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Tony Owen Partners, Sydney, Australia 
Wednesday 29 Feb 2012
 
Exploring liquid architecture 
 
Tony Owen Partners 
 
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Award Entry

Tony Owen Partners is an Australian firm of 25 architects with a new approach 

Tony Owen Partners combines the imperatives of sustainable design with new capabilities of digital technology. They call this ‘Elastic Design’. This is architecture that is pliant, yet has an inherent structure and ordering principle. Elastic Architecture is capable of responding to changing variables such as solar, wind, efficiencies of structural networks and programmes. They are making dynamic buildings which respond to variations in inputs and relationships. They have translated these principles into efficient and commercial solutions, and are the leading firm building large numbers of parametric commercial projects in Australia.

The new Danks & Bourke strata commercial building is a refurbishment of a 1960’s concrete furniture warehouse. It is located in the former industrial area of Danks Street, which has lately become a trendy hub for the designer commercial set. The triple-frontage building contains 4,000sqm of office space over two levels, a supermarket and specialty retail stores on the ground floor. They sought to explore new territory in office design. The building consists of smaller strata tenancies around shared lounges, meeting rooms and other facilities. The strata suites which are more like modular pods than offices. These versatile spaces have glass walls at the front and rear, polished concrete floors and private furnished balconies. Because the building is so deep, they created a central void space to bring light into the building and create a central street. The central void naturally illuminates the funky lounges, avant-garde sculptures, metallic surfaces, frosted glass walkways and twin tangerine glass conference room boxes.

The firm used translucent signage graphics on all glass surfaces for a consistent design theme throughout. Furthermore, they replaced the existing solid facades with full glazing and balconies. They used the same fluid lines of the interior graphics for the balconies and facades to create a distinctive identity. The firm explored the use of twisted metal panels for the sun louvers. These louvers change colour from different angles. The fluidity of its lines, bold swatches of colour and ‘contorted’ metal louvres that cast ever-changing shapes and shadows on the facade are in keeping with the artistic precinct, which is the hub of a thriving gallery and design scene. The unique form of their Moebius House (completed 2010) responds to the requirements to maximise views as well as solar performance and connectivity to outside spaces.

The architects responded to the site with a series of movements which folded and twisted the space. They created a dynamic model capable of responding to changes in these variables and utilised it in the cad-cam fabrication process. The house has a fluidity of space with a strong relationship with the surrounding landscape. Eliza Apartments (under construction - completion 2012) will be Sydney’s most exclusive apartments located in the classic heritage centre of the CBD. The shape responds to different views and environmental conditions on different levels and the use of rich, traditional and luxurious materials creates a strong contextual fit. Their Harley Davidson (completed 2007) building reflects the uniqueness of Harley Davidson. For design inspiration they looked to the bikes themselves; their emotion and efficiency. The geometry of the engines' forks and frames can be seen in the lines of the building. Their Abu Dhabi Ladies Club, which is now under construction (completion 2011), is a unique facility providing sporting, health and child care as well as business training to women in the Muslim World.

Key Facts

Status
Value 16003706(m€)
Tony Owen Partners
www.tonyowen.com.au

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