Archive 2012

Solaris - Ken Yeang


In the past month, we announced our 2012 Black Talk in Sydney and Melbourne by Ken Yeang with the poster featuring the Solaris project.  The Solaris building has just been shortlisted in the UK by RIBA for this year's RIBA Lubetkin Prize, winner to be announced in October.

Solaris is part of the Fusionopolis 2B masterplan designed by Zaha Hadid in central Singapore.  In 2008, local government Jurong Town Council held a competition with a brief following the massing designated by the masterplan.  Ken Yeang's design sets itself apart from other entries with the green ribbon wrapping around two major buildings with a bright and ventilated atrium in between.   The 3m wide landscaped ramp is the most noticible feature of the project, rising from the ground up to the roof.  With a total of 1.4km in length, the landscaped ramp is actually larger than the total site area!


This continuous landscaped ramp is crucial to Ken Yeang's ecological concept because all living things can move freely within all vegetated areas in the building, creating a biodiverse ecosystem. The ramp terminates at the roof gardens and passes through landscaped terrances, all these are relaxation and spaces for events for the occupants.  The deep overhangs, louvres and vertical landscaping shades the building from the hot tropical sun while allowing interactions between human with nature.

The atrium with a diagonal shaft at the upper floors lets daylight deep into the interior space.  At ground level, the public plaza between the two blocks is naturally ventilated, providing a space for activities or performances.


With the above features as well as ecological water and electricity systems, Solaris has been certified "BCA GreenMark Platinum", the highest green certification in Singapore after it was finished last year.

For nearly 30 years, Ken Yeang has been exploring ways to make tall building works ecologically, the Solaris is probably the closest implementation of his visions to date.  To know more about his design philiosophy and how to make these ideas a reality, book now on the upcoming Black Talk by the end of August to take advantage of the early bird discount!


(Photos by Albert Lim, courtesy of TR Hamzah & Yeang)

Northern Suburbs Residential Bus Tour


1209f2As we say goodbye to winter, it's time to do some outing with us on our next residential bus tour on 13 October!

Go inside some of the most interesting contemporary, residential architecture in Northbridge, Cremorne, Castlecrag, Fairlight and Seaforth.  Projects by architects David Boyle, David Smyth, Jorge Hrdina, Manfredini McCrae architects, Vivianne Marston are included in this full day bus tour.  Walk with these architects and listen to their story about how the projects were developed and became a reality.

This all day tour includes lunch, commentary and coach travel. Book early so you don't miss out!

(Photos: Above - House by David Smyth; Right - House by David Boyle)

CPD Talks Series - Shading Innovations


Our next CPD talk will focus on shading innovations and passive solar design principles.

Passive design is practiced throughout the world and has been shown to produce buildings with low energy costs, reduced maintenance and superior comfort. The talk will also focus on UV efficiency (difference between high quality products and other products), fading issues, light transmission issues, external wind exposure and control with motorisation linked to sensors for better efficiency motors/energy consumption.

Our presenter will be James Thompson from Rolletna.  It's now September and don't leave all your CPD responsibility to the last months.  Book now!


The Longhouse, Pokolbin, Hunter Valley


On 1 July, a full bus of AAA supporters attended a Hunter Valley Bus Tour lead by Brian Suters of Suters Architects.  Amongst the building we visited, the most unique project was the Longhouse, a tourist accommodation project conceived, designed, built and run by a group of students from the University of Newcastle.


The three two-bedroom units are arranged side by side in a long rectangular building facing 25 hectares of Chardonnay grapes vineyards. The middle of each unit is the the living room and kitchen with is a bedroom with ensuite on both sides.  The longhouse is styled on a traditional Australian woolshed. The cladding timber was recycled from a 130-year-old woolshed in Western Australia.


The smooth polished concrete benchtop and the floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors contrast well with the warmth of timber.  The entry side is a sliding corrugated steel wall, allowing two sides of the unit to open for pleasant summer breezes while in winter, the fireplace and the angle of the eaves allow winter sun to warm the interior up.


The project was conceived by  a group of architecture students from the University of Newcastle.  After completing their third year, they started this project other than going to work in an architectural practice for practical experience.  Two of the students, Dean Williams and Jo Baker were there during our tour to tell us about the project.  They recalled in a lecture, Glenn Murcutt, the Founding President of AAA, said one needs to understand the contruction process in order to design good architecture.  They then thought, what would be better to understand the process then designing and constructing a building themselves?  They gathered several like-minded students and sourced initial funding from their family and eventually bought a vineyard in the Hunter Valley.


During the design and construction process, a lot of professionals and suppliers offered help, they also recruited architecture students from overseas to help on site.  After two years, the project was finally completed in late 2011.  Since they started taking bookings for the accommodation, the response was very good and weekends are fully booked three months in advance!  The students not only learnt a lot about constructions and management through making their design into reality, they have also demostrated great entrepreneurship, a skill which is almost impossible to learn by working as a year-out intern.


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Sculpture Walk in Art & About Sydney


Art is moving out of the institutions and taking to the streets to be enjoyed by one and all! Bring some colour into your life and join the City of Sydney for it's annual event, Art & About Sydney. Running from 21 September to 21 October 2012, the program for the festival promises works by both international and Australian artists.

This year the Australian Architecture Association is taking part in the festivities and is presenting it's Sculpture Walk as an associated event.

1209a2On Saturday 13 October join us to discover of some the permanent public art pieces that adorn the central business district of Sydney. Learn about our cultural history as it relates to artworks, the artists who created them and the surrounding cityscape. Journey through two hundred years of artistic production over two hours from 2-4pm.

Book your place on the tour here.

If you want to know what you can see and experience over the month of Art & About Sydney, visit the official website.