Concrete in Architecture
Gold: Woods Bagot, Short Lane
Short Lane is a mixed-use development that retains the diversity of its local neighbourhood and creates places for more of it to happen. The mix of 22 compact 1 and 2-bedroom apartments appeals to the dramatic surrounding lifestyle of Surry Hills, Sydney. Beneath, a new, fine grain retail component activates the street frontage and a reawakened lane network, with the new 'Short Lane' created to connect to both.
The new verdant apartment typology is stitched neatly into the local urban fabric with height, scale, and materiality complementing historic neighbours. The project not only responds to the brief, it goes above and beyond to deliver new botanical spaces, walkable laneways which retain the urban character, and venues that enhance amenity for the local community.
The board-marked concrete directly references the extension to the state-heritage listed 1847 Wesleyan Chapel to the north: a brutalist tower with integral sun shading built in 1980. When build into form the design team places wedges and blocks behind some in order to create deeper shadows and ridges in the concrete for the Sydney light to reflect on. This deliberate act of crafting and sculpting shows an understanding of the medium, of concrete and the importance of detail in architecture
Ultimately, Short Lane is an exemplar for low scale, mixed use city living, which integrates nature within a harsh urban environment.
Silver: Tzannes, Dangrove
Dangrove is a purpose built ‘state of the art’ storage facility which houses a private collection of contemporary Chinese art.
The brief required art storage to be integrated with curatorial requirements, informal exhibition, performance spaces, research facilities, workshops and other related functions.
The architecture is dominated by the use of in-situ and pre-cast concrete elements for the external fabric, internal walls, floors, structure and including special columns and skylight forms. The concrete has varied and coordinated finishes to enhance colour, texture and legibility of the elements and their design role in the architecture. Concrete defines the spatial and material experience by providing a ‘base’ to the soaring, light filled, main curatorial and performance space. Scalloped concrete forms and shaped columns create skylights at the thresholds of the main spaces. A large ‘scoop’ gutter on the roof collects water moving at up to 8 metres/second in extreme weather to establish the flow pathways to the onsite water storage, filtering and recycling plant. Concrete perimeter walls are heavily insulated to achieve thermal mass characteristics to minimise the energy required for internal climate stability at museum standards, being 22 degrees centigrade and 50% humidity 24/7 throughout the year. Concrete was crucial to achieve four-hour fire rated compartments for storage. Concrete was also designed to a minimum 100-year life ensuring concrete cover and the mix was at the highest standard.
Dangrove aims to set a new benchmark for art storage and curation reflecting the vision of the client, an important collector, philanthropist and artist.
Bronze: Cebra with / for DCT Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al Hosn: Al Musallah
The Al Hosn site is a major reference point to the history of Abu Dhabi, telling the story of the city, its people, their history and modernity. It comprises two major iconic structures: Qasr Al Hosn (the oldest structure in Abu Dhabi, historic home of the ruling family and seat of government) and the Cultural Foundation (the emirate’s cultural centre, with library, theatre and exhibition spaces).
Within the site-wide plan, the Musalla is designed to be a humble yet pivotal component of Al Hosn’s cultural and architectural ensemble.
The brief for the master planning of the site was to ensure that the two major heritage buildings were conserved and protected for the appreciation of present and future generations. Their preservation should enable the understanding of their role in the development of Emirati society and their significance as anchors of traditional values.
The concept not only aimed to conserve and restore building fabric but to also reinstate the context in which these buildings were historically set. This provides an immediate appreciation of Qasr Al Hosn’s relationship with the land and its vernacular origins, and the Cultural Foundation’s relationship with the modern city.
The Musalla is a sculptural, terraform architecture which respectfully plays a subservient role to the aforementioned significant structures of Traditional and Modern heritage. It is designed to harmonise with the coastal desert landscape that has been reinstated around Abu Dhabi’s oldest building, to place Qasr Al Hosn once again in its proper context of a flat, sanded plain.
Glass in Architecture
Gold: Robert Simeoni Architects, Powell Street House
The existing house had a quiet interior and muted light, and the design was developed in response to this, with a deliberate quietness, and the creation of long diagonal views through the existing shallow floor plan which delivers an intriguing quality of light to the newly created space.
Views were limited and curated through the new steel windows utilising a combination of clear and opaque glazing, using narrow reeded patterned glass, sympathetic to the original era of the house. Where openings have been formed or modified, such alterations have been executed in a way which leaves clear traces of the original yet introducing new values of light and shade through glass. The conception of a quiet space, with ambiguous connections between the existing and the new, the outside and the inside.
The addition forms a double height volume and deliberately incorporates a carefully located hidden high-level window, there to capture the late afternoon wash of sunlight.
Nothing is without influence. Everything goes through a process of witnessing/entering the mind, then storage, unconscious and conscious becoming a process of repeating constantly in the background going over and over, then remembering, always remembering, to quote a scene, describing the way light filtered into a space, casting a shadow upon a wall, the ground. I remember these shadows.
I try to repeat these shadows. The memories become truly my turn, romanticised, maybe, but true, nonetheless.
Silver: Ameller Dubois, Western Paris University Continuing Education Building
With the significant growth of continuing education in personal paths, a tree concept of professional development has now superseded the principle of a linear and unidirectional career. In Western Paris University, adult education was scattered in various departments connected to the studied topic. It is in this context that the new Continuing Education Building was born and it is this observation that guided its design.
Located in a strategic location, facing the RER line and close to the access to the SNCF station, its architecture is a real signal on a territorial scale.
The south façade, perceptible from the train, comes alive with the movements of visitors (train passengers or pedestrians) thanks to the coloured vertical sunscreens of its double skin, gradually shifting as the view rises towards the sky. The strong shades (red/orange) balanced by white, evolves throughout the day following the path of the sun. Breathable, the facade guarantees optimal protection from heat. This kinetics facade on the rail side contrasts with the smooth treatment of the north facade on the pedestrian walkway side, made from glazing and silk screened metal panels. The façades inside the parcel are covered with horizontal wooden slats at random rhythm, which reinforce the warmth of the reception hall as an extension of it.
The new building finds its place between two powerful and fundamentally different architectures by choosing neither the party of one nor the party of the other, but by leading to an impression of manifest architectural unity.
Wood in Architecture
Gold: LUO Studio, Longfu Life Experience Centre
This real-estate sales centre in China's Henan province features a wooden structure designed by architecture firm LUO Studio to be easily adapted or dismantled.
Located in Puyang County, the Longfu Life Experience Centre was commissioned by an eco-farm operator engaging in property development, who required a space to target consumers chasing a green lifestyle. It was vital that it was sustainable and built from natural materials, to match his corporate identity.
Given the short lifespan of typical real-estate sales centres in China, LUO Studio also set out to develop a structure for that could be used in various ways, rather than limited to its primary function.
Using Mies van der Rohe's Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago as a model, the Beijing-based architects devised a modular structure, made up of units that could be produced from just three components. The modules take the form of “clustered columns”, inspired by the shape of trees. These can be applied independently or combined with others “just like Lego bricks”.
The clustered column was divided into five segments. The bottom part of each clustered column is in the shape of a regular polygon. These extend upward from the bottom and form a square outside edge. The result is a building that can be easily extended, reduced, or completely dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere. LUO Studio hopes the project will challenge the commonplace interiors of these sorts of sales centres, which can be described as "wasteful and complicated".
Silver: Tzannes, International House Sydney
International House Sydney is designed as a distinctive element in the city, a gateway to the new financial precinct of Barangaroo, responding to and benefiting both the public domain and its intended commercial users. Off-site prefabrication of timber elements allowed the building to be constructed two months faster than a concrete equivalent, quietly within an active financial district, utilizing a very small construction footprint. The building is rated 6 star Green Star and represents a true low carbon building outcome, both in construction and operation. With the advantages of biophilic design and warm natural interiors, the workplace environment is innovative and uplifting for the users, unique and distinctive from any other commercial space available. Roof mounted photovoltaics generate renewable energy for the building and the adjacent harbour provides building cooling via heat exchange and chilled beam technology.
Bronze: WE architecture, Bavnehøj Youth House
Using wood in an innovative and expressive way, Bavnehøj Allé seeks new and ambitious standards within affordable timber housing. Bavnehøj Allé consists of 40 one-room apartments on 38-45sqm, with an impressive ceiling height of 3 meters. All apartments are accompanied with either a generous balcony or terrace. The apartments are detailed with honest materials such as natural wood and raw concrete (load bearing construction).
The building is a simple composition of two diagonal blocks connected by a centrally located gallery on all floors. Through custom-made balcony cassettes using sustainable Accoya wood lamellas in a unique patchwork pattern, the façade contributes to a distinct, vivid and warm expression, while adding a semi-transparent extension of the apartments that embrace privacy as well as providing an active, living facade. Altogether this creates a poetic expression that defines Bavnehøj Allé as a local and architectural landmark while heightening the standard within affordable timber housing.
Accoya® is a sustainably sourced, CO2 neutral and 100 per cent recycle friendly wood as well as FSC®, Cradle to Cradle Gold certified holding the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. Accoya is modified Radiata Pine that has been throughout modification by natural acid (acetylation) which makes the wood exceptional resistant against rot and fungi, without the use of chemicals. The wood is light, stable and has an excellent machinability as well as being UV resistant. The wood holds a Class 1 in durability and comes with a warranty of 50 years above ground.