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Canberra leading the way in green design

toriness 15 February 2010 28

Check this out for cutting edge urban design, a super-duper green development planned for our fair city which is aiming to be the pinnacle of green sustainable living in Australia. And how funky and futuristic does it look!! Very Pandora like even 🙂

NewActon Nishi is currently being developed by the Molonglo Group and was designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects in association with Suppose Design Office, Oculus, and Arup. When it is completed it will be the third in a series of buildings that form part of the very green NewActon Precinct.

The project is a mixed-use development with 280 units and 20,000 square meters in office space, as well as galleries, shops, cafes and, wait for it, wait for it – a sake bar! The building will be a showcase of sustainability and is attempting to achieve an 8.6 NatHERS rating out of 10 (trust me, this is hard), relying heavily on passive design. As part of their sustainability goals, they plan to involve artists, craftspeople and designers in creating the look and feel of an ‘über-cool’ village.

I wonder how much places in it are going to set one back?


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28 Responses to Canberra leading the way in green design
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milkman milkman 7:27 am 30 Sep 11

Catty said :

Have you seen the internal plans? Tiny, no space for anything (some of them only 45 sq m. The bottom would fall out of the retail industry – you can’t fit anything into them. Tiny wardrobes, miniscule kitchens, no room for storage. Great if you don’t like clutter I suppose…

Is that 45 sqm for residental apartments? If so, banks will baulk at lending for such small property. Normally the lower limit is 50sqm of living, but some banks may have changed their policy with a trend toward smaller single bedroom apartments.

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 12:00 am 30 Sep 11

So . . . the greeness of this development lies not in it’s construction but in the fact that the residents will be so short of space that their consumerism will be severely restricted?

Catty Catty 10:56 pm 29 Sep 11

Have you seen the internal plans? Tiny, no space for anything (some of them only 45 sq m. The bottom would fall out of the retail industry – you can’t fit anything into them. Tiny wardrobes, miniscule kitchens, no room for storage. Great if you don’t like clutter I suppose…

I-filed I-filed 9:25 pm 29 Sep 11

Well well well – Nishi, far from being environmentally sustainable as per their marketing campaign, is in trouble for sourcing dirty aluminium … and guess which Australian Government department was going to lease from them on the basis of their enviro credentials?

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/cheap-metal-puts-climate-agency-at-risk-of-union-green-ban-20110920-1kjmr.html

UNIONS have gone on the warpath after learning that the new headquarters for the federal Climate Change Department will use cheap Chinese aluminium, which they say is dirtier to produce than the Australian product.

The national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, raised the matter with Julia Gillard yesterday during a meeting of the unions, industry, the Prime Minister and senior ministers to discuss ways of helping the struggling manufacturing sector.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union was not ruling out a green ban on the site if Australian aluminium was not used. The secretary, Dave Noonan, said it was hard to see how the environment was being served ”by aluminium being produced in a high-carbon environment”.

I-filed I-filed 5:49 pm 18 Feb 10

Ryoma said :

I-filed, I’m not sure, but one thing I know about this development is that it is actually being run by a Japanese developer (Nishi means west in Japanese)

I know this because I showed slight interest in an apartment in the apartment building going up next door, and (especially as I had no real hope of paying the “bargain” price of $620K for what he was spruiking, I asked what was being built further west.

Having lived in Japan, I’m aware that Japanese developers can do things either really well (very efficient use of space, as well as the roof gardens I mentioned earlier) or really badly (i.e not much idea of how to make a building blend with its surroundings, or necessarily any understanding of good passive solar design. Only time will tell which way Nishi goes 🙂

Molonglo Group, Fender Katsalidis and Oculus are Japanese developers? How so? No “Nishi” company is mentioned on the link! : 0

Ryoma Ryoma 9:08 pm 17 Feb 10

I-filed, I’m not sure, but one thing I know about this development is that it is actually being run by a Japanese developer (Nishi means west in Japanese)

I know this because I showed slight interest in an apartment in the apartment building going up next door, and (especially as I had no real hope of paying the “bargain” price of $620K for what he was spruiking, I asked what was being built further west.

Having lived in Japan, I’m aware that Japanese developers can do things either really well (very efficient use of space, as well as the roof gardens I mentioned earlier) or really badly (i.e not much idea of how to make a building blend with its surroundings, or necessarily any understanding of good passive solar design. Only time will tell which way Nishi goes 🙂

I-filed I-filed 6:23 pm 17 Feb 10

I’d like to know these developers’ longterm track record on sustainability. They are longstanding developers – anyone know what they were building through the 1990s? I reckon they are likely to be found to be cynical opportunists, and their “eco” approach is just a post-lobbying sop to bureaucrats’ desire to tick a box on some planning documentation. I bet there is no evidence of earlier “eco awareness” in their building practices. Anyone able to stump up their history?

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 5:34 pm 17 Feb 10

Ryoma said :

The two buildings I like for their distinctiveness are the Melbourne and Sydney buildings. They have heritage, and belong to a time when people made buildings with the idea of contributing to the streetscape – not in building yet another square box cheaply.

I like them too, though not in their current run-down multiple-shades-of-cream state 🙁 I always think what a waste when I drive past . . .

As for Nishi, I’d like it to work . . .

astrojax astrojax 2:04 pm 17 Feb 10

i like it. would like to have seen the canberra centre rdevelopment incorporate some of these green features, esp more garden spaces.

so you all rail at outsiders who suggest canberra is boring, then rail at anything different…

Thumper Thumper 9:12 am 17 Feb 10

Hmmm… Eastern Bloc apartments overrun by the amazon jungle?

Truly hideous.

Ryoma Ryoma 9:35 pm 16 Feb 10

Fair go everyone. Almost all posts have been negative so far. Yes, I agree it will look markedly different to anything else around the place, and is probably in the wrong location. I also agree that the formation of a St.Kilda/Glebe sort of vibe happens organically.

But I also think that we need to be open to new ideas coming in. If no-one challenges the status quo on housing, we will end up with more rubbish like the Cameron offices or the indentikit glass “masterpieces” many of our givernment offices end up like.

The two buildings I like for their distinctiveness are the Melbourne and Sydney buildings. They have heritage, and belong to a time when people made buildings with the idea of contributing to the streetscape – not in building yet another square box cheaply.

Also, I give these guys kudos for trying to introduce the concept of a roof garden to Canberra. If it takes off, it would look wonderful, and I hope the idea would be copied across the city. Having lived in Japan, I’ve seen both shopping centres and pubs on the top of office buildings with roof gardens, and they are wonderfully cool oases to relax in away from road noise and concrete everywhere.

We need a variety of building sizes, styles, and ages to get the diverse balance that the world’s best cities have. So I wish the Nishi developers the best of luck.

duckylucky duckylucky 8:48 pm 16 Feb 10

I’d like to see something like, I dunno say the Burj Khalifa be built here in Canberra.

Preferably on top of Mt Ainslie – http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/language/en-us/the-tower.aspx

You could fit loads of people in and alleviate housing pressures, and the top floors could be reserved for Govt departments. Perhaps the top floor could be for PM&C who could use the vantage point to keep an eye on things.

It would be a drawcard for tourists and would send a strong message to the other states…. don’t mess with the feds.

Perhaps the remainder of the earmarked stimulus spending should be diverted to this project, and any unbuilt school halls can be stopped to divert the necessary funding and resources to this project.

that’s my 2c worth…

motleychick motleychick 4:42 pm 16 Feb 10

Omg so unattractive. Waste of space and money.

Mothy Mothy 2:40 pm 16 Feb 10

What utter crap. The amount of greenery along the roadside had me confused for a while before I realised where this was;

View Larger Map

That’s the otehr side of the Diamant Hotel from the current New Acton buildings.

Isn’t it great that we’re going to have this Heritage listed building surrounded by such monoliths?? Hurrah for progress!

Grail Grail 11:16 am 16 Feb 10

It’s amazing how green and healthy the plants in architectural design drawings can be. How much water are they budgeting for maintenance of the greenery? Where’s that water coming from?

How are they expecting that this ugly building is going to fit in with the next door neighbours?

Ugly! Not in my back yard.

LMR LMR 10:55 am 16 Feb 10

Yuck, it looks like a cross between a communist era block of flats and an aztec ruin

captainwhorebags captainwhorebags 8:28 am 16 Feb 10

I think this particular building is aesthetically unappealing, particularly for that location and it may work better (with some redesign) over in the Kingston area. That being said, I’m a big fan of “living buildings” with lots of green space internally and externally.

Rooftop gardens have come a long way since the brutalist boom that resulted in Cameron Offices. The central part of Parliament House is essentially covered by a rooftop garden and although they have to make sure it doesn’t dry out, I’ve never heard of leaking being a problem.

Simcity 2000 reference – Launch Arcologies all the way…

imhotep imhotep 10:55 pm 15 Feb 10

moneypenny2612 said :

The rooftop garden…..It has the potential to go horribly wrong.

….. the greenery and rooftop maintenance costs turn out to be prohibitive. Which sometimes leaves you with an ugly building underneath.

Yep, while I think the PICTURES of the building look good, I’d like to see it if the greenery is a proper part of the building, not just some unsustainable, tacked-on gloss to give it some ‘green’ cred. (Perhaps I’m being too cynical.)

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 10:12 pm 15 Feb 10

I’m not sure my sarcasm came across in my earlier post . . . Anyhoo, I reckon these comments are spot on.

gospeedygo said – This ‘New Acton Precinct’ reeks of desperation to try and build a ‘hip’, ‘bohemian’ and ‘trendy’ area like a our own ultra-modern St.Kilda by the lake. I emphasise the word try and desperation. This doesn’t just happen because you build it, people make it happen.

moneypenny2612 said – Many of the original design concepts for the now widely loathed “brutalist” architectural style planned for lots of greenery or garden courtyards (including hanging gardens) to off-set all the concrete. A lot of the time, the best intentions are then laid to waste as the greenery and rooftop maintenance costs turn out to be prohibitive. Which sometimes leaves you with an ugly building underneath.

It doesn’t mean it couldn’t work out well but you can’t just “build” a green hip eco community and walk away. There are various elements of which a conducive structure is just a start. And I’m still not sure about the structure. As I said, bit light on for details. Very buzzwordy. Where’s the technical details? Will it really attract and encourage and inspire the people who could turn it into the sort of community it appears to aspire to?

moneypenny2612 moneypenny2612 8:46 pm 15 Feb 10

The rooftop garden looks a bit freaky. It has the potential to go horribly wrong.

Many of the original design concepts for the now widely loathed “brutalist” architectural style planned for lots of greenery or garden courtyards (including hanging gardens) to off-set all the concrete. A lot of the time, the best intentions are then laid to waste as the greenery and rooftop maintenance costs turn out to be prohibitive. Which sometimes leaves you with an ugly building underneath.

Exhibit A – Cameron Offices Belconnen, which originally had rooftop gardens until the roof leaked.

New Acton Nishi looks like it could go the same way. Otherwise I imagine the body corporate fees will be quite steep.

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