Westmead Millennium Institute won the Sulman Medal for public architecture at the 2015 NSW Architecture Awards last Thursday night. We had an extraordinarily committed team and the medal stands testament to this.
I was fortunate enough to work with Rose Jimenez, Frank Buss and Ali Bounds, who helped define the design principles and the arrangement of the building as a whole. Simon Hubert and Josephine Meldgaard were instrumental in the documentation of the building's fitout; and Namaste Burrell led the project on site, accomplished as ever. Other team members from BVN included Will Blake, Michael Persch, Xavier Tan, Christina Rangel, Catherine Skinner, Nesa Marojevic, Ian Goodbury, Andrew Metcalf, Peter Clarke, Mark Greene, Jahan Faeghi, Joe Fiumendesi, Michelle Farman and Nikita Notowidigdo. The BVN Principals on the project were Julian Ashton and Bill Dowzer.
WMI had a very low profile in the office. Consequently, the design team was afforded an unusual level of autonomy, which was instrumental in the resolution of the building. The design came from the team and was led by those involved on a day-to-day basis; each decision was informed by an intimate understanding of the detail and its place in the whole. The Sulman represents a strong endorsement of this approach to the design of buildings of this type and scale, which is both interesting and somewhat provocative in the context of contemporary architectural practice.
Finally, the awards are as much a reflection of the values of the jury as they are the architecture. It appears we had the perfect jury for the building in Kiong Lee, Anita Panov and Peter Tonkin. Many thanks.
See all the NSW Awards here
Photography of Westmead Millennium Institute by John Gollings. Used with permission by BVN Architecture.
I was the project architect of this building while working for BVN. The building won the Sulman Medal for public architecture at the 2015 NSW Architecture Awards.
Here's a link to a film made by SRH and BVN Architecture on the WMI project.
This film was screened at the NSW 2015 Architecture Awards night.
Text and images to come.
Establishing a structural rationale for the proposed arches at Ultimo - a model from the client and engineer, Professor Max Irvine.
Posted 24.04.15 / 27.04.15
This is a first attempt to come to a design proposition for an addition to a terrace house in Ultimo, right on the edge of Sydney's CBD.
The project intent is to make something of the street at the rear of the property, which is currently treated as a left-over. Our intervention is to set a precedent, informing the development of the row of buildings that it sits within.
The image shown is an interior view of the proposal standing at the edge of the existing building, looking towards the rear. The starting point was a response to the arched facades of the neighbouring garages and the area's industrial heritage. The interior spaces look at trying to create something similar to the play of shadows and light as experienced under the canopy of a tree.
It's early days, updates to follow.
Posted 02.04.15 / 08.04.15
The construction certificate has been lodged for the triangle house in Newtown. Early works are due to commence to make the site ready for the new building. The construction of the building itself is likely to begin later in the year.
The house in Probert Street is largely finished and the owners moved in a few months back. We're now taking our time working on the different areas of the house that we had talked through but never got to. One of these is a mural at the laneway facade.
The two images here provide a starting point to talk to. The basic idea is to create a textural material pattern through layering washes of colour (of varying transparency) over the concrete wall.
The pattern shown in the images is adapted from artwork of the band Grizzly Bear found on the web.
A selection of paintings by Pieter de Hooch and his obsession with daylight and it's manipulation.
A small, simple addition at the back of a single-storey terrace house on top of a hill.
The project has Council approval and construction documentation is underway.
The steel framing the second floor of the Glebe project is largely complete - fabricated by a boilermaker with support by riggers and block and tackle.
Posted 16.02.15 / 24.02.15
This steel framing sits on top of the plinth that makes up the lower two levels of the Glebe project.
To keep them guessing, the geometry of the steelwork is relatively loose and its arrangement intuitive, in comparison to the orthogonal, repetitive bays of the ground and first floors.
The images are taken from the setout model, which is being used to help explain the junctions to the steel fabricators. The drawings, at the bottom of this post, are the upper and lower plans of the shop drawing set.
The steel is currently being fabricated, with the lower steel to be sent off to be galvanised in the next day or so.
Posted 10.11.14 / 29.03.15
2 sheets of steel were folded to make 2 gates.
Despite being consistent with the original paper model (as per the previous post), there were a couple of issues with the steel and the way it was folded.
The steel was folded the opposite way to the drawings. One of the sheets was folded to superseded drawings, with a couple of extra folds not envisaged. Having the sheets though, folded as they were, provided a working, tangible basis for further design not typically afforded through the architectural design process - like having a full scale working model, eventually to be used as the end product.
The revised drawings show steel flat plates (4mm) fixed to the long edges of the sheets to make them rigid and parallel, ensuring the gates hinge around vertical axes. Minimal steel RHS struts (20 x 20mm) are welded between these plates appreciating the need to stiffen the sheets across the folds that stretch from top to bottom. Fixing details are also designed. The fixings are simple and direct and spread the load across the edges of the 1.6mm sheets.
Westmead Millennium Institute and Research Hub, Westmead Hospital, Sydney.
I was the project architect for this building up to tender (2010 - 2012) when working for BVN Architecture. It went out to the builders as a 'design finalisation' package - similar to design construct, but with very little design work to be done. Construction has recently completed.
The images here show the external expression of the building. Namaste Burrell coordinated the external works through construction and Xavier Tan worked on the facade documentation... and, as built, I'd say that they did a pretty damn good job at realising the intent of the design, especially given all of the hurdles that seem to come with these bigger projects.
Photographs used with permission from Mark Syke.
Here are 2 links to 2 short films made by WMI on their new building -
I was the project architect for this building when working for BVN Architecture.
The Glebe project has been designed as a frame to be fitted out. These images look at the fitout of the front facade.
Click on the image to scroll through.
Testing the folding capacities of sheet steel and the capabilities of typical workshop fabrication.
The first image is the paper model - size 27cm x 15cm. The second is the steel sheet - folded from 1.6mm thick galvanised steel, the overall size is 3m x 1.5m. The third image shows a detail of the folds at a corner.
The capability of the workshop to deal with the unorthodox geometry was better than expected. The accuracy and the coordination with the documentation drawings presented the limits of both the folding press and the fabricators. But the result, with no need for any particularly sophisticated technology, is highly workable in terms of the design objectives.
The folded sheet is a part of a larger project in the inner city of Sydney to re-purpose a neglected laneway. Check for future posts.
Some mitred-edged carpentry to the coffered concrete ceilings at Glebe.
The renders here show the main living area of the house at the first floor - one looks to the deck; the other to the lightwell. The model shows the external form.
The full documentation set for the building went out to tender in the first half of 2014. The tender process was exhaustive. The client included high-end builders through to an owner-build option - a process that uncovered the immense difference in construction costs between the builders (who build many of the architect-designed houses that we see published) and the sum of the quotes received from individual sub-contractors and trades. The highest quote from the builders was almost 3 times that of the owner-build option.
The project is now on hold until one of the clients returns to work from paternity leave. I'd love to see it built.
Simon Hubert built the computer model and helped with the early stages of the documentation set.
Most bathrooms aren't used constantly. In the triangle house much of the circulation space that would usually be within a bathroom is placed on the outside.
2 toilets, 2 basins and 2 showers are accommodated. The most private functions (toilets and showers) are paired in two 'rooms' - one of which is reasonably conventional; the other, paradoxically, is only a room when the door is opened. The less private functions (basins) are located in what would be best described as cupboards.
In acknowledgement of time spent, the arrangement promotes the idea of sharing space, which becomes particularly relevant when space is scarce. The definition between 'rooms' is blurred, a hallway is a bathroom and a bathroom a hallway.
Posted 05.11.14 / 27.03.15
Probert Street Newtown - showing signs of life.
A competition entry for Green Square, Sydney, in collaboration with Olivia Hyde.
The proposal was an urban response aimed at providing the maximum amount of un-programmed open space - a particular terrain notably lacking in the re-development of Green Square.
Briefed areas - including pools, gym and community facilites - are stacked vertically forming an edge to the park along with a public building of civic stature.
The ground floor is kept as accessible as possible with entries, cafe, multi-purpose rooms and generous canopies providing generous covered outdoor areas.
The stacked functions condense the activity. A series of ramps, extending through the height of the building, provide in-between links and appreciate the intensity of activity as a spatial condition. Pools, raised high above ground level, are adjacent to the canopies of trees. The 50m rooftop pool looks across the city skyline.
The design direction followed early discussions with our friends Felicia Huang and Thomas Cole. Structural engineering input was provided by Professor Max Irvine.
Scroll down for more images.
This house is up the laneway from the Parallel House.
It builds upon the ideas of this earlier project, particularly in its adaptability for different uses at the ground floor, its support for an active engagement with the laneway and the respite it offers at the first floor living areas.
The approach to construction and much of the formal arrangement has also been derived from lessons learnt down the laneway. As a pair, they create something similar to a pair of bookends, containing the older houses and the mess of garages and garage doors between them.
Knut Menden and Bettina Steffens worked the concept design up to a DA set that was approved in 2013.
Scroll down to images if necessary. Click on images to see sequence.
An addition to a heritage item in Waverley.
The approach appreciates the simple arrangement of generously proportioned rooms that underpins the experience of the original building.
Our intention was to contribute another of these rooms - described as 'the big room', it was the social room of the house where the main living areas were brought together under a top-lit vaulted ceiling. From the street. the proposed addition was a simple, timber-clad, gabled form alongside the masonry gables of the original building.
The drawings went out to tender in early 2012 before the clients changed their minds. The new design, by another architect, has changed the addition - the 'big room' has been lost and the streetscape address re-defined.
More images and text to come.
The basic arrangement for a residential project in Glebe, on the edge of Sydney’s CBD.
The arrangement follows a study of the available sunlight in winter.
Shadows are cast on 3 hypothetical floor levels – ground, 1st and 2nd. Due to the cliff face to the northeast and the adjacent unit block to the northwest, almost no sun reaches the ground floor in winter. In turn, the main living areas are located at the 1st floor. The extent of the floorplate and walled internal areas above the 1st floor are set out to ensure that the passage of the sun is maintained.
The Parallel House was featured in Habitus magazine #16 in an article by Paul McGillick. You can find the online article here.
I painted this on the garage door of the Parallel House with a friend of mine, Rob Harper.
The door was painted black. It took about 4 hours to tape up the door, which we did on a Saturday afternoon. I was going to leave it until the next day to start painting the top coat but it started raining that night. So, I painted the top coat in the rain before the masking tape peeled away. The rain smudged, dribbled and gave the paint a translucence and depth not considered - a much better outcome than imagined, which seems to be so often the result when things are worked up hands on.
An addition to a house built in 2007. The addition is the first stage of a larger project.
We added a 17 x 2m addition to the harbourside elevation of the existing house, which gave us the opportunity to reconfigure the interior.
The structure was made up of minimal steel sections - typically, 150 x 90 unequal angles for the beams and 150 parallel flange channels for the columns. The columns are placed within the angles, each overlapping the other. The edges of the angles are exposed and work as ledges to throw the rain off the surface of the facade.
The project represents a continued interest in making simple, structurally efficient building assemblies. In part, it was a reference to the gantries of the nearby wharves, but on a far smaller scale.