A big “Happy 40th Birthday” goes out to the Sydney Opera House this year, which is still looking good in its middle age. Completed by Danish architect and Pritzker Prize–winner, Jørn Utzon, in 1973, the iconic performing arts center is now an internationally renowned late modernist architectural marvel. Originally, when Utzon entered the 1956 New South Wales Government sponsored competition to envision two performance halls on the Sydney Harbor, his design was discarded. However, his “entry created great community interest” and the jury was persuaded to choose him as the sole architect in the ambitious project. Utzon received the Pritzker Prize in 2003 and the building made the World Heritage List in 2007. The architect died one year later in Copenhagen but his vision lives on. Against a Sydney Harbor backdrop, the Sydney Opera House has become a graceful, yet dynamic symbol of Australia.
Posts tagged with "Australia":
Defying the standards of conventional landscaping, living walls take vegetated ground cover to the vertical extreme. For the past 30 years, French botanist and green enthusiast Patrick Blanc has made a quantum leap forward in the art of gardening by designing and building these living walls all over the globe. Blanc's latest project—One Central Park Tower—is in Sydney, Australia, where nature’s tranquil features join forces with dynamic city life. The project is a collaborative effort between Blanc and Jean Nouvel. When completed, the major mixed-use urban renewal housing plan will boast the world’s tallest vertical garden. The building consists of two adjoining residential towers connected by terraced gardens, built atop a retail center. Each tower measures 380 feet in height and consists of shops, cafes, restaurants, offices, 624 apartments, and 38 luxury penthouse suites. Over the years, Blanc has perfected the art of the vertical garden by using synthetic moss instead of soil for the growing medium. At One Central Park, he envisions covering up 50 percent of the building’s facade by incorporating 1,200 square feet of plants stretching from the 2nd floor to the 33rd floor. On the 24th floor, an immense sky garden projects 100 feet out over the park below. At night, the cantilever will act as a canvas for an LED light installation designed by artist Yann Kersale, with vines running up its supporting cables. The lower part of the cantilever will be equipped with an apparatus containing a heliostat, which will reflect sunlight down onto the surrounding gardens and naturally illuminating the building. The lush green tapestry of the structure's facade will be entwined with the foliage of the adjacent park in order to replicate the natural cliffs of the Blue Mountains, which are located in the Western part of Sydney. By using plants and natural sunlight, the design projects to reduce energy consumption and will help cut down the city's greenhouse gas emissions. One Central Park represents a shift towards a new contemporary design era; one that encapsulates all that the age of living and breathing architecture has to offer. Estimated completion date is set for January 2014. Images courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel / Patrick Blanc / Fraser Properties. Image below: Courtesy the messiah website.
A team led by Herzog & de Meuron has been unanimously selected for the redevelopment of Melbourne’s historic Flinders Street Station after beating out a star-studded shortlist that that included Zaha Hadid and Grimshaw. The team will be awarded a $1 million prize. The winning design aims to transform the iconic 1909 train station into a 21st century civic center and transportation hub, preserving the most beloved features of the landmark building while integrating it into a contemporary urban context. The proposal also incorporates cultural, retail, and civic programs within an adjacent 500,000 square foot site along the Yarra River, including a public art gallery, plaza, amphitheater, marketplace, and permanent space for arts and cultural festivals. While the old Flinders Street Station has become an icon of the city, especially the copper dome, grand arch, and distinctive clocks of its main façade, it could barely handle the nearly 100,000 straphangers who step onto its platforms each day. As Mark Loughnan of Melbourne-based Hassell told Building Design, “Today it is a place people generally choose to hurry through. Our design makes it a destination, with new buildings an features that will attract people to the precinct.” Borrowing formally from the arches of the existing station and unbuilt features of the original design, the new station is composed of long, rippling white vaults, perforated to allow for natural light and ventilation on train platforms. The vaults follow the alignment of the tracks, curving slightly to intuitively lead commuters through to the central plaza and outdoor amphitheater along the river’s edge. Across the plaza, four similarly styled, straight, white vaults house the civic, cultural, and retail functions. The new design is meant to ease commuter and pedestrian flows through thought the station while readying the site for potential future growth. According to Melbourne's Herald Sun, initial estimates place the cost of the new station between $1 billion-$1.5 billion.
Dutch firm OMA, Australian architecture firms HASSEL and Denton, Corker & Marshall, along with international design practice Populous have been selected to redevelop a large convention, exhibition, and entertainment district along Darling Harbour in Sydney. Developers Lend Lease will lead the creation of the 2.15 million-square-foot project called “Darling Harbour Live” that will include a red carpet entertainment venue, an exhibition center, a new residential neighborhood called The Haymarket —designed by Denton Corker & Marshall —and a 900 room hotel for which OMA led the conceptual design. As part of this urban renewal plan, there will also be a focus on outdoor public space with a renovated Tumbalong Park, which can accommodate 25,000 people as an outdoor event space; a new Harbourside Place, a palm tree lined street alongside the crystalline ICC; a Chinese Garden Square; and Haymarket Square, a central meeting spot for the Haymarket neighborhood with outdoor tables and seating. Australia's NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said in a statement that, “The redevelopment goes far beyond improving facilities—it’s also about re-shaping the city. Darling Harbor already attracts 25 million people a year and this development will create a more vibrant place on Sydney Harbor.” Redevelopment of the area will take place in phases as the projects replace existing structures like the current Sydney Convention & Exhibition Center, which will close in December of 2013 followed two years later by the Sydney Entertainment center in December of 2015. Construction of the new buildings is expected to be complete in 2016 and estimated to cost $1 billion.
The Venice Biennale is staged in an enormous old Arsenal building and in an urban park a few blocks away that houses 30 national pavilions. The first of these pavilions opened in 1907 and several were designed by famous architects like Josef Hoffmann (Austria), BBPR (Canada), Alvar Aalto (Finland), and Sverre Fehn (Nordic). The United States pavilion was designed by William Adams Delano. There have been very few buildings built in the garden since James Sterling designed the biennial book store in 1991, but just behind the U.S. pavilion the Australians are building a new exhibition space designed by Denton Corker Marshall. The Australian architects describe the pavilion as a simple structure or "a white box contained within a black box." The pavilion will open in 2015 for the 56th art biennale and its $6 million price tag will be paid for with private funds.
The water-logged city of Brisbane, Australia continues its massive clean up effort after January floodwaters devastated the region. ABC Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that is, has assembled two amazing sets (here and here) of interactive before and after photography showing just how bad the flood event really was. Before and after aerial photography for the entire city is posted online at NearMap. [ Via Information Aesthetics. ]