“Responsive Urbanism” will be the focus of this year’s Architecture Symposium

Kambri Campus, Australian National University by BVN Architecture.

What’s on the agenda at this year’s Architecture Symposium?
The popular one-day event returns with a program of snappy conversations about inspiring urban buildings.
After a successful inaugural event last year, the Architecture Symposium is returning to Sydney for 2019. This year’s curators, SJB’s Adam Haddow and Hill Thalis Architecture’s Laura Harding, say the program will “probe the means, methods, successes and failures of architecture’s role in shaping our cities, and uncover how we can sharpen our collective contribution”.
The one-day event, which takes place at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on September 24, features 14 Australian architects discussing recent urban projects, each of which has helped enhance civic life. In particular, speakers will talk about how individual works of architecture can collectively improve the quality of public spaces.
Here, we spotlight three of the major projects that will be discussed at this year’s symposium:
Members’ Annexe, Parliament of Victoria
Peter Elliott Architecture’s recent addition to the Victorian state parliament fixed a long-standing problem: a lack of permanent office space for elected members. The pincer-shaped annexe sits directly across the road from the original 19th-century sandstone parliament building and is connected at various elevations by a bridge, a laneway and an underground passage.
Peter and his team decided to sink the new building so that only one storey sat above street level, and planted rooftop gardens which create a sense of connection to the splendid heritage gardens nearby. The result is a building that seems to exist harmoniously with both the surrounding civic architecture and the natural environment.
Maitland Riverlink

Maitland Riverlink by Chrofi.

Architectural firm Chrofi designed this building – which is part of a broader urban revitalisation project in the NSW town of Maitland – with a dual purpose: to house a restaurant and office space and to connect Maitland’s high street with its riverfront via an archway.
In the 1800s, when the town was first developed, warehouses and shops were built along the strip of land between the high street and the river so goods could be unloaded from boats and then sold on to the public. The Riverlink building honours this history while encouraging locals to move between the two civic arteries. The use of brick ensures continuity with the surrounding historic buildings while triangular shapes create the feeling of modernity.
Kambri cultural precinct, Australian National University

Kambri Campus used 3000sqm of Austral Bricks facings installed as pre-fabricated lightweight panels.

Comprising five new buildings, this major addition to ANU by BVN Architecture is one of the largest developments in Canberra since the construction of New Parliament House. Named after the local Indigenous word for “meeting place”, the precinct’s facilities include a 500-seat auditorium, a pool and gym complex, and a student hub. Material innovations include two large buildings made from timber and the use of 13-metre-long prefabricated brick façade sections for the student accommodation building.
To create engaging outdoor space throughout the precinct, BVN worked not only with urban and landscape design firms Lahznimmo Architects and Aspect Studios but also with local Aboriginal families, who drew up a detailed map that tells the story of the local Indigenous cultural landscape. There’s also an Indigenous heritage walk, a bush-tucker garden, and native trees throughout the grounds.
The 2019 Architecture Symposium will be held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on September 24.

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