Won over by Westwyck

Last Sunday was Sustainable House Day in Melbourne and seeing that it was nice day out I thought I would check out some of the houses that were open to the public.

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Ten projects worth looking at

The timetable for the 2011 Presentation to Juries for the AIA Victorian Architecture Awards has floated across my desk and I thought I would take the opportunity of compiling a list of ten projects worth checking out. This year for some unknown reason the venue for the event has been moved from the Sidney Myer Asia Centre at the University of Melbourne to Monash University’s Faculty of Art and Design Building G so don’t tell me you haven’t been forewarned.

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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.

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.

Award winning architecture

melbourne-recital-centre

It was no surprise to see the Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Theatre Project by ARM take out all the big name awards Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter Awards as it was the standout project of the year by a significant margin.

In terms of surprises, it was a little surprising to see the Canada Hotel Redevelopment by Hayball take out the Multiple Housing Architecture Award knocking off Wood Marsh’s Balencea Apartments project for the named award. The Canada Hotel Redevelopment also managed to take out the Melbourne Prize as well.

It was also good to see one of my favourite architects, Multiplicity pick up an award for their Chrystobel project – which I saw presented to the juries and always thought it was a chance to pick up an award.

For all the awards and the respective winners, visit here.