As soon as an ardent brainstorming session concludes in Collingwood Studio, the studio crew enjoys an escape in Bruny Island Farm as a revival activity. 

John Wardle Architects, a Melbourne-based firm, spends time with the local tradesmen in Bruny Island, learning practical skills and making small installations on farms. To restore their sanity and to enhance the power of observation, they submerge themselves in a place as a form of revival activity.

John Wardle architects believe in designing buildings that establish a conversation between the built form and its occupants. They believe in listening. They engage in delivering prime solutions.

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Melbourne school of design_©Peter Bennet(JWA)

Site context is essential with the type of soil and history, collectively playing a vital role in the design process. Importance to details, nature of the material, and fit to a function are the three spells which give character to their design.

Renowned for making unique-style buildings and spaces of importance.

 which are of varied scales and typology like Housing, Education, Museums, and Commercial offices are their Spheres of action

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Melbourne school of design_©Peter Bennet(JWA)
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Melbourne school of design_©Peter Bennet(JWA)

Melbourne School of Design, Parkville, Victoria

A stellar structure adheres to the phrase Practise what you Preach.

The building encloses the learning space for young designers whilst being the specimen of their knowledge. Open layers of construction are visible and help in understanding the structural details. This Design School was a collaboration between John Wardle Architects and the Boston firm NADAA. 

The architecture, deep-rooted planning with the pensive spatial arrangement, nurtures the space with utter exuberance.

The crystal-clear facades and permeable ground plane unveil creative and collaborative activities to the rest of the university.  

Inter-linked with a network of buildings and courtyards which mingle with the surrounding heritage buildings.

Each elevation has prominent attributes which respond to the context through the formation of urban spaces, buildings, and Campus collection.

Ballarat GovHub,Ballarat, Victoria.

Draped in colossal timber, It is affiliated with Ballart’s civic precinct. An office building with a crisp appearance inhabits numerous activities at ground level. It has two lift cores and interconnecting stairs that offer the occupants a choice of access. The site is in a prime setting.

John Wardle Architects retains the site by attaining its context. 

They have used extensive timber members made of CLT and Glulam, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint. The Interior is subdivided & each is defined with primary timber columns and beams. The space leads to a productive team environment. The outer skin of the building is encased in solid zinc, and a gabled roof resembles a rural shed. It reduces heat loss. While dispersed windows throughout create a domestic impression. It is described as civic, amiable, and sustainable.

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The Ballarat Gov Hub_©Peter Bennet (JWA)
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The Ballarat Gov Hub_©Peter
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The Ballarat Gov Hub_©Peter Bennet (JWA)

Cradle Coast Campus, Burnie, Tasmania.

Cradle Coast Campus draws users closer to a humane experience. 

It is tucked within a surrounding landscape like a secret. It abuts the Tasmanian coastline. 

John Wardle Architects accomplished the need to design for the community, Industry, and local businesses for education initiatives. The building has multiple access points. Distinct spaces surround the courtyard with numerous functions. Cladded with timber all over, smaller blocks are interlinked to form the campus as a whole. The green roof acts as a crown jewel. Repetitive vertical timber members appear as curtains on the facade. All while the facade glasses reflect the pristine blue sky.

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Cradle coast centre_©Anjie Blair, Adrian Gibson
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Cradle coast centre_©Anjie Blair, Adrian Gibson

Phoenix Central park, Sydney, Australia.

A nexus of an integrated performance space. A Garden and an Art Gallery. A central garden adjoins the Art Gallery and Performance Space. A collaborative project between the JWA and Durbach Block Jagger of which the former has designed the gallery and the latter the performance spaces. The subtle folds at the top of the facade give it a refined appearance, and the circular opening delivers a dramatic effect. Concrete and timber in the interiors of the art gallery complement the artwork. Large spaces are put together with intimate smaller spaces. It is a true transcendent edifice.

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Phoenix Central Park_©Martin Misching, Trevor Mein
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Phoenix Central Park_©Martin Misching, Trevor Mein
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Phoenix Central Park_©Martin Misching, Trevor Mein

Holme Apartments, Collingwood, Melbourne.

Convex floor slabs with a pointy peak soar high where the history of silos exists. Quite opposite, the balconies pretty much make up the character of this building. The balcony’s position is such that it defends itself from the sun throughout the day. Subtle curves protrude in and out and create patterns of shadows for residents’ comfort. The base of the tower is a 1920s brick warehouse, an art deco style. John Wardle Architects’ design style of augmenting the historic realm makes them unprecedented. The existing walls are modified with openings and extended over the entire site, the context is well preserved, and the fusion of the past with the present retains its historical importance.

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Holme apartments_©Dylan James
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Holme apartments_©Dylan James

Limestone House, Toorak, Melbourne.

An energy-efficient home where occupants can relish great health benefits. 

It is enclosed in a sturdy cover, cladded in Mt Gambier limestone.

It wears off with time. John Wardle Architects’ attention to detail towards materials is unparalleled. Materials are obtained locally with no need for constant maintenance, floors are carpeted with siltstone from Queensland, black butt timber flooring, along with cladding, and interiors from NSW and Queensland. The elevations are private, with limited openings. The largest opening faces the outdoor space and lights up the interior with sunbeams as well as hosts impressive views.Two certifications – Passive House and Living Building Challenge. The former is achieved with a comfortable internal temperature. 

A hermetic profile is insulated well with triple-glazed windows to minimise energy usage and the latter is a green building certifications program, self-sufficient in managing its water usage and wastewater whereas a photovoltaic cell system with battery storage fulfils the energy needs. Recycled Australian hardwood timber is used all over.

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Limestone House_©jwa-Dianna Snape
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Limestone House_©jwa-Dianna Snape

Ian Potter Southbank Centre, Southbank, Melbourne.

A Melbourne Conservatoire. The newest addition in the music realm.

A core centre for artists, it houses activities for music rehearsal and practice. The building hosts a musical interaction between the performer and the passersby. 

The numerous discoid windows function as thresholds for sublimity, to make people – ‘au courant’ with artists’ skills and to establish a community-artist relationship. 

The orchestral rehearsal space on the ground floor has the oculus window, the largest among them. A precast concrete facade with 66000 ceramic tiles assembled in a discrete pattern is commendable and a waving feather is in the cap of JWA. JWA is lauded for its modish interiors and refined detailed spaces. The building looks exquisite, sits with sheer grace among others, and compliments the performer. 

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Limestone House_©jwa-Dianna Snape
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Limestone House_©jwa-Dianna Snape

Hawke Building, Adelaide, South Australia.

This building is a part of the revitalization of great importance for the university. This stands as a symbol of the evolution of education in the city. West Adelaide, differs from the conventional opaque design styles of universities. The building captures splendid vistas with its transparent elevations, defining its interiors with a white & black Interwoven staircase. One can enjoy a stroll along the circulation spaces. The precast concrete panels on the facade with inserted copper in elevation.

Rachel Hurst describes The Hawke as a cool resolution of large-scale jewellery, in materiality and assembly whereas a hot and energetic work with compelling contradictions.

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Hawke Building_©(JWA)
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Hawke Building_©(JWA)

271 Spring Street, Melbourne, Victoria.

A part of the Urban Renewal Programme. A new commercial office building with an amalgamation of the part old brick podium as a base and part new retail space is incorporated. Amidst the historical buildings of Little Lon District. It maintains its historical identity, the two-story brickwork makes it look like among the office space above. The facade glass is inclined, and an old roof pattern is used for textured details as sun blades over the glass to protect it from sun radiation, with geometrical patterns for good thermal performance. 

JWA is known for fulfilling site context effectively, this site had many, uniform heritage facades, electrical infrastructure easements, and Melbourne underground rail tunnels below the site. The structure achieves it all. 

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271 Spring street_©(JWA)
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271 Spring street_©(JWA)

Aurizon Headquarters, Brisbane, Queensland.

Ann St. has a gem, a glass tower with a brick base podium, It blesses pedestrians with connectivity to the church via the landscaped walkway stretching from Brookes Street to church. The glass canopy branches out from the building and provides cover to this pathway. 

The brick podium blends with adjacent brick buildings. The building overlooks views of busy Ann street. JWAs craftsmanship has moulded the facade into a pixelated screen rendered with splendid views of the skyline. 

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Aurizon Headquarters_©(JWA)
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Aurizon Headquarters_©(JWA)

Caulfield Library, Monash University, Caulfield, Melbourne.

Blessed with a light-filled core centre, the library of Caulfield University, originally used to exhibit a brutalist style. Originally Brick and Concrete were revamped for a new impression & meaning. New openings were added in elevations all over the building, along with a full height atrium of 19-meter span, post-tensioned, concrete T beams. Natural light drawn from the atrium illuminates the interior. Cool and engaging seating arrangement gives a new edge to timber designs, making it more user-friendly. Balcony boxes, designed of fine vertical timber, surround the atrium. To its total contrasts, the steel and mesh structure to its exterior on the west, helping as a shed, the student lounge is visually connected from here, Navigates to the words library and welcomes. This gives a new identity to the old structure.

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Caulfield Library _©(JWA)

Boneo country house, Boneo, Victoria.

Truly engulfed within the landscape, this building is completely redesigned. Connected to the old house, the right bends & folds give organic character to the structure, and the shape helps to draw views from Bass strait and port Phillip bay. Timber screen functions as a fence for the internal courtyard. A copper skin on the sides frames splendid views. A glass link between the old and new works as a transition space. Textured, local timber is used all over. The interior has a relaxing & safe ambience.

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Boneo country house_©(JWA)
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Boneo country house_©(JWA)

Learning & Teaching Building, Monash Clayton Campus.

The new addition to the Clayton campus – The Learning and Teaching Building, a multi-faculty learning centre with formal learning & teaching space in an informal setting, 

The site has evolved so much from indigenous bushland to colonial farmland, a suburban subdivision to a university campus. The number of informal classrooms with uniform spaces is designed to keep it engaging for students. One can experience a city-like feeling within the building. In a low-rise structure, spaces are horizontally distributed. The facade is a deception, It strikes more Industrial, is rather not.

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Learning & Teaching Building_©Peter benetts(JWA)
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Learning & Teaching Building_©Peter benetts(JWA)

Marchwiel Estate, Marion bay, Tasmania.

A rural Tasmanian resort experience in a historic stone homestead, with sensitively designed structures. A redevelopment retreat has three residential rooms with five formal guest suites, and shared living space in the Living Pavilion. The interior is adorned with timber throughout. The building profile is geometric in shape.

A rural retreat with a touch of nature, domestic activities, cooking lessons with local ingredients, bathing, and leisure. A lounge Verandah interconnects the residential structures with the bridge. The bridge leads towards the bath house which is concealed when viewed from Homestead. It houses hot pools, a sauna, and a treatment area around the 11-meter-high circular waterfall. Its position is such, it reconnects the creek & the ocean.

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Marchwiel Estate_©JWA
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Marchwiel Estate_©JWA
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Marchwiel Estate_©JWA

Somewhere other, Installation.

Somewhere other was an installation at the 16th international Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice. JWA took the use of portals to the next level, Portals connect views of buildings with their context. Moving two steps further the portal connects a calibrated device along with a long lens between Venice and Australia. The buildings of JWA are what lies inside these portal views, with Australian Landscapes and other crafts from collaborators. Yvonne Farrel along with Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects are the brains behind the Freespace theme of the installation. They define Freespace – as a call for architecture to find 

“ unexpected generosity in each project”. Jacaranda industries took the initiative to construct this masterpiece in Geelong, Melbourn. The cladding is of Spotted gum, a native hardwood of Australia. A cantilevered chrome cone at one end, within the wall, a funnel-shaped form, and a Venetian glass by Leonardo Cimolin. The view is projected into the exhibition space with the help of a small mirror.   

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Somwhere other_©JWA
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Somwhere other_©JWA

References:

John Wardle Architects 2022. Melbourne school of design. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/melbourne-school-of-design/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022]

John Wardle Architects 2022. Ballarat Govhub. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/ballarat-govhub/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Cradle Coast Campus. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/cradle-coast-campus/l/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Phoenix Central park. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/phoenix-central-park/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Holme Apartments. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/holme-apartments/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Limestone House. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/limestone-house/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Ian Potter Southbank Centre. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at:https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/ian-potter-southbank-centre/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Hawke Building. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/hawke-building/[Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022.271 Spring Street . [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/271-spring-street/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Aurizon Headquarters. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/aurizon-headquarters/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Caulfield Library. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/caulfield-library/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Boneo country house. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/boneo-country-house/[Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Learning & Teaching centre [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at:https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/learning-teaching-building/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Marchwiel Estate. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/projects/marchwiel/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

John Wardle Architects 2022. Somewhere other. [online]. (Last updated:-). Available at: https://www.johnwardlearchitects.com/stories/somewhere-other/ [Accessed date:15 Oct 2022].

Author

An Architect, honing her Design skills each day, She likes to Observe Spaces, People, & The Greens! She is in awe of built forms & narrates tales about them, Bingeing On pop cultural content is her guilty pleasure.

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