Australian firm John Wardle Architects and Boston’s NADAAA were recognized in the Best Architecture, Over 1,000 Square Metres category last year for their collaboration on the Melbourne School of Design.
A “riot of architectural gestures, aesthetic quirks and unusual material applications, all rolled into one powerful structure,” the building features a stunning four-storey atrium with a jaw-dropping prismatic, plywood-clad feature that appears to dangle from the coffered timber ceiling.
A second collaboration between these two firms is currently under construction in Melbourne. The Batman Avenue Pedestrian Bridge runs alongside the north bank of the Yarra River and connects Birrarung Marr, an inner-city park, with the Melbourne Park sports precinct.
Part of a master plan for the redevelopment of the parks, the commission was won via international competition with a team that also includes Oculus Landscape Architects, a firm with U.S. and Australian offices. Once complete, the bridge will allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross above the highway that runs between the parks.
The structure is envisioned as an extension of the landscape’s natural topography, launching at either end with gradually ramping paths and zigzagging out over a series of “walking” angled support columns. The walkway not only links two important public spaces, but also acts a new meeting place, with ample room for people to gather, interact and take in the views. A lookout point that branches off at the centre provides a dedicated spot for pausing to take in the sights.
The bridge will be completed in time for the Australian Open Tennis Championship in January 2017, when it will help ferry the event’s 700,000 spectators to Melbourne Park, which has hosted the event since 1988.