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4 NEWS


Managing Editor James Parker jparker@netmagmedia.co.uk


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FROM THE EDITOR


O


ne of the best things about covering architecture is the amazing breadth of vision when it comes to the projects being imagined for living or working in across the globe. Two recent examples really illustrate the massive contrasts.


Our cover star is something of an oddity in the Australian context, and if it comes off will be the country’s tallest tower yet built. Oz is not quite keeping up with the forest of skyscrapers erected to celebrate prosperity in south east Asia, but the ‘Green Spine’ scheme in central Melbourne may be pointing the way, but with a twisting, carved-out form that combines architectural exuberance with pragmatism.


The key to UNStudio’s successful proposal (described as “bold, yet thoroughly considered” by developer Beulah International) is revealing countless layers of plant-enhanced balconies and varying views for residents as it ascends, making it a truly groundbreaking structure. Alongside firms like PLP looking to build vast towers in CLT, this scheme shows the Amsterdam-born firm as another innovative practice trying to open up and add greenery to Central Business Districts in a more fundamental way than often witnessed previously.


As ever, the key will be about whether the realities of planning and construction will enable such a strong break from the norm of rectilinear, yet simultaneously faceless skyscrapers to be realised fully in practice.


The realities of the building industry could also be a problem for something at the other extreme of residential structures, developed by ex Rolls-Royce engineer Jag Virdie in response to the housing crisis. ‘Conker’ is a fully-developed miniature modular home consisting of a spherical pod constructed of aluminium and recycled plastic, and sitting on four legs.


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At only 3.9 metres in diameter however, whether or not planners allow these admittedly cute structures to start popping up across the UK, and even though their £21,000 price tag is arguably affordable for a home, the question is, who will buy them? A student with some rich parents maybe, or an open-minded hipster, but would a granny really accept living in a ball rather than an annexe? I’m not sure this will make even a small round dent in the housing crisis.


Innovation needs to be paired with realism to have a chance of truly making waves, but I would be pleased to be proved wrong in this case.


James Parker Editor


09.18 Cover


Green Spine, Melbourne


UNStudio’s proposal splits Australia’s tallest tower into two revealing forms


Green Spine, Melbourne © UNStudio (See facing page)


MAS DE ROCHET, MONTPELLIER Social housing architecture inspired by local geology


ADARE MANOR, LIMERICK


ReardonSmith drives major extension and restoration of historic golf resort, ready for the Ryder Cup


ON THE COVER...


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


ADF SEPTEMBER 2018


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