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JOURNAL/ Civic

 
 

July 2014

Design Excellence Competition Win
Sydney Olympic Park

 “This building will be the next generation of environmental apartment living at Olympic Park”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

Bates Smart has won an invited design competition for a new residential tower, at Sydney Olympic Park. This will be the third residential tower undertaken by the practice at Olympic Park. The 34 storey tower contains 378 apartments and a series of dramatic vertical communal sky gardens providing environmental benefits.

The design concept for the tower creates a new ‘vertical community’ and achieves high levels of environmental performance with exceptional residential amenity. It is simultaneously the edge condition, entry marker and gateway on a site where the Olympic Park meets Bicentennial Park and where city meets nature.

Project Director Philip Vivian explains the design approach:
"The design response is a unique triangular shaped tower that is a slender entry marker to Olympic Park, while also responding to its pivotal location. The soft corners reflect the elliptical towers further along Australia Avenue, while vertical gardens continue the landscape of Bicentennial Parklands into the third dimension."

Environmentally the design cleans, filters and cools air to apartments and common areas, provides cross ventilation to apartments and common areas, shades apartments in summer while admitting winter sunlight. This building will be the next generation of environmental apartment living at Olympic Park.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

Commercial 2018

Julian Anderson | Future of Melbourne's commercial opportunities

 “Melbourne’s city will need an additional 4M sqm of commercial space to match demand”

Roger Teale

President, Victoria Chapter, Property Council of Australia

This article was originally published on urban.com.au.

There’s little wonder Melbourne is considered one of the world’s most liveable cities with strong economic growth that is supported by its increasing population.

According to Plan Melbourne the population is likely to hit 10 million by 2051, thus the need for 1.5 million jobs to accommodate the changing workforce. This has spurred the demand for new and the revitalisation of older commercial developments with Melbourne City Council’s data showing that 25 buildings are currently under construction within the Hoddle Grid.

The planning controls introduced last year relating to the permissible size of developments in the CBD and Southbank however, are having a significant impact on Melbourne’s skyline.

The controls were brought in to arrest construction of a wave of towers that display little regard for liveability for their inhabitants or the public on the north and western edges of the city.

The Victorian Government’s intention is to “provide improved public amenity and deliver consistency and certainty that will ensure our city grows in a way that enhances all that make it the world’s most liveable city”.

The aspirations are laudable. Of late, completed developments in the CBD have been up to four times larger than these new controls would allow.

The new provisions state that for every square metre of site area, a maximum of 18 square metres of floor area can be developed. So a 2,000sqm site can deliver a maximum of 36,000sq m of floor area.

More floor area will be granted if additional public or strategic benefit is provided such as public open space or affordable housing.

Our research and recent experience has established that developers and tenants are looking for floorplates sized no less than 1,500sqm NLA in CBD zones. There are several factors driving this area requirement.

Reasonably, developers require a level of pre-commitment from tenants prior to embarking on projects. These tenants seek floorplates that minimise distribution of staff across multiple floors. These floorplates can cater to over 100 people and offer open-plan floor space with good access to natural light and views to assure physical and mental wellbeing of the occupants.

The challenge with the planning controls is that rather than stimulating commercial development in the CBD, it stifles it. A floorplate of 1,500sqm under these controls requires a site area of around 3,000sqm. However, by the time you factor in the setbacks and other height controls, there are very few developable sites remaining.

In recent months, our team has conducted research establishing that there are fewer than six potential sites in the CBD that will support development over 80m in height, with floorplates not less than 1,500sqm in area.

We concur with various industry sources on predictions that the commercial pipeline could be exhausted in the next decade.

Roger Teale, Property Council of Australia, Victorian President agrees with the challenges posed for the future of Melbourne’s commercial sites for developers.

“It’s predicted that demand for commercial office space in the CBD will almost double over the next 30-35 years – this means Melbourne’s city will need an additional 4 million sqm of commercial space to match demand, largely driven by a booming population and forecast jobs growth.

“This is a major challenge for Melbourne and we continue to work with the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne to ensure that our planning processes not only reflect the needs of the market but can support the needs of our growing city into the future,” says Teale.

In terms of outcomes, landowners will realise many sites simply can’t be developed. This will trigger the amalgamation of adjoining sites to maximise development potential. This however leads to protracted negotiation periods, slower development times and fewer opportunities.

Similarly, we may see more developments relying on the purchase of “air rights” — the underutilised space above a building. An adjacent owner can purchase those “air rights” to enable construction of part of their building into that space.

Another potential corollary is the delivery of more slender residential towers because the controls also dictate that the taller a building, the further it must be set back from its boundaries.

In New York, amalgamated sites or those subject to development resulting from the purchase of air rights brought about a raft of super-slim towers. These are very costly because of additional structural requirements and the effects of wind on their slender forms.

As well, the proportion of structure to floor area cuts the net saleable area. This drives developers to build higher in an attempt to claw back profit forgone from lost floor space.

Matching the high construction costs are the sky-high prices of $US4 million for a two-bedroom apartment on the 10th floor of a midtown apartment block or $US20 million for a two-bedroom apartment on the 50th floor of a midtown tower, for example.

Melbourne has its own example of this new tower form. On the Collins House site at 466 Collins Street, approved under the previous planning scheme, a 57-storey apartment building is under construction that when complete, will be the world’s fourth slimmest tower.

To further support construction of this type of benchmark tower, where design excellence is demonstrated, the new provisions could be relaxed to allow increased floor area in the form of additional levels.

This approach has already been successful in other cities, including Sydney, where a 10% increase in either height or floor area is offered for design excellence.

These planning controls will bring about a reduced flow of capital in Melbourne’s heart. Less opportunity there should lead to the support and promotion of an increase in density on the city edge.

The wedge extending north of Etihad Stadium as far as Arden Street represents the greatest opportunity for urban regeneration in Melbourne since Docklands. It includes the land referred to as E-Gate and the site of the new Arden Station, one of five being built for Melbourne Metro.

Altogether, this 30-hectare site is equal to a quarter of the area within Melbourne’s CBD.

Melbourne’s future and title as a liveable city lies in our ability to plan for the careful expansion of the city. We must find opportunities to relax our planning controls to allow for major urban regeneration projects to flourish and accommodate our future needs.

Learn more about Bates Smart Director, Julian Anderson:

Read more ...

test 2017

Duplicate of Design Philosophy - Architecture
Reflecting modern day Australia in an exemplar building

     “The building is confident and timeless, contextually responsive, yet uniquely Australian”

    Tim Leslie

    Studio Director, Bates Smart

    The new Australian Embassy directly reflects Australia as a modern, dynamic and contemporary culture, while at the same time providing Washington with an exemplar building. It is a building that doesn’t compete with the city’s key monuments, but nevertheless exudes its own positive and emblematic glow.

    The brief for the new Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. was to provide a secure, contemporary and environmentally efficient facility that supports the advancement of Australia’s foreign policy. The government wanted a building uniquely Australian and clearly modern, but at the same time respectful of the historic and urban context. A building that projects Australia’s position and status in both public and diplomatic contexts. A timeless design that was both inviting and functional, but importantly met our security requirements.

    Our approach for creating a ‘uniquely Australian’ experience was to analyse and abstract qualities of the extraordinary landscape across the country. The beguiling colour, especially the earthy and russet tones of the desert, the strong horizon line and expanse of skies that characterises many of our distinct panoramas and the distinct clear bright light of our natural environment.

    The exterior of the building embodies these ideas both through its materiality and form. The unique and distinctive folded façade is a combination of treated copper and glass which cast an array of soft shadows and light across the building. The colouration of the metal, with its reddish tonality creates beauty and warmth and is evocative of desert landscapes. The glass emphasises the importance of light and creates a sense of openness throughout.

    The building addresses the prominent Washington roundabout, Scott Circle, and the façade responds directly to the changing line of approach this context provides. From the north, a greater extent of the metal façade is presented, reflecting the solidity and red brick language of the surrounding 16th Street neighbourhood. To the south, the façade opens up with a greater extent of glass, maximising the views towards the White House and generating a more civic appearance to the building. The combination of the folded façade and a changing line of approach creates a dynamism that responds to the Washington context, whilst creating a distinctive and memorable architectural response.

    The ground floor is presented as a generous and welcoming two-storey exhibition space. The extensive use of clear glass enables visitors to view the collection of Australian art and accompanying exhibitions before entering the building.

    Viewed from the exhibition spaces, the external landscaped gardens gently slope upwards to create an immersive landscaped setting. Along the 16th Street frontage a series of curated landscaped spaces showcase Australian art and culture.

    Security requirements have been subtly integrated into both the building and landscape design to ensure that an open and inviting environment is experienced.


    Read more ...

     

    Australian Embassy 2017

    Contract Signing Ceremony
    29th November 2016

    “A great honour”

    Kristen Whittle

    Director, Bates Smart

    It was with great honour that on the 29th November 2016 Bates Smart officially signed the contract for the project.

    The ceremony was attended by Kim Beazley, AC, Dennis Richardson, AO, as well as representatives from the US Embassy, DFAT and Bates Smart.

    The proceedings included a Welcome to Country by Kevin Nixon, Opening Remarks by Frances Adamson and Guest Remarks by Kristen Whittle.

    Kristen Whittle's speech:

    “Today’s signing ceremony and this celebration is of course a very high honour for our practice.

    Bates Smart has had a long and enduring legacy of designing civic buildings in and for Australia for over 160 years.

    Indeed, this connection to government and representation was profoundly cemented through the hosting of the opening of the first parliament of Australia in 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, designed in 1880 by our founder Joseph Reed.

    Since then our practice has never been far away from the poignant moments that have shaped our nation.

    Indeed, it was some 52 years ago when we were appointed as architects for this very same project, the Australian Embassy in Washington.

    This was a building commissioned by the government of Sir Robert Menzies and developed during the Harold Holt era and finally opened by Prime Minister Sir John Gorton.

    At last year’s annual Bates Smart cocktail party, we discussed the design of this project with our fellow past director, Robert Dunster, who had served as project architect in Washington during the delivery stages of the project under Sir Osborn McCutcheon, design director at Bates Smart.

    It was of great interest to learn during this conversation that Sir Osborn had been bypassing known protocols and leading this project directly with the then Prime Ministers Holt and Gorton, much to the chagrin of DFAT.

    It’s worth saying at this point, and to avoid the annoyance of the wonderful Kevin Nixon and his team at DFAT, that we have no intentions of breaking rank this time round and indeed it is fair to say that we have been greatly pleased to be working with such a buoyant and thoughtful team at DFAT.

    We were also fortunate to have another wonderful occurrence happen to us during the competition phase of this great project - when we unearthed in our library the official book of the opening of the current embassy, which bore essays by Richard Nixon and Sir John Gorton.

    There was talk in both essays about this new handsome building contributing to the attractiveness of Washington and being a tangible sign of the vitality and permanence of the Australian-American relationship.

    These texts certainly pressed home the significance, tone, symbolism and gravitas of this commission.

    As designers, the weight and importance of this symbolism requires us to reflect on our creativity and to ensure that is coming from a place of hope, honesty, reflection, vitality and meaning.

    And for us, this meant coming back to encapsulating the experiences of Australia, to the extraordinary landscape and the beguiling colour and form of the land.

    These natural qualities that we were drawn to are arguably most exemplified by the clear and expansive horizon we see in Australia, that delivers the sharp almost pristine light that supports the abundant sense of life of this great continent. It was this character that we found embodied the virtues of hope and friendship so critical for this new embassy.

    And so it is these accents, these experiences that are deeply embedded into our design for the new building, both inside and out. They symbolise the presence of Australia in Washington.

    The building is about a proud Australia, an open Australia and an Australia with strong character, resilience, wit, charm, endurance and beauty.

    Now the hard work of delivering this project can begin and we would like to thank again the Australian Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for awarding Bates Smart this prestigious commission. A commission that is of the upmost importance to our practice, and we are here today to assert our commitment to you and to this project and to ensure that a most powerful and compelling outcome is delivered.”

    Read more ...

    test 2017

    Duplicate of Contract Signing Ceremony
    29th November 2016

    “Our practice has never been far away from the poignant moments that have shaped our nation”

    Kristen Whittle

    Director, Bates Smart

    It was with great honour that on the 29th November 2016 Bates Smart officially signed the contract for the project.

    The proceedings included a Welcome to Country by Kevin Nixon, Opening Remarks by Frances Adamson and Guest Remarks by Kristen Whittle.

    Kristen Whittle's speech:

    “Today’s signing ceremony and this celebration is of course a very high honour for our practice.

    Bates Smart has had a long and enduring legacy of designing civic buildings in and for Australia for over 160 years.

    Indeed, this connection to government and representation was profoundly cemented through the hosting of the opening of the first parliament of Australia in 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, designed in 1880 by our founder Joseph Reed.

    Since then our practice has never been far away from the poignant moments that have shaped our nation.

    Indeed, it was some 52 years ago when we were appointed as architects for this very same project, the Australian Embassy in Washington.

    This was a building commissioned by the government of Sir Robert Menzies and developed during the Harold Holt era and finally opened by Prime Minister Sir John Gorton.

    At last year’s annual Bates Smart cocktail party, we discussed the design of this project with our fellow past director, Robert Dunster, who had served as project architect in Washington during the delivery stages of the project under Sir Osbourne McCutcheon, design director at Bates Smart.

    It was of great interest to learn during this conversation that Sir Osbourne had been bypassing known protocols and leading this project directly with the then Prime Ministers Holt and Gordon, much to the chagrin of DFAT.

    It’s worth saying at this point, and to avoid the annoyance of the wonderful Kevin Nixon and his team at DFAT, that we have no intentions of breaking rank this time round and indeed it is fair to say that we have been greatly pleased to be working with such a buoyant and thoughtful team at DFAT.

    We were also fortunate to have another wonderful occurrence happen to us during the competition phase of this great project - when we unearthed in our library the official book of the opening of the current embassy, which bore essays by Richard Nixon and Sir John Gorton.

    There was talk in both essays about this new handsome building contributing to the attractiveness of Washington and being a tangible sign of the vitality and permanence of the Australian- American relationship.

    These texts certainly pressed home the significance, tone, symbolism and gravitas of this commission.

    As designers, the weight and importance of this symbolism requires us to reflect on our creativity and to ensure that is coming from a place of hope, honesty, reflection, vitality and meaning.

    And for us, this meant coming back to encapsulating the experiences of Australia, to the extraordinary landscape and the beguiling colour and form of the land.

    These natural qualities that we were drawn to are arguably most exemplified by the clear and expansive horizon we see in Australia, that delivers the sharp almost pristine light that supports the abundant sense of life of this great continent. It was this character that we found embodied the virtues of hope and friendship so critical for this new embassy.

    And so it is these accents, these experiences that are deeply embedded into our design for the new building, both inside and out. They symbolise the presence of Australia in Washington.

    The building is about a proud Australia, an open Australia and an Australia with strong character, resilience, wit, charm, endurance and beauty.

    Now the hard work of delivering this project can begin and we would like to thank again the Australian Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for awarding Bates Smart this prestigious commission. A commission that is of the upmost importance to our practice, and we are here today to assert our commitment to you and to this project and to ensure that a most powerful and compelling outcome is delivered.”

    Guest List

    Ms Frances Adamson, Secretary, Mr Kim Beazley, AC, Mr Dennis Richardson AO, Mr Chris Moraitis PSM, Mr Bruce Gosper

    US Embassy

    Mr James Caruso - Charge, United States Embassy, Mr Michael Heath, A/g DHOM, United States Embassy

    Bates Smart

    Mr Simon Swaney - Managing Director, Mr Kristen Whittle - Director, Mr Tim Leslie - Studio Director, Mr Steve Jones – Studio Director, Mr Mark Healey – Studio Director, Ms Rachael McCarthy – Associate Director, Mr Brendan Grayson – Associate

    DFAT

    Mr Kevin Nixon, Mr Brian Stannard, Mr Greg Hammond, Ms Jennifer Rawson, Mr Tim Spackman, Mr Ric Wells, Mr Brett Hackett; Ms Lucienne Manton; Mr Alistair McEachern, Mr Michael Cutts – AMD, Mr Mauro Kolobaric. OSB, Mr Sridhar Ayyalaraju, FMBMs Felicity Rowe – CVB

    Read more ...

    Australian Embassy 2017

    Direct Lineage, Joseph Reed to The Australian Embassy – 1853 to 2017
    Robert Dunster, An Interview

    With the next generation of Bates Smart now having the opportunity to work on the site of our predecessors with the new Australian Embassy in Washington, it is a particularly poignant time to reflect on our history.

    The history of Bates Smart dates back to the 1850s and founder Joseph Reed, who was responsible for many of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings, including the Royal Exhibition Building. In 1879 Reed completed Wilson Hall at the University of Melbourne. A shining example of Gothic Revival, the hall was the epicentre of the university until it was lost to flames in 1952.

    After great controversy, it was decided that a new building would be designed rather than restoring the original design. Bates Smart was appointed to design the new hall which was completed in 1956. Designed by Sir Osborn McCutcheon, the new hall was completed under the supervision of the firm's emerging young star, architect Robert Dunster. The renowned Australian sculptor Tom Bass was also engaged and provided the copper mural relief over the entry tilted ‘Trials of Socrates’.

    In the 1960s the trio of McCutcheon, Dunster and Bass came together for the design and construction of the Australian Embassy in Washington. McCutcheon as designer, Dunster as the on-site project architect and Bass providing the sculptural bronze coat of arms.

    Melbourne Studio Director Tim Leslie sat down with Robert Dunster to reflect on some of the firm’s history and the design of the 1969 Australian Embassy in Washington D.C.

    Read the full article here.

    Read more ...

    test 2017

    australian embassy
    Robert Dunster, An Interview

    207067094 207067094

    “There was a prestige to this building. It was a feather in the cap project ”

    Robert Dunster

    Bates Smart Director (retd) referring to the 1969 Australian Embassy in Washington D.C.

    With the next generation of Bates Smart now having the opportunity to work on the site of our predecessors with the New Australian Embassy in Washington, it is a particularly poignant time to reflect on our history.

    The history of Bates Smart dates back to the 1850s and founder Joseph Reed, who was responsible for many of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings, including the Royal Exhibition Building. In 1879 Reed completed Wilson Hall at the University of Melbourne. A shining example of Gothic Revival, the hall was the epicentre of the university until it was lost to flames in 1952.

    After great controversy, it was decided that a new building would be designed rather than restoring the original design. Bates Smart was appointed to design the new hall which was completed in 1956. Designed by Sir Osborn McCutcheon, the new hall was completed under the supervision of the firm's emerging young star, architect Robert Dunster. The renowned Australian sculptor Tom Bass was also engaged and provided the copper mural relief over the entry tilted ‘Trials of Socrates’.

    In the 1960s the trio of McCutcheon, Dunster and Bass came together for the design and construction of the Australian Embassy in Washington. McCutcheon as designer, Dunster as the on- site project architect and Bass provided the sculptural bronze coat of arms.

    Melbourne Studio Director Tim Leslie sat down with Robert Dunster to reflect on some of the firm’s history and the design of the 1969 Australian Embassy in Washington D.C.

    Read the full article here.

     

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