JOURNAL/ December/2014


Bendigo Childcare Centre Opens
Responding to the landscape beyond...

Architecture at Play in the Natural World

Envisaged as natural oasis for children, the new childcare centre for Bendigo Hospital positively responds to its location between the site’s heritage brick wall and the landscape beyond.

Bates Smart’s Studio Director Tim Leslie explains the design intent: “Our first step was to strip back external and internal additions to the historic 1920’s Yarrington House – the former Superintendent’s Residence. A new timber pavilion was then sympathetically linked to the house, creating the additional capacity required for the centre. The pavilion opens onto a generous timber deck which embraces a large existing oak tree, allowing a direct connection to nature and providing shade for the children.

“A series of playrooms and staff areas are accessed from a naturally lit corridor framing views to the landscape. Clear lines of sight allow for excellent observation between internal and external areas. We worked closely with the operator, Jenny’s ELC, to optimise the spaces in the most operationally suitable way. The internal palette was restrained and calm with fresh white wall finishes with timber trim and floors throughout.

“Creating connections between the built environment and the natural world is fundamental to well being, and we are delighted to be given the opportunity to provide a childcare centre that embraces this relationship.”

The Bendigo Hospital is on track to open in 2016.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney
Design Competition Win

 “The vision is to design a building that simultaneously embraces the past and the future”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

Bates Smart has won an invited competition to design the new Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. The new faculty building will be connected to the historic HD Watt Building creating a collaborative hub between them.

The design vision is to create a building that simultaneously embraces the past and the future. Based on the University’s courtyard typology it will integrate seamlessly into the historic campus. The courtyard is reinterpreted as an active ‘social heart’ for the faculty, providing a covered communal space that encourages social interaction.

The outer façade presents a contemporary interpretation of the heritage context, utilising fine grain architectural sunshade elements to maximise amenity and provide a new public facade for the faculty on Parramatta Road. A State Significant Development Application is planned for March 2015.

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James Milledge, Director of Bates Smart
A Life in Architecture

 “A tower of strength, a great strategist and an advocate for good professional practice”

Roger Poole


James Milledge is a man of many talents. He is, in no particular order: a father, husband, sailor, wine buff, friend, mentor and award winning architect. Jim is also a Director of Bates Smart, retiring this month after thirty years with the practice. 

We have assembled some images of just a few buildings from Jim’s prolific career. A talent that has contributed to the changing nature of Melbourne’s and also Sydney’s architecture.  

Chairman Roger Poole has penned this tribute.

James Andrew Milledge BArch FRAIA

Throughout his thirty year career with Bates Smart, Jim Milledge has been a tower of strength, a great strategist and an advocate for good professional practice.

Jim is an extraordinarily competent all-around architect who spreads confidence and energy throughout the firm. He is enthusiastic but careful, frank and fair-minded. Jim values everyone’s contribution. He respects those who achieve things quietly as well as those who move ahead with bold new thinking.

The construction industry is full of strong personalities. There are many people who put great pressure on our teams to perform. We understand this is often needed to achieve goals quickly, but there are times when we need to buy time to do our work properly. Like the good Sydney/Hobart sailor that he is, Jim is afraid of nothing. The more challenging the conditions, the calmer and more focused Jim becomes, and the more determined to steer the right course.

Jim listens to everyone’s views, and then negotiates the time to do things well while maintaining appropriate speed and energy.

In complex and challenging situations, he understands how to engender team play. Jim has been responsible for the direction and delivery of many of our most important buildings, and has driven the high standard of design, documentation and construction which has become a Bates Smart trademark.

For thirty years Jim has been a critical member of the team which has transformed Bates Smart from a firm with a great lineage to one of the region’s leading architectural and interiors practices. He has led our technological advance from the T square to 3d documentation and virtual reality renderings.

Jim is a very fair and ethical leader. He has helped maintain our reputation as an astute, compassionate practice and nurturing employer. Jim always seeks to do the right thing by our clients, treat our incredibly talented team well, and preserve our reputation. Jim commands the profession’s respect as a thoroughly decent person who does things well and treats people as they deserve to be treated.

Jim is a skilled architect, a source of wise counsel, superb at managing difficult situations and people, and most of all a great friend to all of us. We will all miss him very much.

Roger Poole

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The Australian Synchrotron
In the press

Fashion Plate

The Australian Synchrotron building by Bates Smart provided a stunning backdrop for Broadsheet’s latest fashion focus on metallic trends in women’s clothing. Read more here

Creative Collaboration
Wearing the City: Architecture on the Body

The ICI Building has never looked so good!

The field of architecture boasts a fabled history of dress- ups. At New York’s Beaux-Arts Ball of 1931, at least two dozen architects came dressed as buildings they had designed — including Ralph Walker as the Wall Street Building, and William Van Alen as the Chrysler Building, and Leonard Schultze as the Waldorf-Astoria.

Fast-forward to 2014 and students from Monash University Art, Design and Architecture (MADA) collaborated with leading Melbourne architecture practices including Bates Smart to translate the city’s iconic buildings into wearable forms.  

Bates Smart’s Johan Hermijanto and Chris White worked with students to dissect our own ICI House and re-imagine it at a human scale, experimenting with a range of materials to test the way they work with the body’s movements. 

The crossover of vocabularies between fashion and architecture was explored in techniques including folding, wrapping, draping, suspension, surface design, silhouette and form. 

The final piece was inspired by Wolfgang Sievers’ famed photograph of ICI House that celebrates the building’s iconic corner, an expression of its modernist spirit and graceful proportions. Materials were carefully chosen to reflect the building’s timeless elegance and the costume’s form inherited its bold perspective geometry from Sievers’ architectural photograph.

Bates Smart’s ICI House has never looked better.


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Bates Smart Studios
Holiday closures

Happy Holidays

Bates Smart's Melbourne and Sydney studios will close at end of business on Friday 19th December and Tuesday 23 December 2014 respectively.

Both studios will reopen on 12 January 2015. We wish you all a safe and happy break. 

Queensland Mind and Neuroscience Institute
Evidence Based Design Briefing Underway

Sunshine State of Mind

The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is pursuing the establishment of a new brain and mind clinical teaching and research facility and Bates Smart are currently finalising the strategic brief.

The main impetus for creating the Queensland Mind and Neuroscience Institute (QMNI) at USC is demographic data which show that, in Australia, the highest rates of suicide, youth mental illness and aged dementia are unfolding on the Sunshine Coast. USC has committed to making a major contribution to the amelioration of these conditions by establishing a centre of excellence in clinical outreach, support and research into these terrible diseases.

The future QMNI is briefed to be a purpose built tri-function building – combining clinical treatment, teaching and research facilities.

The strategic brief has three main focus points:

  • Flexibility
  • Expandability
  • Evidence Based Design.

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The Fat Duck is Open

In March 2014, Heston Blumenthal announced that his famed restaurant The Fat Duck would be migrating to Crown Melbourne for six months while his restaurant in Bray closed for refurbishment.

Crown commissioned Bates Smart to design The Fat Duck, located on level 3 of the Crown complex overlooking the Yarra river and Melbourne CBD.

The interior is elegant and restrained, allowing the food to take centre-stage. The concept for the restaurant is designed around the idea of chiaroscuro, the use of strong contrasts between light and dark.

The use of deep, sumptuous upholsteries, dark lacquered paneling and rich carpets provide a backdrop to the spot lit white clothed tables creating a sense of theatre.

Guests enter the restaurant via a ramp which creates the optical illusion of guests becoming larger, and the corridor increasingly smaller. At the top of the ramp an automatic sliding panel slides open to reveal the restaurant and the host desk where guests are greeted and escorted to their dining table for the theatre to begin.

Whilst in Melbourne, the restaurant will offer the same unique dining experience to what guests receive in Bray. The Fat Duck menu is an intentional mix of balance and contrasts – old and new, modern and historic. Led by a core team of exceptionally talented front and back of house staff, the degustation menu takes guests on a food journey - a truly multi-sensory experience.

The restaurant launched in February 2015 and will remain open until late July when it will close and the space will be re-designed to host Dinner by Heston.

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Reflections on Moving House
Bates Smart Sydney Studio

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“We’ve managed to maintain a more intimate studio character which is a really important contribution to the practice culture”

Guy Lake


As the end of the first year in Surry Hills comes around, Bates Smart’s Sydney studio has put together a short film on the process of moving the practice to a new collaborative space and thoughts on being both client and architect.

“Buildings like this tell beautiful stories in their own right”, Brenton Smith.

View video here.

Display Suite Opens for Luxury Harbourfront Residences

Strong sales in Harbourside Haven

Bates Smart has been working with the Toga Group, long-term client on Harbourfront Balmain, a luxury mixed-use development on a waterfront site in East Balmain.

Studio Director Matthew Allen describes the design approach:

“On each of the three frontages we have responded to their differing context. One street frontage provides 3-level terrace houses, the other provides 4 storey apartment buildings, while on the lower part of the site, facing the harbour, we have proposed apartment buildings up to 5 levels. A generous public domain network runs through the site, connecting to a new public park fronting Sydney Harbour.”

The project comprises 93 residential apartments, 9 terrace houses, 19 serviced apartments and 4 retail/commercial tenancies.

The recently opened display suite features interiors by Bates Smart. The kitchen and bathroom design capture the luxurious crafted detail of the traditional Balmain terrace house, with use of framed doors, v-jointed panelling, natural stone and bevelled mirror.

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Justin Cawley
Bates Smart People

An Ark for Endangered Atmospheres

Congratulations to Bates Smart Architect Justin Cawley for a High Commendation in the Royal Institute of British Architects Silver Medal Award for his University of Sydney graduation project ‘An Ark for Endangered Atmospheres’. 

This is an incredibly prestigious honour as Justin’s final year project was judged to be one of the best in the Commonwealth. 
Read more about Justin’s project here

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