Sydney-based designer and self-professed foodie Matt Woods is known for his unbridled aesthetic. Motifs of his oeuvre include beautifully repurposed objects, attention to a material, and a conceptual design approach, all of which show up again and again in his significant body of work—a plethora of cafes, restaurants, bars, and retail spaces. His designs don’t hit you over the head with historic references or millennial stylistic nuances. Rather, the overall effect stems from a pleasantly unexpected aesthetic; where if you were to take all furniture, wall coverings, light fixtures, and all other elements apart and separate them into a collected pile, it would look like those things wouldn't normally go together—and yet somehow, they do and to an impressive degree. Enter the otherworldly atmosphere of the Messenger Cafe, a sweeping space swathed in terrazzo. The materiality of the aggregate-manufactured tiles that clad most of the space has become a metaphor for the scheme: beauty found in irregularly and seeming lack of uniformity. The walls, floors, countertops, and caramel leather cushioned banquettes seating are also anchored by terrazzo slabs produced by Fibonacci Stone. Woods are implemented in steeple-like triangle planes, placed in the foreground of the cafe's curtain walls. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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Nestled into a small inner-city suburb of Sydney sits a new business school facility for the University of Sydney. The building, designed by Woods Bagot across three of their fifteen global offices, consolidates facilities that were once scattered across nine buildings on campus while supporting a student body of over 6,000 students. The massing of the building weaves into the context of the neighborhood, unified by a terra-cotta cladding system with carefully selected coloration that help to blend in with surrounding Victorian-era worker’s terraces. The building envelope of the University of Sydney's Abercrombie Business School is composed of three components: an all-glass undulating base level, a window wall enclosing classrooms and offices, and an exterior screen assembly composed of terra-cotta baguettes. Matt Stephenson, senior associate at Woods Bagot, said a primary focus of the design team was developing a project that was contextually sensitive. “With the enclosure, the challenge was to maintain a singular identity and dynamic expression for the overall academic building.” The team conducted color theory research, arriving at a scheme that balances “background” coloration of insulated metal panels on the building envelope with “foreground” terra cotta screen colors. A color palette of unglazed and white glazed terra cotta was selected which allows the two facade layers to visually merge, creating a texture inspired by sandstone local to the area. The terra-cotta screen is composed of repetitive baguettes, dynamically arranged in response to program and solar orientation. The architects “unfolded” each elevation, designing orthogonally by setting up a series of operations that began with a uniform screen density. They overlaid a solar analysis and a programmatic analysis of the base building skin that differentiated between room type and activity level. This zoning of the elevation helped inform where baguettes could be eliminated within each facade. In active zones, the architects deleted over 35 percent of the baguettes to allow light and air into the active program spaces. Additional baguettes were culled in response to eye-height views, localized areas of seating, and areas of the facade that were obstructed by adjacent buildings. The last step was to rotate the baguettes on elevations that received the most severe sunlight in order to increase their ability to act as a sunshade while maintaining visual porosity. The result was a dynamic system assembled from standard componentry.The project evolved between Woods Bagot’s Sydney office, located 30 minutes from the site, and their New York and San Francisco offices. The project teams would share design models on a daily basis, which, thanks to time zone differences, allowed for nearly continuous project development. Stephenson said firm benefits from expertise in multiple offices around the world, and that in the years since the early design phases of USBS, cloud-based model sharing has significantly improved, enabling for more streamlined workflows.
A plethora of big names are gunning for a $1.1 billion tower in Sydney, Australia. From the U.S., HOK, SOM, and KPF are vying for the commission. A stellar list of firms in their own right, British firms Foster + Partners and David Chipperfield Architects are also in running, alongside Australia’s BVN and Hassell. The lucrative project is an office skyscraper backed by developer Lendlease and located on 182 George Street. Nestled within Sydney's, Circular Quay—a prime piece of real estate—the office, according to the Architect's Journal, would climb to 813 feet. Tenants look set to gain access to vistas over the waterfront that look onto the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House. If built, the tower would be the tallest in the country. A masterplan is also said to be accompanying the scheme. On their website, Lendlease said that the scheme will "promote connectivity from George Street to Pitt Street, through to Circular Quay and maximise integration with transport infrastructure." In the statement, the developer goes on to say:
The project will deliver new quality commercial premises and new urban places in an environmentally sustainable way. A vibrant public place will be created with new urban amenity, including a public bike hub and public plazas with dining options, shopping, entertainment and leisure, delivering a new destination in Circular Quay for residents, visitors and workers. This will help to affirm Sydney's position as a globally relevant, intelligent, and innovative metropolis. It is also in alignment with the City of Sydney's vision to create activated areas and new public spaces.
The development is one of many touted/in the works for the area. Danish studio 3XN Architects is currently designing Quay Quarter Tower—a 49-storey office tower in the area of which they beat Japanese firm SANAA and MVRDV for the right to design. Meanwhile, the Sydney Opera House is undergoing a massive renovation courtesy of Australian firm ARM. Unlike his compatriots, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma won the commission for two high-rise residential towers earlier on this year. That project is due to cost $742 million and will offer two towers rising to 57 and 28 storeys, set for completion in 2018.
The government of the Australia's Southeastern state of New South Wales (NSW) has released images of an upgrade to the Sydney Opera House. Designed by Pritzker Prize winning Danish architect Jørn Utzon and built in 1973, the opera venue is listed as a World Heritage Site. The interior refurbishment will be the building's biggest upgrade in its 43-year history. Carried out by "controversial" Australian studio ARM, the work is part of a $155 million (USD) Cultural Infrastructure Fund scheme put forward by NSW state authorities. This year, ARM were awarded the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the country's highest architecture award. NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said the work represents the "biggest upgrade to the Opera House since it opened 43 years ago.” As for the upgrades themselves, extensive changes will be made to enhance the hall's acoustic performance. According to a survey from 2011, the Sydney Opera House was named as the third worst classical music venue in Australia in a list of 20. Changes then will see automatic drapes installed along with bespoke acoustic reflectors and in the concert hall. New automated stage risers will also improve acoustical performance meanwhile, for performances using amplified sound, a 3D surround-sound system will be put in place. In addition to this, a new, quieter air-conditioning system will be installed in a bid to reduce background noise. "For the first time the Concert Hall will deliver the true ambitions of the original creators of this incredible building,” said Sydney Symphony Orchestra Managing Director Rory Jeffes. The building's acoustic properties however, while a primary focus, aren't the only changes in line. Accessibility will be greatly improved thanks to the addition of 26 wheelchair seating options inside the concert hall along with numerous elevators installed throughout the building. “The Opera House, a ‘masterpiece of human creative genius,’ belongs to us all and is central to our identity as Australians,” said Louise Herron, CEO of the opera house. “These renewal projects are designed to ensure the Opera House continues to evolve, welcoming and inspiring people in as many ways as possible.” Meanwhile, Sydney resident Graham Sachse commented how it was "remarkable the opera house was being refurbished. "Sydney-siders tend to take the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House for granted," he said speaking to AN. "They sort of just blend into the cityscape in the day to day rush. The NSW State Government does not have a great track record with historic building conservation or public works especially in the 1960s and '70s. The Queen Vitoria Building was saved minutes away from the wrecking ball and we lost iconic hotels like the Australia Hotel and the Adams Hotel and all but one of the grand old picture theaters." Sachse went on to add: "Let's hope that whoever is designing the refit [ARM] gets it right." Construction for the upgrades is expected to begin in 2019 with the building being opened and available for use again in 2021 two years before its 50th anniversary in 2023.
In a commentary against waste-producing lifestyles, Indian artist creates a sculpture made from 70,000 bottle caps
Indian artist Arunkumar HG has created a somewhat tongue-in-cheek calling out of our throwaway, waste-producing lifestyles with a shoreline sculpture made from nearly 70,000 bottle screw caps. The artist amassed the collection from his neighborhood over the course of a year, carefully stacked the caps, and connected them in vertical configurations using steel filaments. An undulating, horseshoe-like form resulted, resembling, from afar, a mosaic that is pleasant to behold courtesy of the various colors. “There is a huge imbalance in between our sustainable ecology and our contemporary living practices,” the artist told Designboom. Titled Droppings and the Dam(n), the sculpture is made from bottle caps sourced from Arunkumar’s town of Gurgaon, India, to “map the consumption pattern of the society at the time” and show the scale of waste produced within a limited time period. The sculpture was built for the most recent edition of "Sculpture by the Sea" in Aarhus, Denmark, a government-funded public arts project originating on Sydney’s world-famous Bondi beach. “I have always loved large community arts events like 'Opera in the Park' and 'Symphony Under the Stars', especially the way total strangers sit next to each other listening to music while enjoying a picnic dinner and a few glasses of wine,” David Handley, founding director of Sculpture by the Sea, wrote in a post on the official website explaining the reason he started the initiative. “To me this sense of community is too rarely displayed or available in the modern world.” The month-long public art exhibition is Denmark’s largest visual arts event and typically attracts half a million visitors.
When it comes to a famous landmark, to what extent does locale add to its majesty? An inventive design competition posted to Australian virtual design studio DesignCrowd explored this question with a challenge to designers to reposition the world’s most hyped monuments in all-new locations using high-resolution images. Designers were tasked with making the extrication of the Big Ben look believable, inserting in its place the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, or the Great Wall of China. The first-place accolade went to a Photoshop-aholic who had supplanted Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral in place of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Snagging second place was a seamless overlay of the Roman Colosseum where the Sydney Opera House had once stood. Meanwhile, another designer made the Sydney Opera House seem a natural addition to the Thames riverfront overlooked by the London Eye. Another creative effort saw the Hollywood sign superimposed on the hills along which the Great Wall of China undulates. The design brief, posted to the crowdsourced graphic design bidding site, received 92 designs from 25 designers.
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.
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.
Following it's opening in 2009, urban planners all over the world have been keen on acquiring their own versions of New York's much-lauded High Line. Sydney is the latest city to enter the fray, selecting a 500-meter stretch of abandoned railway as a foundation for the Goods Line, an urban park and public space, replete with bike paths, study pods and outdoor workspaces catering to local students. The construction is a two stage process. Work on the Northern phase will commence this month and connect the Powerhouse Museum to Frank Gehry's confusingly named and fairly unpleasant addition to the UTS campus, the Chau Chak Wing Building. The second portion will reshape an existing pedestrian walkway and is set to begin following the projected November 2014 completion date of Goods Line North. The project arrives with a promotional video, offering a sleek fly-through of the space as the requisite techno soundtrack pulsates gently in the background. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority is leading the initiative, working to realize a design by ASPECT Studios and Choi Ropiha Fighera(CHROFI). A feasibility study regarding potential further extension is currently underway as the team mulls the possibility of continuing the Goods Line into other portions of Sydney's Cultural Ribbon.
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.
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 Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat held its 11th annual awards symposium Thursday, bestowing architect Helmut Jahn and structural engineers Charles Thornton and Richard Tomasetti with lifetime achievement recognition and awarding Doha Tower the title of 2012’s Best Tall Building. Ateliers Jean Novel’s cylindrical landmark for the burgeoning Qatar capital is the first tall building to use a diagonal grid of reinforced concrete columns in a cross shape. This innovation leaves open the central core, creating a stunning space at the tip of the tower that makes perhaps the best use of the building’s intricately detailed facade. In the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Hermann Hall, CTBUH also awarded one building in each of four geographical regions with Best Tall Building awards, with each recipient presenting their work. The Absolute World Towers in Mississauga, Ontario took home the Americas award. Architect Ma Yansong remarked that high-rises increasingly resemble machines, but his work aims to make tall buildings more human. See AN's past coverage for more on all the award-winners. SOM’s Al Hamra Firdous Tower in Kuwait City and Progetto CMR’s Complesso Garibaldi Tower 2 in Milan received honors as featured finalists. Jahn, whose 40-year portfolio of built work includes the Sony Center in Berlin, Liberty Place in Philadelphia and the MGM Veer Towers in Las Vegas, said some architects forget that very tall buildings have a responsibility to reflect the character and spirit of the cities whose skylines they alter. During the question portion of the morning presentations, he also lamented the loss of architects “who would just throw their drawings at the client,” calling for less “pussyfooting” and more boldness in design today. In another crowd-pleasing moment, Charlie Thornton said engineering is essentially simple when it is not obfuscated by self-important professors. “We need to get rid of calculus teachers,” he said. “They are destroying future engineers.” “I’m not very popular with engineering schools,” he added. Thornton’s name has become practically synonymous, as has his partner Richard Tomasetti’s, with tall building engineering. Before the days of BIM and Catia, Thornton said, he would calculate building stresses on yellow legal pads during long flights. $5 million of computer calculations later, he said, his longhand calculations would be within 10 percent.