Ten projects worth looking at – 2013 edition

vic juries 2013

It’s that time of year again with the 2013 Presentations to Juries for the RAIA Victorian Architecture Awards taking place on the 23rd and 24th March and has been the case I will take the opportunity to compile a list of the projects I believe are worthing having a look at on these days. Again this year the presentations will be held at Monash University’s Faculty of Art and Design Building G.

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A night out at the ACT Architecture Awards

There were plenty of sharp suits and elegant dresses as the architects of Canberra  put on their best threads for the 2012 ACT Architecture Awards held last night at the very swish Hyatt Hotel Canberra. The big winners on the night were Collins Caddaye Architects who took out the major prize of the night – The Canberra Medallion – with their St Gregory’s Hall project in Queanbeyan.

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Sticking to convention

For the third year in a row, the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter has stuck to convention (pun intended) at its annual awards night by handing the big awards to the biggest project entered, namely the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre by NH Architecture.

Personally, I’m not exactly a big fan of this project which I premise by noting that I only have been inside its foyer. In particular what irks me about the project is its lack of respect to DCM’s Melbourne Exhibition Centre and that your first glimpse of it as you enter the city via the Westgate Freeway is of the DFO outlet.

Also not a fan is Melbourne architect and RMIT adjunct professor of architecture, Norman Day  who stated that it:

”Suffers the weight of trying hard to be up to date and fulfil a giant need for providing space.These two characteristics are not necessarily opposite, but perhaps a less effusive shaping of walls and ceilings so they appear different would have saved many trees.”

Other winners are on the night were Wood Marsh for their Port Phillip Winery and Eastlink Freeway and Lyons for the Lyon HouseMuseum which I visited and was impressed by a few weeks back. idontwearblack favourites, McBride Charles Ryan also picked up an award won for their Fitzroy High School project.

Whilst the usual suspects picked up awards some of the smaller and lesser known practices such as Breathe Architecture, March Studio and another idontwearblack favourite, Multiplicity also were recognised for their work.

Housemuseum

After being rather impressed when it was presented at the Presentations to Juries for the Victoria Architecture Awards I finally got the opportunity the other weekend to have a look at the Lyon Housemuseum in the flesh.

For those that are interested the house is open every Sunday for guided tours and it was one of these tours in which I found myself on. It’s not so much an architectural tour but an art tour as Corbett Lyon, whose house it is, shows off his rather impressive Australian contemporary art collection (aside from a having a little too much Patricia Puccini for my liking). However, there is some discussion of the ideas behind the architecture, in particular the idea of a ‘housemuseum’.

In essence what is being explored here is the idea of combine of the family home with an art museum/gallery something that aforementioned Corbett Lyon claims has never been done before. As a series of gallery spaces the building works extremely well but because the family spaces are very much private spaces and thus it is difficult to really ascertain how they work. But in terms of maintaining the privacy of the occupants it certainly does work.

In terms of a building it is an extremely highly finished product with its black zinc cladding particularly eye catching (my photos on a rather dull day don’t do it justice). This combines extremely well with the interiors whose main feature is the plywood lined ceiling that has had text digitally printed onto its surface.

So overall I would say as a small gallery it works extremely well but without a proper viewing and experience of the private spaces it is difficult to conclude as to whether it works as a housemuseum.

Presentation inspiration

Every year I make sure I attend the Presentation to Juries for the Victoria Architecture Awards for the reason that it always provides me with inspiration and also reaffirms my faith in architecture.

So it was with much excitement I headed down to the Sidney Myer Asia Centre today to check out the latest offerings for this year’s awards. Usually with these presentations I just park myself in the Residential category for the afternoon and watch everything that is offer but this year I thought I would do things differently and check out a few different categories.

For the most part I was pretty impressed with what I chose to see being particularly inspired by the Lyon Housemuseum by Lyons and two projects by perennial idon’twearblack favourite McBride Charles Ryan, The Yardmasters Building and Fitzroy High School. Another project that I didn’t get to see but a reliable source said was the best they had seen so far that day was the March Studio by Brent Knoll.

One project that particularly surprising was the work by Cox Architects and Planners and their series of interventions and renovations throughout the University of Melbourne, one of which I only had stumbled on just before the presentation and took some photos, which I have included below. Coincidentally, seeing the presentation by Cox Architects was also a surprise as I walked into the room expecting another presentation.

Before I finish, no visit to the Presenation to Juries would be complete without seeing a presentation by Multiplicity. Not only do I enjoy most of their projects, but their presentations are always fun to watch with the banter between Tim and Sioux Clark being a particularly highlight.