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Mods, if you don't feel this belongs in the WA section, feel free to delete it. However, I don't generally visit other forums on SSC where this thread might ordinarily be found, and often see articles tha might benefit the many students who frequent the WA forum which would ordinarily get lost in the Spam thread, and which don't seem to fit on any other threads.

For starters, because of the recent Waterfront plans for an iconic building, I found some interesting articles regarding the pros and cons of building them.



The Guardian, Saturday October 14, 2006

THE TRUTH ABOUT THOSE ICONIC BUILDINGS: THE ROOFS LEAK, THEY'RE DINGY AND TOO HOT

Research finds Stirling prizewinners 'inadequate'
Architects are out of touch, says design expert

Judges called Peckham library in London, the 1999 winner, ‘eyecatching’ and ‘popular with locals’ but a librarian there said parts of it were dingy, dark and oppressive.

Winners of the prestigious Stirling prize for architecture, which will be announced tonight, have been lauded by architects but are often beset by faults and loathed by the people who use them, according to one of the government's design advisers.

Last year the judges were widely criticised for selecting the controversial new Scottish parliament building for the top prize in the face of a catalogue of problems that dogged its construction and forced it to go 10 times over budget.

Problems have also occurred at Peckham library, in south London, the winner in 2000. Librarians complain of dinginess inside and the fact that older people are put off from entering because it is on the fourth floor.

Many of the other buildings to scoop the prize have failed to live up to the praise heaped on them. Critics say architects have become detached from everyday life and are calling for a rethink of the prize so that buildings are judged on how well they stand up to use.

Irena Bauman, a Leeds-based architect and one of the government's design advisers, said architects had become seduced by style over substance.

"Even iconic buildings, as Stirling buildings undoubtedly are, suffer from a host of minor defects which is forgivable. However, some of them are inadequate for their purpose. This is embarrassing in buildings receiving the highest architectural accolade in the UK."

Ms Bauman, who is on the government's Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, added: "Architects are extraordinary problem solvers, [but] instead of engaging fully with the needs of society we are busy strutting and perpetuating the self-serving image of a profession out of touch with its own potential."

Criticism of the prizewinners was uncovered in research for a book by Ms Bauman, to be published next year, entitled How to be a Happy Architect.

Some of the most serious faults uncovered in the research were found in the first winner of the prize - Salford University's centenary building. John McKenna, its building manager, said: "As a result of many oversights of design, the maintenance and upkeep of the building has been costly and onerous."

The study shows that problems have also cropped up at the new media centre at Lord's cricket ground in London, winner of the prize in 1999. Light filters had to be installed after journalists complained that the building was too bright to work in. It also got too hot, so the air-conditioning had to be improved.

In 2001 the Stirling judges gave the award to the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. They praised the suspended walkways in the converted steelworks. But Helen Smith, Magna's general operations manager, said: "The architects did not cater for the fact that visitors throw things over the edge and it is very difficult to get on to the walkway below to clean." It also has problems with a leaking roof.

The 2003 judges were bowled over by the lighting in the Laban dance centre, in east London. But users complain that it is too light, too hot in summer and too cold in winter. Two of the glass panels have also cracked.

The book's researcher, Rosa Silverman, revisited past winners of the prize and talked to users and those responsible for their maintenance. She writes: "On almost every guided tour I was presented with a long list of faults, which all detracted from the superficial splendour and raised the question of just what the Stirling prize was actually rewarding."

George Ferguson, a past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba), said buildings should be judged on how they perform in use.

He said: "This is not a plea for boring architects. I think there should be lots more exciting buildings, but we should not be rewarding buildings that fail. To some extent the Stirling prize has become a graphics competition of brilliant images of buildings that don't necessarily perform." He is urging the institute to restrict entries to buildings that have been in use for at least a year.

Tony Chapman, Riba's head of awards said the the institute was considering this. "We are going to discuss it again, particularly in the context of beefing up the sustainability element of the prize. But the public is interested in architecture and in particular what's new. It would be something of a dereliction of duty for us not to consider buildings that are new." He added that no new building was perfect, whether a Stirling prize winner or not.

This year's favourite for the £20,000 prize is Zaha Hadid's Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany. The five other shortlisted buildings include two by Richard Rogers: the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff and a Madrid airport terminal. The other three buildings are all in London: Caruso St John's Brick House, Hopkins Architects' Evelina children's hospital, and the Idea Store by Adjaye Associates.

Matt Weaver
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here's an interesting, high-brow article for anyone contemplating the merits of iconic buildings...

CAN WE STILL BELIEVE IN ICONIC BUILDINGS?

Norman Foster's "gherkin" in London, Frank Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim - is this the age of the iconic building? Or are they just expressions of political and architectural vanity? Two leading critics debate.....

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=6926
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
that's a good read, personally... there's some merit in iconic architecture... but as for building for tha sake of iconic status, i don't believe in that... if you were to design perth's waterfront, you would have 1 or 2 iconic buildings and then link tha area to various existing design references in perth and then transfer tha evolution of perth's design to unique distinction that makes tha identity of our city...

architects and designers really need to have a conscience when it comes to designing for perth... making sure that buildings don't become rip-offs from other places, i understand tha difficulty but i think great designers can overcome this...

perth's look is going to be segmented regardless... i think you'll see vast contrasting designs from tha existing core to tha waterfront... that'll be hard to avoid... i like that quote from allannah... "we need a precinct with some of that 21st century intensity..."
That's very true what you say, according to this essay on what makes a city culturally dynamic, and it's what Alannah and Lisa are beginning to succeed in doing, esp with small, hidden bars springing up around the cbd. I would also like to see more small theatres and galleries. Btw, for those who love theatre but only want to fork out around $20 for a performance, the Blue Room in Northbridge puts on some of the best small theatre pieces I have seen in Australia, and have something on almost every night. So instead of going to Morley Galleria to watch The Hulk 2, try something much more interesting, challenging and entertaining.

"In a world made up of thousands of diverse subcultures or niche cultures, it is madness for a city to aspire to be just like other cities. Cities need places to celebrate the nature of culture that we have now. They need places where people uploading videos to YouTube can meet each other, and venues small enough to cater for the new diversity of contemporary music scenes. They need bars, galleries and performance spaces designed to capture the new paradox of communication: local work of international significance and international work of local significance.

Cities must trade in cultural cringe for a growing sense of confidence in our distinctiveness. They must try to be somewhere, not anywhere in the extended global sprawl of electronic suburbia. Cities must wilfully believe that the unique combination of events that may fuse here is just as compelling as those that may use somewhere else. Cities need to involve their people in making and remaking their own mythology, and create something that is truly unique.

Cities the world over need to contemplate the impossible long enough to see the possibilities emerge."


The rest of the essay is here....

http://www.griffith.edu.au/griffithreview/campaign/Ed_20/Westbury_Ed20.pdf
 

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Good article. It doesn't surprise me much that 'iconic building's actually don't work very well. Much like how haute couture clothes fall to pieces and concept cars look very crude close up. I guess the point is stimulate rather than be practical.

Did anyone catch 'I Love Carbuncles' on the ABC last year? It was a short documentary about Brutalism in the UK, mainly the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth. I thought it was great. I remember thinking that something like the Tricorn would've worked great in Perth circa 1966 had anyone thought to cover the rail line back then. Our sun and warmer climes could've made the hanging gardens a reality. Its demolished now.

A picture.


And another.
 

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Good article. It doesn't surprise me much that 'iconic building's actually don't work very well. Much like how haute couture clothes fall to pieces and concept cars look very crude close up. I guess the point is stimulate rather than be practical.

Did anyone catch 'I Love Carbuncles' on the ABC last year? It was a short documentary about Brutalism in the UK, mainly the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth. I thought it was great. I remember thinking that something like the Tricorn would've worked great in Perth circa 1966 had anyone thought to cover the rail line back then. Our sun and warmer climes could've made the hanging gardens a reality. Its demolished now.

A picture.


And another.
To me the above pics look like they are just blocks of concrete, nothing too fancy... :lol: i guess the 1st one is interesting and different.

I can understand why it has been since demolished, it looks like a giants play field.
 

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I love brutalism when it's done well, it has a delicious science fictiony feel. Unfortunately it ages terribly and it's artlessness doesn't do much for the soul.
 

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I love the look of bare concrete juxtaposed with plants and bright colours which leads me to think brutalism probably works better in warmer, temperate climes. It certainly worked a lot better in Australia than in Britain where the damp got into the reinforced concrete and rendered many buildings uninhabitable before too long.

The 1960's Metabolist architects from Japan were a bit like the Brutalists. They were particularly interested in creating flexible modular housing projects. But unlike most western architects who dabbled in modular housing the Metabolists wanted to do it on a massive scale.

Ultimately I suppose some of these designs were failures but they are interesting nonetheless. I think these designs coupled with affordable building materials may offer a way for affordable high density housing to be brought back to Australia.

A pod hotel (circa 1970)


A room inside.


Flats.




Pod tower, Tokyo


A Canadian example. Montreal 1967.


A fantasy vision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·


Looks like a 1960s TV showroom. Albany is SOOO unlike Bunbury.

Here's the blurb that goes with the pic...

"The development features an 81 room hotel constructed as a series of ‘pods' suspended to a steel frame and accessed along a upper level ‘treetop' walkway. In addition to the hotel, 30 residential apartments are proposed predominantly in a crescent shaped building. The complex represents a multi-faceted, high quality entertainment complex that is simultaneously a ground breaking tourism venture in that the development seeks to assist guests in engaging, relaxing and achieving a greater harmony with the natural world."
 

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The company building that project is basically broke after the credit crunch. They got as far as demolishing the old hotel on the site but they haven't started construction on the new hotel.

There is now a big vacant block in an absolute prime location on Middleton Beach.
 

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The company building that project is basically broke after the credit crunch. They got as far as demolishing the old hotel on the site but they haven't started construction on the new hotel.

There is now a big vacant block in an absolute prime location on Middleton Beach.

Someone will jump in a grab the block i'd say. I'm originally from Albany. The Esplanade is more than just somewhere to drink, eat and sleep...or at least to Albany locals.
 

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Someone will jump in a grab the block i'd say. I'm originally from Albany. The Esplanade is more than just somewhere to drink, eat and sleep...or at least to Albany locals.
I hope so. I w've always thought that Albany should be much more developed than it is. Such a fantastic natural setting. It's good to see the waterfront happening (slowly), but I'm guessing that Albany also suffers from chronic nimbyism, which has held it back.
 

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a model for architecture/design for perth waterfront...

tha waterfront should be a model for this...

"Aboriginal people learned from their stories that a society must not be human-centred but rather land centred, otherwise they forget their source and purpose...humans are prone to exploitative behaviour if not constantly reminded they are interconnected with the rest of creation, that they as individuals are only temporal in time, and past and future generations must be included in their perception of their purpose in life"
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Since it's a bit of a slow news week, I thought this article would be of interest to students of urban design or those with an interest in all things urban. It's about oil in Australia, and although written in 2000, it has interesting information about the effects of oil on urban environments, particularly on pages 5 and 6 under the heading Urban Transport. The author is West Australian, so there's no excuse for him spelling Qantas 'Quantas'...other than that it's a good read.

The link is http://hubbert.mines.edu/news/Fleay_00-3.pdf

His bio reads as follows:

"Brian Fleay has a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of W.A. and a Master of Engineering Science in Public Health
Engineering from the University of New South Wales. Brian’s professional life was spent with the Water Authority of Western
Australia, mainly in the operation and maintenance of Perth’s surface and ground water sources.
He is an Associate of the Institute of Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University in W.A. where he pursues his
long standing interest on the connections between ecology, economics, and energy, the future of petroleum supplies and the
consequences for population, transport, and agriculture.
His book, The Decline of the Age of Oil, was published in 1995, and he has authored several papers for conferences on the future of
petroleum supplies and the consequences for transport.
He comes from a pioneer farming background in the Avon Valley east of Perth."
 

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I hope so. I w've always thought that Albany should be much more developed than it is. Such a fantastic natural setting. It's good to see the waterfront happening (slowly), but I'm guessing that Albany also suffers from chronic nimbyism, which has held it back.
disagree. Albany is one of those places which should stay low to medium rise forever. It will never be a major city; there just isn't enough industry to sustain massive growth nor will it ever compete with Perth and surrounds.

As for nimbyism...obviously it exists in Albany but i dont think its really held it back. The council and citizens have done whats best for the town/city, and in this case, is retain its charm while encouraging sustained growth; without the use of major waterfront, CBD and urban renewal plans.
 

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:nuts:
Since it's a bit of a slow news week, I thought this article would be of interest to students of urban design or those with an interest in all things urban. It's about oil in Australia, and although written in 2000, it has interesting information about the effects of oil on urban environments, particularly on pages 5 and 6 under the heading Urban Transport. The author is West Australian, so there's no excuse for him spelling Qantas 'Quantas'...other than that it's a good read.

The link is http://hubbert.mines.edu/news/Fleay_00-3.pdf
Spelling Qantas as Quantas, was probulary deliberate being a WA author doesn't mean there should be no excuse for him. After all Qantas was Queensland and Northern Territory Air Services, still is but a national flier....
The journo was probulary rushing to meet his quota for the week and publishing a story for people to read regardless if it were old hat news or simply half interesting. If he were from Qld or the NT then there would be no excuse though....:bash:
 
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