Growth awarded at Qld Architecture Awardsdsdsd

More than 320 people attended the awards ceremony on Friday night at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, where Bark Design Associate, Phil Tillotson was presented with the award during the presentations to all the top projects.

The awards jury citation read; “Initially a site specific installation fashioned from an uncannily simple and beautiful kit of floral shaped ply and mirror plates, yet with wit and ingenuity the artwork has been regrown with increasing refinement and resonance in three settings to date. Pedagogy and collaboration employed in the process is laudable.”

As architects, ‘Growth’ by BarkLab was an opportunity to explore our collaborative arts practice, a experimental design and making process involving a dedicated team of UQ lecturer Michael Dickson and architecture students. Our art practice is pursued, through ‘Bark Lab’ to reciprically inform our ideas and design sensibilities in our architecture.

Images – On stage, Bark Design Architects Associate, Phil Tillotson (middle), Richard Kirk, AIA Queensland Chapter President (left), Liam Proberts, AIA State Jury Director (right),


Bark Directors hosts Queensland Architecture Awardsdsdsd

Lindy was announced by the President of the Queensland Chapter, Shane Thompson, to be the first female to host the state awards event, so she accepted the position with great pride and enthusiasm, receiving congratulatory feedback from attendees for her professional role on the night. The event and exhibition of award finalists were designed by creative directors, Kirk (formerly Richard Kirk Architect).

Thirty-five of the state’s most inspiring and leading architectural projects were honoured at the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2013 Queensland Architecture Awards at the award-winning Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. As Public architecture, the Translational Research Institute in Brisbane by Wilson Architects and Donovan Hill (Architects in Association) received the top honour on the night, the F.D.G Stanley Award for Public Architecture, along with the G.H.M. Addison Award for Interior Architecture. The Robin Dods Award for Residential Architecture – Houses was awarded to James Russell Architect for Bisley Place House.


Into the Arctic Circledsdsd

In 2008 on our way to the Venice Architecture Biennale, we visited acclaimed Pritzker Prize winning Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor in his Haldenstein studio, where he described a witchcraft memorial he was designing for a site in the Arctic Circle. Four years after that conversation, in August this year, we were flying to Vardø over the snow capped mountains, bluey grey fjords and glacial lakes of far north Norway. Our conversation and thoughts were still brimming and stimulated by ‘Crafted’, the 12th Alvar Aalto Symposium that we had attended and all of the Aalto buildings that we had been so lucky to experience in Finland during the days before this flight.

We had travelled almost 14,000 kilometres north from Noosa Heads in Queensland to a latitude of 70 degrees into the Arctic Circle, and we were finally looking northeast from the Norwegian mainland across the icy Barents Sea to the windswept, treeless, most northeast island of Vardø. Amidst the distant pitched roofs and timber clad houses in earthy pastel tones, two structures held presence in the late summer evening light and were scaled more towards the vast landscape – the vertical white spire of Eyvind Moestue’s 1958 Vardø church and the horizontal white line of the Steilneset Memorial built in 2010, which is a beautiful collaboration between Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and the late French-born, American artist Louise Bourgeois and the reason for our journey to this end of the earth.

Our pilgrimage to the port town of Vardø on this month long Nordic architecture sojourn, followed the memorable visit to Zumthor’s studio, where he showed us through his projects, the myriad of exquisite models and explained the design of ‘a witchcraft memorial project he was designing with an artist in far north Norway’. We stood looking across the water at all 125 metres of this distinct skeletal white line, which ‘underlined’ the town of Vardø at the edge between water and land, 64 kilometres from the Russian border. We descended 88 metres below sea level, as we drove through the 3km long sub-sea concrete tunnel towards Vardø, an experience reminiscent of a scene from James Bond’s Dr. No. At 7.00pm, we arrived to a misty, sleety evening of near freezing 4 degrees, illuminated with an omnipresent horizontal half light which stayed into the very early hours of the following morning. Our walk through the narrow streets after dinner was narrated by the eerie calls of seabirds, most of the houses we passed, had lamps glowing in their square proportioned curtainless windows, which gave us comfort that we were not alone on the island, even though everyone else seemed cosy inside. We wanted to spend as much time discovering and experiencing the reason for us being in this chilling part of the world, so we were dressed to deal with the arctic climate. It wasn’t long before our extremities felt the cold but any discomfort was anaesthetized by the growing anticipation of Zumthor’s architecture over the brow of the hill.

Our town map gave us the clue as to how we wanted to arrive that evening and so we walked past the gates of the 1307 Vardø Fortress, through the little cemetery, past the small black and white timber Vardø Chapel and down towards the haunting site of the 17th century Vardø witchcraft trials, where 77 women and 14 men were tried and burned at the stake. Seen from the cemetery glowing in the bluey half light of the midnight sun, the Steilneset Memorial, which commemorates the 91 persecuted victims, many of which were indigenous Sami people, came into plain view as another significant ‘underline’ beneath the distant treeless mountains on mainland Norway, along the jagged rocky coastline. It is a two part composition – a long white line and a black dot, also the black and white colour scheme of the nearby cemetery chapel. It consists of two structures designed by Zumthor – an infinitely long structure of bleached ‘driftwood’ timber frames encasing a stretched canvas cocoon structure and a dark glass cube.

In an interview with ArtInfo magazine, Zumthor described his collaboration with Bourgeois as simply, “I had my idea, I sent it to her, she liked it, and she came up with her idea, reacted to my idea, then I offered to abandon my idea and to do only hers, and she said, ‘No, please stay.’ So, the result is really about two things – there is a line, which is mine, and a dot, which is hers… Louise’s installation is more about the burning and the aggression, and my installation is more about the life and the emotions [of the victims].” After what seemed like hours wandering around the rugged site, finding some respite from the wind within Zumthor’s canvas version of the tunnel that brought us to Vardø, the bitter cold finally ushered us back to shelter for the night.

If it actually got dark that night, we didn’t see it. We awoke early to more cries of seabirds and the lapping of harbour water outside our window and to the sight of Vardø port against a magnificent crisp blue sky, a reminder of our big blue sky down under. After a savoured breakfast of ryebread, cheese and pickled Herrings, we headed to the Pomor Museum (Vardø’s Russian history) where we met with Andreas Hawkenes and spent the next two hours discussing the history, politics and stories of the region, and being Vardø born, a true local’s perspective of the Steilneset Memorial story. It was delightful to meet Andreas in person after our lengthy email conversations during months beforehand. The sleet of the previous night had cleared to reveal the clearest, biggest blue sky. We spent the day in places between Steilneset and as many vantage points on the island as we could find to view the memorial in its context.

‘Memory Hall’ is a long fabric enclosure shaped like a herring fillet, supported by hundreds of bleached ‘driftwood’ frames, inspired by the remnant fish drying diagonal timber structures that stood abandoned in nearby fields. The timber structure holds the canvas cocoon up off the ground and allows daisy like flowers to proliferate from the rocky ground below. Its walls, white on the outside, consist of stiff fabric stretched by stainless steel wires into a regular pattern, are suggestive of sail rigging. Ninety-one small, square windows recessed in metal frames punctuate the walls at irregular heights. Entered via a timber ramp, the structure is light to the touch – the inner surfaces of the walls are black fabric which resonates in the wind. Each window represents a victim of the witch trials identified, along with details of each individual’s ordeal on hanging plaques. Ninety one small light bulbs suspended in the windows give a feeling of endless movement along a torchlit corridor, a sensation enhanced by the raised timber catwalk underfoot. The effect produced by the varying heights of the windows and lights, the elevated walkway, and the square, recessed views of the outer world are very theatrical as in much of Zumthor’s emotive work.

In stark contrast, a few metres away, a reflective black glass cube pavilion, encloses Bourgeois’s installation, a terminus of high drama after the studied quiet of the long ‘tunnel’ interior. “The Damned, the Possessed, and the Beloved” is an unforgettable vision in this rugged landscape. A steel chair centred inside a volcanic cone of off-form concrete burns perpetual flames from its seat. Seven huge oval mirrors, angled above the chair on slender pylons, twist the flames and viewer into sinister shapes and distortions. The timber and canvas hall celebrates the lives of those lost, whereas the glass cube expresses the horror.

As well as the experiential quality of the architecture within and its presence in the bigger landscape, it was utterly moving as each of the victims was represented as a unique and valuable person in the memorial. Each had a shining light and a small square window both for looking into and for looking outwards. As we boarded the small plane to take us to Oslo via Kirkenes, we were silent whilst our thoughts were about our 24 hour pilgrimage to Zumthor’s memorable and poignant architecture – our journey was unexpectedly touched by the history and geography of this magnificent Nordic landscape.

Published on Architecture Australia AAU. Click Here to view.


A Nordic Architecture Adventuredsdsd

Noosa News editor Gail Forrer recently reported on Bark directors, Lindy & Steve’s month long Northern European Architectural Adventure.

In 2008 on their way to the Venice Architecture Biennale, Noosa architects Lindy Atkin and Steve Guthrie of Bark Design, visited acclaimed Pritzker Prize winning Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor in his Haldenstein studio.

“At the time he described to us a witchcraft memorial he was designing,” Steve said.

“He was collaborating with New York artist – Louise Bourgeois – and it was to be built in place called Vardo, in Norway, 64 klms from the Russian border into the Arctic Circle.”

Four years after the conversation, a trip from the Norwegian mainland through a 3km long sub-sea concrete tunnel to the completed 120 metre long timber, canvas and glass memorial on the isolated, windswept island was a key highlight in the couple’s recent Nordic architecture tour.

After a month away, they are just a few weeks home in their Tinbeerwah studio. But they are still buzzing with excitement after visiting countless Modern buildings designed by Northern European architects of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Their trip took them from Helsinki to Amsterdam, through summer in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Holland, starting with the ‘Crafted’ Conference – the 12th Alvar Aalto Symposium in Finland.

Alvar Aalto is the great modernist architect of the Nordic world; his work is dotted throughout Scandinavia but concentrated in his homeland of Finland.

“The Aalto Symposium was a gathering of over 400 architects with amazing international speakers,” Lindy said.
They went on to visit key Aalto buildings throughout the country from Aalto’s Helsinki Studio and the Aalto family’s experimental summer house isolated within a beautiful Beech forest in Finland’s lake country.

Through their tour they checked into ancient churches, chapels and even extraordinary cemeteries.

“The Ecclesiastical architecture was amazing,” Steve said.

The Chapel of St Lawrence north of Helsinki is designed by Avanto, the architecture practice of a young Finnish couple, also speakers at the ‘Crafted’ conference.

In Stockholm Gunnar Asplund’s Woodland Cemetery is a world heritage site for its significant landscape and architecture integration.

The Bagsvaerd church in Denmark by Jorn Utzon, the mastermind of the Sydney Opera House, “is inspirational for its masterful use of natural light, concrete and timber, but with a strong Japanese aesthetic” Steve said.

“The dynamic roofscape of the new Oslo Opera House by the Norwegian architects Snohetta provides an amazing public gathering space on the city’s waterfront”.

Throughout many of the diverse sites, Lindy and Steve noted a lack of defining boundaries such as balustrades, railings or fences. This dearth of signposts led to what Lindy described as a: “Seamless, and integrated urbane feel.”

“It’s not so regulated (as Australia); people are responsible for their own actions.” Lindy said.

In Amsterdam they marvelled at the green and free flowing transport system, particularly the mainstream use of bicycles. But that too, has its quirky side.

“Every year the Amsterdam council fish about 15,000 bikes out of the canals,” Lindy said.

“They are all parked together so closely, if one falls in the wind, they all go.”

The ‘Eye’ Dutch Film Museum is a very recent addition to Amsterdam’s waterfront and is a “contemporary inspiration inside and out, and lauded by the locals” Lindy said.

Fresh after holidays and bursting with inspiration, Lindy and Steve are a powerhouse of ideas.

Lindy said, “The Nordic tour will fuel our ‘Global’ design philosophy which aims to position Bark as a ‘global’ thinking architecture practice working within the place specific ‘local’ context of the Sunshine Coast”.


Maleny House on ABC ‘Dream Build’ Seriesdsdsd

Dream Build is a new series about Aussies who have been lucky enough to turn the dream of building their own home into a spectacular reality. The ABC Series will feature the our very own Maleny House on ABC1, Sunday 19 August 2012 at 8.15pm. Clients share their experience of throwing down ambitious and challenging briefs to their architect in the hope of creating a ‘one in a million’ home. The architect will reveal their design secrets and how they rose to the challenge to give their client the home of their dreams.

It aired on Sunday the 19th of August with over 750,000 viewers tuning in nationally! The program was followed up with lots of great feedback from our clients and friends. Thank you so much for all your support and we hope that you enjoyed the program. If you missed the show or would like to have another look, you can check it out out here on the ABC website.


Lindy Atkin AIA Qld Chapter Councillordsdsd

Current Queensland Chapter President Shane Thompson’s mandate includes promoting architects and architecture in regional areas, assisting with the advancement of women in architecture and advocating the critical role of architects in the design of the built environment.

These are all very relevant contemporary issues in our profession which resonate strongly with Lindy and the Bark Design Architects team and we look forward to assisting the Institute and broader architecture profession in Queensland.


Australia House Competition & Talkdsdsd

Bark was invited to present a design entry for the ‘Australia House’ competition in Japan, along with a selection of other talented Queensland-based entrants at an event held last night at the Australian Institute of Architects headquarters in Brisbane. Organized by the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in Japan, the design competition drew 154 entries from a wide range of practitioners and students from Japan, Australia and beyond.

‘Australia House’ is used for art installations during the contemporary international arts festival, which takes place every three years in the mountainous Echigo-Tsumari region of Niigata Prefecture. The house provides a space for Australian artists to live, work and present their artwork, whilst also serving as a venue for joint projects between Australia and Japan.

Bark participated in a site inspection tour in July to get a feel for the environment and landscape of the project in order to prepare Bark’s application. A photograph of the site is displayed below.

The event was organised by ArchitectureAU and the AIA, with presentations made by Mara Francis (second-placed B.A.M.F.), Andrew Wilson (Chie Konno/NMBW Queensland Office), Jim Gall and Benita Tunks, Stephen Guthrie and Lindy Atkin (Bark Design Architects/Tripod Studio cdi/Arup), Paul Hotson (Phorm Architecture + Design), and Michael Dickson (University of Queensland).

For more information, please click here to go to the ArchitectureAU website.


Sunshine Coast Architecture Tour 2012dsdsd

The full day tour will see participants visiting stunning residential architecture projects on the Sunshine Coast and hinterland designed by leading architects Kerry Hill, Shane Thompson, John Mainwaring, Bark Design Architects and Richard Kirk Architect, including lunch at historic Yandina Station Homestead.

Places are limited and the images show a taste of what will be experienced on Sunday 13th May 2012.

We thank the following Architects and their Clients for their involvement:
Shane Thompson – Bryden House
Richard Kirk – Chamberlain House
John Mainwaring – Dragon House & Viridian Noosa
Kerry Hill – Ogilvie House
Yandina Station by Robert Fleming

For more information on the ‘Experience’ tour please click here.


Practice on the Coast Edgedsdsd

Bark were recently invited to participate in the Asia Pacific Design Library Lecture Series 2012 at the State Library of Qld. The lecture series featuring internationally renowned speakers explored architectural issues within, around and beyond the city and presented an insight into the design processes and solutions of the contemporary architect. A selection of Twitter Feed Comments received during the presentation included:

Andy Heah @ahkl77 Love the vignettes, clarity of presentation and design processes by Lindy and Stephen of Bark Architects at tonight’s #APDLlecture

Stuart Vokes @owenandvokes Well done @barkarchitects – a wonderful journey through the amazing settings of your beautiful + responsive buildings #APDLlecture

Westera Partners @westeraPartners Loving the innovative project exploration with Stephen and Lindy from @barkarchitects!! Thanks @slqAPDL #APDLlecture

APDL @slqAPDL It’s great how Stephen and Lindy finish each others sentences. They’re obviously a great team #APDLlecture

Westera Partners @westeraPartners Brilliance in climate consciousness from Stephen and Lindy @barkarchitects @slqAPDL #APDLlecture

Phillip Nielsen @PNEILSEN Always refreshing seeing the work of Bark Design, experiencing your work in 2006 continues to influence me. Thank you again #APDLlecture

Wei Jien @WJien What a fantastic work place! #APDLlecture @barkarchitects


Tropical Houses – Living in Paradisedsdsd

Widely published, our Marcus Beach House project has made the front  cover of Braun Publishings ‘Tropical Houses – Living in Paradise’ publication. The six page article is filled with wonderful photography courtesy of Christopher Frederick Jones.

Sited 250 meters away from Marcus Beach, Sunshine Coast, the basic ‘pavilion’ plan was sketched out in the sand during an early site visit. A simple diagram of two timber pavilions placed either side of a venerable 50 year old Morton Bay Ash ensures that the tree takes centre stage to the scale, proportions and life of the house around it.

Celebrating its natural, coastal setting, the house provides its occupants with an inextricable link to the landscape. Exploring ideas of lightness, layers of transparency and integrating indoor / outdoor living within dynamic patterns of light and shadow, the Marcus Beach house is a simple frame to enable a contemporary coastal lifestyle to unfold within a very special landscape.