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NewActon East
by Fender Katsalidis Architects

            

IN THE ARCHITECTS WORDS

NewActon East is the first completed stage of the NewActon precinct in Canberra. One of three new buildings proposed to be arrayed around a significant heritage building in the centre of the site, the building is a harbinger of the place-making that will be NewActon: a fecund melange of living, work, recreation and creative activity: a contrast with the barrenness of much of Canberra. The building is an urban marker announcing the NewActon precinct. It is a sculptural addition to the skyline silhouette; it encourages street activity through its retail, cafe and access functions permeating the ground floor. It enlivens that environment. It connects the bounding streets to the centre of the heritage precinct. Commissioned art works create a seamless connection and itinerary from the new building through landscaped courts into the heritage buildings, interlacing content and creative place-making within the precinct. The building contains residential, commercial and retail uses. The residential component is thirty-two apartments, ranging in size from one bedroom through to three bedroom, and including two highly customised apartments for the building owners. The apartments are located in the top three storeys of this eight storey building, over four commercial levels and a retail/ entry ground floor. The entry for the apartments is the Heritage Link. The Link connects Marcus Clarke Street on the east with the courtyards of the heritage building on the west. It is a space which interlaces welcome, activity and art. A seamless sweep of folded ceiling, wall and floor reveals a rusted steel wall leading
 
 

the visitor from the New in the east to the Old in the west. That passage of time as well as distance is melded with Warren Langley’s sculptural piece interpreting the juxtaposition of built environment and landscape in Canberra. Graphic symbolism replacing text in the lobbies leading to apartments creates a celebration of the potentially banal identification of services risers. While the apartments represent a range of sizes and plan arrangements, they have a common thread: the dissolving of the cellular nature typical of this residential type. By integrating with visual and physical linkages the differing rooms within apartments, increased perceptual size and light infiltration is achieved. Strong joinery elements in the single bed apartments articulate the functional spaces while providing spatial integration and functionality. Glazed bathrooms inserted within the bedrooms of larger apartments create spaciousness. In the north-west corner of the building, with views from Civic to the north to Lake Burley Griffin, is a custom-designed apartment. A melding of simple spatial articulation with a richness of incorporated robust materials, works of art and sheer personality, the design of this apartment is a clear manifesto for a world-aware, multicultural, perceptive culture that exists in Canberra. In its use of primary structure as final finish, its exploration of spatial possibilities, and its simple robust expression allied with a richness of design responses, the building represents a remarkable balance of design outcome within the context of the financial realities of building development.
 
DETAILS

Location
Canberra BC, ACT
Architect
Fender Katsalidis Architects
Contact address:
Fender Katsalidis Architects
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.Project Team
Project architect: Craig Baudin
Project architect: Craig Baudin
Design architect: Karl Fender
Design architect: David Sutherland
Design architect: Karl Fender
Design architect: David Sutherland
Developer: Molonglo Group Pty Ltd
Structural consultant: AWT Consulting Engineers
Hydraulic consultant: Cardno Young
Landscape consultant: Oculus
Acoustic consultant: Acoustic Logic
Builder: Construction Control
Interior Design Director: Kathie Hall
Architectural Team: Shem Kelder
Architectural Team: Jessica Lee
Architectural Team: Katie Roach
Architectural Team: Gabriel Kok
Interior Design Director: Kathie Hall
Architectural Team: Shem Kelder
Architectural Team: Jessica Lee
Architectural Team: Katie Roach
Architectural Team: Gabriel Kok
Project Manager: Coffey Projects
Mechanical & Electrical Engineeers: Rudds Consulting Engineers
Civil & Traffic Engineers: Hughes Trueman
Fire Engineering: Defire
Graphics: emerystudio
Metal & Timber Claddings: Erincole Building Services Pty Ltd
Windows & Glazing: All Points Glass Pty Ltd
Precast Concrete: Hanson Precast Pty Ltd
Photographer: Dianna Snape
Photographer: Dianna Snape
Photographer: Dianna Snape
Photographer: Dianna Snape
Entered
2008


Photographs by Dianna Snape, Dianna Snape, Dianna Snape & Dianna Snape, text by Fender Katsalidis Architects

Link directly to this award entry: http://dynamic.architecture.com.au/awards_search?option=showaward&entryno=2008013479

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