2015 – Parramatta Design Competition
The challenge for the development of the site was to design a residential tower between the river corridor and the existing diminutive heritage cottage on the Phillip Street address in such a way that the connectivity from Phillip Street and the cottage through to river is enhanced rather than diminished by the new building.
The central architectural idea is to enrich the human experience of the urban edge on which the building is sited, strengthening the relationship between the intensity of the city centre and the contrasting recreational character of the river edge, by raising the massing of the proposed tower on a sparse structure and establishing a new, visually open ground plane, in the form of a sandstone podium, reminiscent of the sandstone outcrops that characterise this landscape, which descends toward the river and the park.
The podium is arranged in such a way as to invite public participation into the site, with an entry plaza that also serves commercial uses at the southern end and an elevated terrace with a cafe at the northern end, so that the activity of the city meets the activity of the park.
2012 – CAPITheticAL Competition
Our proposal for Canberra is a 21st Century alternative for the capital. It is located in the same valley around a newly constituted lake. It is based on the idea of limited growth and establishes a fractal pattern for growth that is guided by what we have called the Alterurban Planning Principle. This principle eschews the anti-urban form of functionally zoned suburbia, with its clumsy blend of city and country – it recognises that city and country are complementary and mutually exclusive and it acknowledges only two conditions: the urban condition and the non-urban condition.
We were inspired to enter CAPITheticAL because of the inability of conventional town planning to deliver sustainable urban environments and avoid the continuing destruction of countryside and coastland by unsustainable suburban development, together with the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of comprehensive urban design. Our entry seeks to create a place of identity, unity, connectivity, memorability and symbolism.
2012 – Green Square Library & Plaza Competition
Central Idea: The Future Trap
The aim is to encourage a closer relationship between social consciousness and the act of acquiring knowledge. The influence of multiple segregated specialisations is balanced with an intensified experience of everyday knowing and understanding, the commonsense glue of society, which remains highly dependent on shared experience and personal interaction.
We capture the future of the library by enveloping the whole of the space with a canopy, like a net woven from the fabric of industrial heritage cast over a diversity of destinations and functions, suspended in space and folded into the ground plane, with all parts visible. Like objects swimming in the void, discrete packets of information once segregated, are now brought together and tenuously connected within the integrated field of a networked event. The imagery is reminiscent of a giant fish trap, partially submerged, inviting passage like an old book arcade transformed into an arrival hall for the light rail, a plaza marketplace for the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Just as the pre-colonial place was a site rich in spiritual and physical nourishment for the traditional custodians, so the library can transform this place into a new site of interactive knowing, capturing the community with enticements to a shared experience of sourcing and disseminating knowledge.
2004 – International Arboretum + Gardens, Canberra
Our stage 1 Winning Entry for the Canberra International Arboretum and Gardens Ideas Competition was recognised for its great depth of content. The aim of the design, for a 250 hectare site overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, is to reveal the cultural significance of an arboretum developed in the arid Australian Continent. The proposal adds a fire axis to the water axis and land axis in the spirit of the Griffin legacy and engages the temporal cycle through water, fire and organic growth.
The identity of the scheme is characterised by how it integrates a number of key ‘events’ and ‘actions’ of social significance into an innovative program of human activity. The form and structure of the site is shaped in relation to the cycles of time marked out by water, fire and organic growth, so as to create an enduring landscape image of the developing character of Australian culture.