Antony Martin Architects | 2011 Shanghai Expo Australian Pavilion

Melbourne has produced many of Australia’s leading architectural practices and has in the process generated an architectural community that is perhaps one of the world’s most engaging. As a result, there is an appreciation for design among the general public where the pursuit and execution of sophisticated architecture and urban design is recognized and applauded.

Visible across the city and its surrounds, this commitment to design can be largely attributed to the tradition of design thinking established by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where many in the architectural fraternity have either studied or held teaching positions. Consequently, the architectural culture in Melbourne has produced a very high level of expectation and when projects fall short, the criticism can be harsh and unforgiving. Many of the practices operating at the forefront of the profession have responded well to this expectation and a great deal of the work ranks among the best in the world.

One of the more recent design based studios to emerge in Melbourne, and certainly one to watch in the coming years, is Antony Martin Architects. Prior to establishing AMA, Martin was involved in several high profile projects with leading Melbourne studio Wood Marsh including the Prince of Wales apartments, Mona MAC1 – the proposed conversion of wharf shed in Hobart to a museum, restaurant and bar and a 44 level high end residential apartment tower in Brisbane.

Martin concluded his time at Wood Marsh with the design and delivery of the Australian Pavilion for the 2011 Shanghai Expo. While the project had an intended life span of only six months, over 8 million people passed through it – 90% of these being Chinese nationals. Built by Bovis Lend Lease Projects Shanghai, the Australian pavilion was one of the first countries to commence construction. The 4800m2 site provided generous circulation and access areas around the perimeter of the building and with 20m high, Australian made, pre-weathered steel walls containing 8,300m2 of floor area, the building really was ‘Australia Unlimited’.

Prior to his collaboration with Wood Marsh, Martin spent eight years in New York. He was responsible for the design and delivery of several high end apartment renovations in and around Union Square, Gramercy Park, Tribeca and Long Island City. Martin was also involved in the BNMG advertising agency offices, Framestore New York studios and Rock and Republic’s NY showroom.

Currently AMA has several projects underway including a 120 m2 house in Venus Bay, a 200m2 house in Hepburn Springs, a five level 600 m2 mixed use residential and retail development in Port Melbourne, a 250m2 house in Seattle and various residential additions and alterations in Melbourne.

“It has been an exciting process establishing my own practice – developing ideas and formulating strategies that I intend to focus on over the next five years. One of the more engaging questions I’m currently pursuing is how I want to practice and one thing that is emerging so far is that AMA won’t be restricted to traditional design services from concept through to delivery. We will perform a variety of roles across several ‘non-linear’ phases. The practice will soon be moving to a new shared space with Nest Architects and several writers, artists and a few others in the center of Melbourne – I’m really looking forward to working in a collaborative and creative environment where the generation of ideas and dialogue isn’t limited simply to architecture”. Antony Martin, April 2011.

Click on images below to access gallery. Images Peter Bennetts.