butter paper australasia : greaseproof architecture links 2000 - 2018

wall collapse : twitter Jonathan Lian via ABC
March 28, 2013 (Twitter: Jason Lian, via ABC)

A few people have asked recently what ever came of the investigations into the wall collapse. For those not familiar, a long section of brick wall fell to the footpath at the C.U.B. site in Swanston Street one windy day late in March 2013. Of the many people ambling along this busy Melbourne street, three young students were killed. Many investigations were launched by organisations including the Coroner’s Court, the police and Worksafe. I last reported on the Magistrate’s Court hearings in 2015, and had been wondering myself what has happened since.

I had been expecting the coronial inquiry to eventually kick off, which it was going to do at the close of the court cases. There were only a couple of direction hearings in December 2013, where the site owner’s lawyers were rumoured to be numerous and obstructive at every turn. The hearings paused when the case went to the Magistrate’s Court in 2014.

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28.03.18 Permalink 

architects: Durbach Block Jaggers

Fine work, but it took me a while to figure out the website (2017). Don’t scroll your mouse to scroll through images, just move the mouse.

You might also want to check out the new monograph, 3+2: Durbach Block Jaggers, published in 2017 by Uro.

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02.06.17 in architects

video-portals: Design Is Research

Guest lectures from 2015, and maybe beyond, at Bond University’s Abedian School of Architecture.

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18.09.15 in video-portals

education: Abedian School of Architecture

“The Abedian School of Architecture aims to be a leading design-driven professional school, characterised by an international outlook and motivated by the goal of graduating architects capable of shifting the direction of future practice.”

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18.09.15 in education

Kegs against wall
Kegs lined up against the wall, c. 1980s (VHD)

An old brick wall collapsed in central Melbourne two years ago, killing three young students walking past on a busy footpath. I cobbled together a history of the wall and published it. Then time passed. Occasional news articles focused on fragments of the official investigations, but it was (and is) hard to get the big picture on what has happened since March 2013. In summary: not a lot.

[ Previous posts: FIRST – March 2013 SECOND – April 2013 THIRD – April 2013 ]

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05.04.15 Permalink 6 comments

In July, Plan Melbourne introduced three new flavours of residential zone. Loosely described, the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) will prevent medium or high density developments in order to preserve character, the General Residential Zone (GRZ) is pretty much business as usual with a small nod to developers, and the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) is where apartment blocks will be allowed to blossom. Well blossom as much as they can within a 13.5m height restriction. The new zones are meant to provide more certainty to residents and developers.

The planning department abdicated responsibility for determining where the zones go to local government, though the minister retained final say. By the time the government slipped into caretaker mode recently, Mr Guy had approved a good number of the zoning maps lodged by councils. Many of the successful councils happened to be in the south and east, where councils opted for blanket use of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, with tiny dollops of GRZ and RGZ around busy roads.

Glen Eira neighbourhood character zones
North West part of Glen Eira’s zoning map (the beige-salmon shaded blanket is NRZ. The light pink areas are GRZ, the hot pink ones are RGZ, and the mauve areas are zoned commercial). DPCD

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23.11.14 Permalink 

Arch-peace strategic plan image

{ The event link is here . }

My conversations with people closely involved in several humanitarian architecture groups have had an underlying theme – interest is down in Australia. People aren’t volunteering, donations have slumped, patrons are in name only… Emergency Architects Australia have even closed shop. I could write a book about why I think this is happening, so won’t attempt to unpick it here. Suffice to say, many of the remaining groups are in the process of re-examining their goals.

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11.11.14 Permalink 

architects: Bree Architects

Johanne and Joost van Bree’s new practice in Bendigo, Central Victoria.

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10.11.14 in architects

The Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania has a peculiar name. Old art and new art add up to all art, so why not just call it the Museum of Art? But that would abbreviate to MA or MoA, neither perhaps being appropriate. The acronym is MONA and that’s what everyone calls it now, which is as it was meant to be.

Reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle recently (a good read), I realised what the roots of this name might be. In the book, Mona is the beguiling beauty – apparently the only beautiful woman on the Island of San Lorenzo, and the daughter of a Finnish architect. Vonnegut himself was the son and grandson of architects. He said his father’s only advice to him was not to stick anything in his ears and not to become an architect.

The island’s dialect contains many a strange word, and one is ‘foma’. It means ‘lies’ as in ‘a pack of foma’. These “harmless untruths” keep the country stable. In Walsh’s cradle, FOMA has become the Festival of Music and Art. Walsh let the cat out of the bag in an interview with Le Figaro last year, and Mathhew Denholm of The Australian picked up on it in 2011.

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05.11.14 Permalink 

Magritte - time transfixed In May’s Victorian state budget, the Metro Rail Capacity Project was officially abandoned and relaunched as the smaller, Southern-focused Melbourne Rail Link. It’s been under consideration for less than three months, and looks to have been rushed out in time for the November state election. They’ve earmarked $8.6B – $11B, which includes (a bit like steak knives) a distant airport rail link branching off the Sunbury line.

There’s no start date for any of this, but the changes put back “threshold” readiness of Metro Rail by at least four years. Treasurer O’Brien says the shovels are ready, but if they bought shovels, they won’t be able to use them for a while yet. The Metro project was due to start in January 2015 ( Infrastructure Australia submission ), so now nothing will happen for the forseeable if the Liberals return to power in November. According to the new Plan Melbourne, the Link will become “progressively operational” between 2017 and 2021. It’s quite a clever ploy, appearing to be pushing forward with rail but effectively stalling it. I might be less cynical about it had the government raised its fundamental objections to the scheme before spending millions developing it to the point that it is ready to be built.

One factor that held some sway on Spring Street was the federal government’s putting the kibosh on public transport. The Coalition made it clear well before they were elected that they were not interested in funding rail, and 36 hours before the election confirmed the diversion of the initial Metro Rail funding of $150M into a $19B splurge on road projects.

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20.06.14 Permalink 2 comments