Our top 5 Australian projects from the 2019 World Architecture Festival shortlist

Yagan Square. Photography: Dion Robeson.

We've selected five of the most exciting home-grown projects on this year's list.
Each year, the World Architecture Festival (WAF) pits around 550 new buildings against each other in a series of heats and finals, culminating in a showdown for the World Building of the Year. Australia has reason to cheer this year: more than 50 of our buildings have been shortlisted for the event, which is being held in Amsterdam in December. Here are five Aussie nominees we particularly like the look of.

Yagan Square, Perth

Yagan Square. Photography: Gary Peters Photography.

This striking urban square, designed by Lyons Architecture with Iredale Pedersen Hook and ASPECT Studios, forms a major part of Perth’s decade-long City Link redevelopment plan, which will eventually link the CBD with the suburb of Northbridge by sinking local railway infrastructure and covering it with public amenities. The square’s irregular forms and split levels, which are connected by stairways, ramps and concourses, bring to mind Melbourne’s successful Federation Square. A diverse range of materials has been used, including green and black granite, black limestone, precast concrete panels and local laterite pavers.

Green Square Library and Plaza, Sydney

Green Square Library and Plaza. Photography: Tom Roe.

The new library complex in Sydney’s rapidly developing Green Square neighbourhood has already won the Architectural Review Library awards 2018 for what the judges called its “thoughtful, elegant and generous” composition. Designed by Stewart Hollenstein with Stewart Architecture, the single-level underground library sits below an 8000 square metre plaza, and is accessed through a glass-shrouded pyramid. A seven-level glass tower and a circular subterranean garden are other striking features of the design.

MPavilion 2018, Melbourne

MPavilion by Carmes Pinos. Photography: John Gollings.

Designed by Barcelona-based architect Carme Pinós, this elegant pavilion in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens is the first public project by a female Spanish architect to be completed in Australia. The roof is made of two intersecting timber-latticework planes which are supported in opposing corners by grassy mounds. Clear polycarbonate sheeting within the roof allows rain to fall through the latticework while keeping visitors underneath the pavilion dry. It’s the fifth pavilion to be commissioned in the gardens by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation: the 2019 pavilion is being designed by Glenn Murcutt, arguably the country’s finest living architect.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sydney

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney by Architectus.

This handsome structure on the University of Sydney campus is clad in bronze-coloured glass panels that visually compliment the heritage-listed red-brick and sandstone buildings nearby. Design firm Architectus has set the building atop a stone plinth that is recessed along one side, allowing the main mass of the building to float above a thick hedge along busy Parramatta Road. A central atrium disperses light across all six levels and a series of single-storey staircases creates a sense of connectivity.

Adelaide Botanic High School, Adelaide

Adelaide Botanic High School.

The city’s first vertical school is situated in a leafy precinct close to Adelaide Zoo and the Botanic Gardens. It comprises a newly built six-storey tower which is connected by a glass atrium to a pre-existing 1960s building once owned by the University of South Australia. The connecting atrium, which is flooded with natural light, is equipped with learning pods and chairs and can serve as a third place for formal or informal learning. Both main buildings feature a striking façade made up of anodised aluminium blades. The school was designed by Cox Architecture and Designinc with TCL, Aecom and KBR.

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