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Nation?s top 10 public concrete buildings unveiled

A judging panel of nine of the country’s best known architects and building experts compiled the first ever top 10 list of concrete public buildings at a ceremony at the Sydney Opera House in late August.

Unsurprisingly, the iconic performing arts centre made the list, as well as the High Court building in Canberra, the main car park at the University of Melbourne and the Punchbowl Mosque in Sydney.

Other structures on the list were: the Australian Academy of Sciences’ Shine Dome in Canberra; Australia Square in Sydney, which was the country’s first “round” skyscraper; the Gladesville Bridge in Sydney; James Cook University Library in Townsville; the Victorian State Offices in Melbourne; and the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

{{quote-A:R-W:175-I:2-Q:“To mark our 90th year, we embarked on a quest to find Australia’s most important and distinctive concrete public architectural landmarks” -who:Ken Slattery, CEO, CCAA}}Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia (CCAA) CEO Ken Slattery, who was a judge, said the list highlighted the aesthetic, environmental, and social contribution concrete has made – and continues to make – to Australia’s urban landscapes since the peak body’s formation nine decades ago.

“Since 1929, CCAA has promoted the inherent qualities, flexibility and sustainability of concrete as a building and construction material,” he said.

“To mark our 90th year, we embarked on a quest to find Australia’s most important and distinctive concrete public architectural landmarks, highlighting the central role that concrete has played in Australia’s urban landscape throughout the past nine decades.

“Some of the Top 10 structures sit in harmony with the landscape, while others are proudly uncompromising,” Slattery added. “Some have brutalist, geometric composition while others have continuous free-flowing forms, but collectively, this list captures the limitless potential of concrete.”

The chair of the judging panel, Peter Poulet, a former New South Wales Government architect and current central city district commissioner for the Greater Sydney Commission, said the 10 buildings were selected from a list of 45 nominations.

“The selection was based on three criteria: architectural merit (the form, function and structure of the building); innovation in the use of concrete as a material, as a structure, and aesthetically; and finally, exemplar of the time, which determined whether the project redefined and expanded concrete’s potential,” he said.

“The buildings and structures remind us of the resilient, enduring beauty of concrete – and it is this durability that makes it a key enabling material to put society on a sustainable transition path.”


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