The Red and Black Architect

White Night Melbourne 2016

Once again Melbourne’s all night festival of art, music and light projections has delighted hundreds of thousands in Melbourne’s CBD. The 2016 edition of White Night is the fourth time that it has been run in Melbourne. After only a few years the cultural event has clearly been readily accepted as an important part of Melbourne’s busy events calendar The biggest highlights this year were dominated by Melbourne’s top architectural masterpieces...

Return to Royal Park: the risk-reward equation of play

As a society, we have become increasingly focused on the needs of the youngest members of our society. This hasn’t always been the case. It is startling to note that the history of the children’s recreational playground only goes back a 150 years, whereas adult recreational spaces such as spas/hammams/gymnasiums go back hundreds of years.

The Red and Black architect interviews Jill Garner

After an extended period of uncertainty left by the previous Victorian State Government, the Premier, Daniel Andrews, has confirmed the appointment of Victoria’s next Government Architect. Architect Jill Garner was chosen personally by the premier out of what would no doubt have been a very impressive list of applicants. Having worked with an impressive list of key design practices, Jill co-founded Garner Davis Architects in 1990. In 1995 Garner...

The complexity of Fishermans Bend: An interview with Rob McGauran

Fisherman’s Bend has a long history as an industrial, commercial and scientific precinct close to but disconnected from Melbourne’s CBD. Towards the end of the previous State Government’s term, the then Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, rezoned part of the massive precinct capital city zone. This was prior to any formal structure plan being put in place. The consequences of this is that very high density residential development was suddenly...

Victoria's Push for Better Apartments (Part 2)

Victoria is currently undergoing a substantial consultation process targeted at improving the design quality of apartments being built across the state. Part 1 of this post discussed the main aspects of the Better Apartments discussion paper released by the state government. Part 2 of this discussion will focus on why the state government should step in to guide the future development of apartments. Many commentators on this subject are fiercely...

Victoria's Push for Better Apartments (Part 1)

In May, Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne released the government’s discussion paper entitled Better Apartments . This document is the next stage of the process that began under the previous government looking at how to improve the design quality of Victoria’s apartment dwellings. The Office of the Victorian Government Architect (OVGA) has been concerned for some time about the poor quality of amenity offered in new apartment...

Melbourne and architecture: prominent figures voice their opinion

Michael Smith, Director of architecture firm Atelier Red + Black and Urban Melbourne Industry Hub member, has gone to extraordinary lengths to mark the occasion of his 100th article on his personal blog, The Red and Black Architect . No stranger to regular Urban Melbourne readers, Michael's commentary on all aspects of architecture provides valuable insights and adds another layer of depth to Urban Melbourne's content. So what better way to mark...

Apartment Design Standards Q&A

In response to the first research findings from the Rate My Building project, journalist Nathan Johnson from Architecture & Design, sent through some questions relating to minimum apartment design standards which have been much talked about since they were leaked to the media in 2014. The original interview was posted on Architecture & Design . Nathan Johnson (NJ) – What do you think of the news that Victorian Planning Minister Richard...

The Andrews Government, 100 Day Report Card

In August 2014 during what turned out to be the last few months of the Napthine Liberal Government it had become very apparent that Victorian State politics had gone from being design smart to design stupid in a matter of a few of years. Within a single term of government from 2010 to 2014 we have gone from a design-intelligent and architecturally progressive State Government, to one which has marginalized those best able to advise it. The...

Nightingale takes off

Last week Moreland Council presided over one of the most important planning applications it will see all year. The project in judgement was the Nightingale Apartments , a five storey proposal in a small off-street in Brunswick Victoria. What makes this application of such importance is that it is being undertaken using the same design principles and development strategy as its neighbour across the road ‘ The Commons ’. The Commons , by Breathe...

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