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.

Australian pavilion at Expo 2010 . . . meh

Today someone sent me a link from showing Shanghai’s preparation for Expo 2010, which will be the biggest of its kind. Situated amongst all those great pictures were those of the Australian Pavilion by Wood Marsh. It was my first glimpse of the project that I have only heard much about and to be honest I was a little disappointed. It looks like a combination of two previous projects by the esteemed Melbourne firm, ACCA and their Yve Apartment building, and when you look at in comparison to the other pavilions it is not that impressive and in part a little bland. Whereas, the pavilion by Thomas Heatherwick  for the UK Pavilion and the Spanish Pavilion by EMBT Miralles-Tagliabue are eye-catching, the Australian effort is a disappointing effort for Wood Marsh’s first real significant foray into international architecture. In the future commissions such as this shouldn’t be handed out based on reputation alone, but the design itself. Personally, I would love to see a young up and coming architectural firm get the gig. As for my favourite image, it has to be this one. If only they left the rubbish there for the Expo itself.

Award winning architecture


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.