Australian architects think about cities in 2050 and beyond

The Australian Institute of Architects has announced a shortlist of proposals for the Australia Pavillion at the Venice Biennale. The shortlist of 24 was selected from 129 submissions addressing urban spaces in 2050 and beyond.

Some of the proposals include:

  • New cities of 50,000-100,000 in desert areas
  • Cities which feature a ‘tartan-like texture of pure urban areas (or cells), pure rural cells, and cells which are a hybrid of rural and urban’, providing a ‘vital flexibility for a sustainable future’.
  • Cities hugging the coast from Noosa to Geelong to accommodate population growth and the preferred coastal climate; connected by a ‘very fast train running from North Qld to Victoria; pockets of vertical sprawl; new cities in pristine locations such as Botany Bay and the Royal National Park.
  • Cities in which ‘within tightly controlled boundaries exist Multiple Cities‘. Cities which address issues such as: what if a city grows not out, but up or down? What if a city’s growth boundary is not on its periphery but at its heart? What if new planning initiatives were introduced governing the use of air space? ‘A Green City, where the top plane provides wind and solar energy to power (and cool) the multiple cities below’, as well as all food production.
  • Cities ‘woven into the landscape’ – balancing dense human settlement with flora and fauna biodiversity, with major roadways converted into natural landscape corridors.

The competition fired the imagination of Australia’s architects and designers, resulting in inspired, possible solutions and imaginative proposals addressing the critical issue of Australian urbanism – examining possibilities across the terrestrial, underwater and airborne realms.

The two-part ‘NOW + WHEN Australian Urbanism‘ exhibition will highlight three of Australia’s most interesting urban regions as they are ‘NOW’, before dramatically representing around seven futuristic urban environments from the competition as they may be ‘WHEN’ we reach 2050 and beyond.

Co-Creative Director and well-known Melbourne-based photographer John Gollings said: “The large number of entries and range of approach and philosophy exceeded expectations. We felt that more than 50 per cent of the entries could have made an important contribution to the Venice Architecture Biennale, and narrowing the selection down to 24 was difficult.

“Of great interest now, is that these varied ideas must be turned into tangible 3D models which can be screened as virtual, built projects for exhibition in the Australian Pavilion in Venice. This process will challenge the normal speculative imaging often produced by architects, and lead to new presentation techniques benefiting the whole profession as the world embraces 3D, virtual, and holographic media. From the test results with our 3D projectors, now running in Melbourne, the Australian pavilion at the 2010 Venice Biennale will be a standout attraction.”

The Creative Directors said those shortlisted were far more than hypotheticals. Each uniquely responded to future challenges including population growth, environmental degradation, dwindling resources and climate change. Each entry reflected a highly creative diversity of possibilities fused with a diversity of design that mapped out possible cities of the future.

12th Venice Architecture Biennale:
Vernissage: 26, 27, 28 August 2010;
Exhibition: 29 August – 28 November 2010

SOURCE: Australian Institute of Architects

RELATED NEWS STORY: Sydney Morning Herald – Living in the future, with under-harbour views

Landscape architects help Australians keep an outdoor lifestyle

Southbank, Brisbane

Landscape architects will be among the leaders in the battle to keep Queenslanders cool – and outside – as the world deals with climate change, according to QUT’s Professor Gini Lee.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first graduates in landscape architecture from Queensland University of Technology and Professor Lee is looking forward to the positive impact her students will have on the world over the next 40 years.

There are only seven university programs in landscape architecture in Australia and QUT’s Brisbane-based program is focused on the region’s subtropical climate.

“We want to encourage a more positive attitude to how people deal with climate change issues in Queensland, whether they are students, residents or planners,” she said.

“We have a great opportunity to improve the public urban spaces in south-east Queensland and look at how we live and exist in this climate.

“Everyone at the moment is finding it difficult in the heat. When it comes to public spaces, we do need shade and shelter and there’s still work to be done to provide adequate levels of this in all areas.”

Professor Lee cited Brisbane’s South Bank as an example of a public space that successfully provided various shelter options while still embracing an outdoor lifestyle.

“The challenge for landscape architects is to provide diverse and remarkable spaces that meet the needs of the wide group of people who come together in public areas,” she said.

“It will be interesting to see how development along other areas of the Brisbane River progresses – the city needs good landscape architecture that is an interface of infrastructure, design, art, ecology, practicality, and sustainability.”

Southbank, Brisbane

[SOURCE: Queensland University of Technology]

[IMAGES SOURCE: brisbaneishome.com]

Top scientists join calls to save threatened red gum forests

Sydney Morning Herald reports

MORE than 50 leading scientists from around Australia have written to the Premier, Nathan Rees, asking him to protect the iconic Riverina red gum forests by creating huge national parks in south-western NSW and increasing the flow of water to them from the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers

The letter, signed by 57 scientists, warns that the red gum forests and their wetlands are in poor health. It says the Government needs to ”act swiftly to hasten the much-needed repair and protection of these precious river red gum wetland forests by protecting them in new parks and reserves”.

Read the full article at the SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald – Top scientists join calls to save threatened red gum forests

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Landscape architecture, once the “parsley on the pig”, must be all things to all people

Ray Edgar of  theage.com.au has written a feature article about landscape architecture. Edgar interviews some landscape architects in Victoria, Australia for the feature and they have some key insights into the role of landscape architecture in society. Here are some of the key statements and encourage you to read the full article.

“Landscape architecture used to be the ‘parsley on the pig’, the token decorative garnish around the building,” says RMIT research leader Dr Sue Anne Ware.

“Landscape architecture is sociology and what interests us is how people use space, feel a sense of ownership over that space, and appropriate it in a socially responsible manner,” said Chris Sawyer of Site Office.

Read the full article at the [SOURCE: The Age - New Park Life]

UWA Students design Moongazing platform

Landscape Architecture students from the University of Western Australia created concept plans Meelup Regional Park commissioned by the Shire of Busselton. The idea of a Moongazers platform arose from these plans as the beach is one of few beaches where the moon can be seen rising over the Indian Ocean Horizon. The platform would include an interpretative plaque that shows the 13 dates each year that a full moon rises over the ocean.

The council have taken the idea of a Moongazers platform to the next step by councillors submitting the plan at a formal meeting with an approximate budget of $100,000AUD.

SOURCE: WAtoday.com.au – Meelup Beach moon viewing deck Busselton

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