Monthly Archives: July 2010

2010 Victorian Architecture Awards

Joseph Reed Award for Urban Design – Eastlink Freeway by Wood Marsh
[Source: ConnectEast & Heaven Pictures]

A quick link to the recent winners from the 2010 Victorian Architecture Awards


Melbourne Open House

Melbourne Open House

Melbourne Open House, 24th and 25th of July [Source: Melbourne Open House]

Melbourne Open House will feature over 60 buildings open free to the public on the 24th and 25th of July. As part of the event, ‘Design this! Density in Melbourne’ takes place this Monday where architects and planners will discuss strategies for sustainable city growth.

With upcoming commitments our opportunities to post over the next two weeks will be limited. From the beginning of August we will continue our regular posts.

Victorian Transport Plan

Victorian Transport Plan - Inner West animation still

Inner West projects, animation still [Source: Department of Transport]

The State Government has released the inner city route of the Regional Rail Link and plans for five stations in the Melbourne Metro project. Forming part of the Victorian Transport Plan, the two projects total almost $9 billion and are expected to provide capacity for an extra 20,000 passengers every hour. The plan also includes the Westlink tunnel, which will provide an alternative to the West Gate Bridge and the Truck Action Plan, which aims to reduce the number of trucks using residential streets in Melbourne’s west.

State of Design

Victoria’s design festival – State of Design, begins today with a 12 day programme of activities, talks and exhibitions. The festival theme ‘Change by Design’ was developed by Studio Binocular, this year’s creative partner. Events with a focus on the built environment include:

Friday 2 –Sunday 18 July
Exhibition offering multiple insights on how social sports are manifested in the city’s fabric.

Curating Desire: Designing Melbourne’s Retail Landscape
Thursday 22 July
Discussion about the changing shape of Melbourne’s retail landscape, including shop design, laneways, malls and shopping strips

Creating Sustainable Neighbourhoods
Friday 23 July
Forum exploring how behavioural change and precinct development interrelate to create sustainable communities.

Four Goals for Promoting Urban Cycling with Mikael Colville-Andersen
Saturday 24 July
Mikael Colville-Andersen, Denmark’s Bicycle Ambassador, will give a presentation explaining Copenhagen’s journey – then, now and into the future – towards establishing the bicycle as a feasible, acceptable form of transport.

Nine Star Energy Efficient Design in an Urban Environment
Sunday 25 July
Event providing both technical and practical information about designing and building sustainable energy efficient buildings.

The full programme of public events is available on the State of Design website.

Docklands planning control handed to City of Melbourne


Docklands [Source: Wikimedia]

The Age reports that the City of Melbourne will be handed planning control of all developed parts of the Docklands, while VicUrban, the government’s development agency, will continue to have planning authority for all areas yet to be developed.

Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle welcomed the transfer of planning control as an opportunity to help integrate the waterfront precinct with the rest of Melbourne and improve residential amenities including additional community facilities, a new library and facilitating retail growth.

However, there are a number of challenges in achieving these aims; establishing meaningful connectivity across Wurundjeri Way is difficult, while the public realm suffers from a lack of activation at ground level due to blank facades. Commenting on the Docklands, Kim Dovey, a professor of architecture and urban design at Melbourne University, said:

”[Docklands] was never conceived with public interest to the fore, it was an experiment in privatisation of urban planning and I think that the recognition that that has to be redressed is a good one.”

Kodak site development plan approved

Kodak site development plan

Kodak site development plan [Source: Department of Planning and Community Development]

In May 2009, Planning Minister Justin Madden exercised ‘call-in’ powers for the Kodak site in Coburg. This effectively shifted responsibility for approving and amending the development plan from Moreland City Council to the Planning Department. In March this year, The Age reported on Moreland City Council’s anger at the lack of communication and consultation undertaken by the Planning Minister during the ‘call-in’. Director of city development, Roger Collins, also criticised the plan for falling short of earlier proposals in the amount of affordable housing provision and use of environmentally sustainable design. Having recently approved the development plan for the Kodak site, the minister has returned planning control back to Moreland City Council.

Developers Urbex will take the 20.8Ha site forward with the approved development plan providing 380 new homes, a neighbourhood hub and new open spaces. Moreland City Council has a Kodak site redevelopment page while the development plan is available from the Department of Planning and Community Development.

‘Decent not Dodgy’ rental housing report

'Decent not Dodgy' report

‘Decent not Dodgy’ Report [Source: Victorian Council of Social Service]

The full report of the ‘Decent not Dodgy’ survey of 116 rental properties in Melbourne and Geelong conducted by the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) counters claims and concerns that legislating minimum standards for rental homes in Victoria would cost landlords too much.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of VCOSS Carolyn Atkins said, “Although more than one in ten properties inspected by VCOSS were uninhabitable and would require significant investment to guarantee they were safe, secure and affordable to live in, the majority of homes surveyed would meet basic living standards with the installation of one or two basic and inexpensive items like electrical safety switches, or deadlocks.”

“VCOSS analysis also showed that more than half of properties could be brought up to an acceptable standard with just two alterations or repairs, and 41 percent could meet VCOSS’ proposed standards with either no alterations or the installation of a low flow showerhead and/or a deadlock.”

“This winter tenants will struggle with high electricity bills and freezing homes. VCOSS’s report shows that minimum standards could save renters up to $363 a year on their winter energy bills if their landlords installed a gas heater and ceiling insulation and $336 a year if the property switched from electric to gas hot water heating.”

Information about the campaign launch and VCOSS’ policy position on rental standards is covered in a previous post.

City Baths celebrate 150th anniversary

City Baths

City Baths [Source: Wikimedia]

Opened in 1860 to provide bathing facilities for the public, Melbourne’s City Baths celebrate their 150th anniversary today. The current building was constructed between 1903-04 to competition winning designs by J. J. Clark and his son, E. J. Clark. Responding to a complex triangular site, the well planned building contained two large swimming baths and associated changing facilities, as well as slipper baths, spray baths, Jewish Mikva baths and Turkish Baths. Restoration and alteration work from 1981-83 included the addition of spas, saunas, squash courts and a gymnasium.