yayoi Kusama.
Known for being economical in terms of space and sticker price, prefabricated homes are also boasting increasingly abbreviated build times. One modest-sized dwelling in Castlemaine, Australia took a mere 10 days to construct and garnered an esteemed sustainability marque from PassivHaus to boot. One of the world’s fastest-growing energy performance standards, ‘Passive House’ accreditation is doled out solely to homes operating on 90 percent less energy than traditional homes. For consideration, three eco-friendly parameters are paramount: thermal performance, airtightness, and ventilation. The most efficient homes use the sun, internal heat sources, and heat recovery for insulation, avoiding the need for energy-guzzling radiators even in the icy throes of winter. At just 419 square feet, the Passive House in Castlemaine, Australia (the first in the country to receive this certification) comprises a wooden frame with wool and fiber insulation and a facade clad in steel to confer a modern look. Further insulation comes from the triple-glazed windows and specially engineered seals protecting the windows and floors, which is made from an air-tight membrane called Intello. Keeping the interior snug and toasty year-round is an energy recovery system which, contrary to ordinary logic, funnels air into the house, heating it in the winter and cooling it in the summer at low running cost while also keeping moisture out. The system also tamps down heat transfer, giving the exterior of the house a u-value (heat transfer coefficient) of 0.261 watts per square meter. The lower a home’s u-value, the better its insulation. As a result, annual heating, electricity and hot water demands for the Castlemaine Passivhaus are a mere 11 kilowatt hours per square foot. Designed by Australian architectural firm CARBONlite, which specializes in prefab homes, the various sections of the Castlemaine dwelling were built off-site over a 5-day period. Once assembled on site, the exterior was erected and the building made wind and watertight that same day. The house has a mono pitch roof with an overhang to provide shade and minimize overheating during Australia’s scorching summers.
The most famous architect in the world agrees that his latest building kind of looks like a crumpled brown paper bag. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Frank Gehry, the creator of the very wavy, very paper bag-y Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology, Sydney. "It is a container, maybe it is a brown paper bag," said the starchitect at the building's recent opening. "But it is flexible on the inside; there is a lot of room for change and movement which I think in the world today is essential." The structure has been so universally compared to the disposable sacks used to carry a child's lunch because of its waving brown brick facade, which certainly looks like crinkled paper—especially from a distance. To allow light into the 11-story bag—sorry, building—there are prominent, rectangular windows punched through the rippling facade. There are also large expanses of glass tucked behind the paper—sorry, brick. Taken altogether, the starchitect’s first completed project in Australia looks like a throwback to some of his early work with its heavy use of masonry. An interior staircase that is sheathed in a warped metallic skin is more in line with Gehry's recent projects. Since Gehry said the design was inspired by a tree house, the paper bag comparison is not ideal. When he was was recently asked if he was happy with the final product, he reportedly replied: "Oh boy, I’m Jewish and I feel guilty about everything." Hey, chin up, Gehry. It's not all bad news, Australia’s Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove said the building looked like “the most beautiful squashed brown paper bag” he had even seen. So, at the very least, it beat the competition. You can watch a timelapse video of the building's construction below.