All posts by Christian Fisher

Award-winning jetty plan

Coffs Coast Advocate- November 15, 2019

THE extensive and successful community consultation that saw the Jetty4Shores Project in Coffs Harbour gain massive public approval has been recognised with an award from the Planning Institute of Australia – the Public Engagement and Community Planning accolade.

“If you can take a community on the journey with you to reach a goal, you know you’ve truly worked together,” Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight said.

“The Jetty4Shores Project put the Coffs Harbour community’s dream of a vibrant and attractive foreshore at its heart and that was, I believe, the secret to its success.

“Everyone involved in the consultation – the community reference group, the council staff and the stakeholders – should be congratulated for doing a great job.

“Between them and the community, we’ve finally been able to put the harbour back into Coffs Harbour.”

Sharon Smith, project manager for Jetty4Shores, drove the community engagement approach and process.

“We involved a significant number of stakeholders, including Crown Lands and the community reference group, during the preparation and exhibition of the draft Jetty4Shores Plan in all decisions to achieve a consensus on the way forward,” Ms Smith said.

“We then made sure we got out into the community via a wide range of engagement opportunities, such as information sessions, market stalls, extensive advertising, media releases, a web presence and a long-term exhibition in the main council administrative building.

“We also went for a very recognisable and consistent branding of the project itself.

During the consultation more than 1500 people viewed the preliminary plans during the pre-exhibition stage and 319 pre-submissions were received.

There were 3922 views of the webpage and a total of 1348 submissions were received during the draft exhibition period, with 63% of those in either full support or in support of most aspects of the draft plan as exhibited.

The final plan was approved by council in October, 2013, and subsequently endorsed by both state and federal members.

Works on the construction of the Walkway centrepiece will start in January next year.

Photo: Trevor Veale Trevor Veale- Project manager for the Jetty4Shores, Sharon Smith, and Mayor Denise Knight

Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club Refurbishment Stage One to begin construction

Construction is soon to commence on stage one of the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club Refurbishment. A state government grant will partly fund stage one of the $4-million project, which includes a new First Aid Room and Patrol Room, lower level storage, and a new upper level balcony.

With the aim to improve safety and patrolling through upgraded facilities, the new works are intended to be completed before the start of the next season.

A development application for the broader vision to restore and expand the club has been granted by Coffs Harbour City Council. The existing building uses large amounts of energy and provides less than ideal living and working conditions for its occupants. Internal spaces are difficult to cool and heat, have poor lighting, poor ventilation, and solar penetration.

The Surf Club Refurbishment Project presents the opportunity to provide a much needed revitalisation of the existing site and surf club building, and transform it to create a landmark beachside destination with an iconic public building which contributes to its users safety, health, happiness, and well being.

The vision is to revitalise the existing Surf Life Saving Club facility to establish a valuable public asset of outstanding design and visual amenity- a safe and healthy environment for people to enjoy the surf, and interact with each other and the physical place around them.

Click on link for NBN news storey below.

https://www.nbnnews.com.au/2017/03/30/state-grant-means-first-stage-of-surf-club-redevelopment-can-go-ahead/

FD+A 12 May 2019

fisher-design-coffs-harbour-bellingen

New Interpretive Signage for Gleniffer Reserves

Bellingen Courier Sun, 3 April 2019

Bellingen Shire Council has installed new interpretive signage at the four reserves in the Gleniffer Valley, including Broken Bridge, Angel Gabriel Capararo, Arthur Keough and Earl Preston.

The signs aim to educate visitors, remind them to treat the area with the respect it deserves, and give them information about alternative locations.

“Not only do the signs make a beautiful addition to our reserves,” Mayor Dominic King said, “they also play a very important role in educating and dispersing our visitors. They aim to raise awareness on how special the natural environment is, give tips on how to protect the waterways, and emphasise the importance of respecting private property, as well as how to behave appropriately when visiting the valley.”

A key feature of the signs are QR codes which play a range of video content. “This technology enables council to promote other swimming spots across the shire,” added the Mayor. “The videos will aim to help reduce visitor numbers during peak periods by showcasing alternative locations like Dangar Falls in Dorrigo or our beautiful beaches at Urunga.”

Bellingen Shire Council’s investment in the signage project was supported by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, via the 2018 Regional Tourism Fund.

Each sign provides different information across a range of themes from Indigenous culture and European history to native flora and fauna.

They also highlight the important conservation work that the Never Never Catchment Group and the local community has completed over the last 20 years to improve the natural environment and riparian zone.

The signs were developed and designed by local firm, Fisher Design and Architecture.

The Gleniffer Reserves Master Plan aims to provide a vision for the reserves and reflect our community’s creative spirit and environmental values. It aims to preserve and protect the natural environment while retaining a sense of place through the implementation of ideas and design solutions. The key strategies employed focus on: education, information, infrastructure and regulation.

Bellingen Council’s Gleniffer Interpretive Signage Launch

Gleniffer Interpretive Signage Launch- Wednesday 20th March
 2019

The official launch of the Regional Tourism Product Development Project- the Gleniffer Reserves Signage, was conducted at the Earl Preston Reserve, with attendees including Bellingen Mayor Dominic Knight, General Manager Liz Jeremy, Manager of Economic & Business Development
 Michael Grieve, Councillors and the Executive Committee.

Designed by Anna Fisher from Fisher Design and Architecture, and engineered by Chris Wood, structural engineer, the signs were constructed by the Bellingen Council building works team. Designed to withstand the flood prone environment, the signs aim to educate visitors, remind them to treat the area with the respect it deserves, and give them information about alternative locations.

An urban + country collaboration- Jan 2019 Architectural Bulletin Article

Architectural Bulletin Vol 75, Number 3, January 2019

Sitting at the drawing board in 2005, our Sydney practice of Mackenzie Pronk was about one year old. We were busy over-servicing our very local residential clients, we had a small baby in the office and not enough work. Our friends Anna and Christian from Fisher Design and Architecture had relocated to the Mid North Coast some years earlier. We had worked together at Tonkin Zulaikha Greer in the past; catch ups were brief and focused on some noisy Sydney watering hole.

Out of the blue Christian emailed us a brief – an EOI followed by a limited competition for National Parks – and it was due in a week. Without blinking or thinking we were working together again, exchanging emails of sketches, text and drawing files. We quickly devised a system of working together including operating the other’s mouse from 500 kms away during Skype calls. It felt like the remote working future had arrived.

Yet nothing beats being on the ground. I checked frequent flyer points and which airline would allow two surfboards and a design workshop was on. Work should be fun and life should triumph. We cruised the coast looking for the best waves, then with sandy feet in the Bellingen studio we worked till late, getting blurry and spilling wine on drawings.

Our partnership agreement was that we would aim to split all workloads and any fees 50–50, unless otherwise agreed. This has worked well for later projects, as have intensive periods working in the same room.

For a young Sydney practice, we enjoyed the broader range of projects, getting out of town and working with friends. For the guys up the coast on an acreage, teaming with a Sydney practice expanded the capacity of their office to aim for bigger projects.

In over a decade we have completed about ten projects together with few disagreements and now have a little bag of awards for the work we have done together. Pitching for work early on as ‘architects in association’ it seemed like a web of complexities may open up. We tested the waters with our insurers, lawyers and over time clients. There appeared no major barriers to working in this way. Sometimes with clients we worried that we might be seen as interlopers; other times Christian joked we were the grunt from the big city. But one thing we often noticed was a sort of pride from commissioners that a local firm was involved, but equally the project was important enough that a Sydney firm was also involved. It was a three-way win.

Our only real competitive angle for structuring our fees was that the client shouldn’t have to pay extra to have both practices working on a project. This meant we absorbed the cost of flights and when out of Sydney we slept on the very comfortable Bellingen studio floor – on reflection a very efficient practice.

Many regional centres in NSW are both expanding and being bypassed – a strange paradox. We Sydneysiders all know any number of design professionals who have sought refuge beyond the big smoke. Some find a different culture and expectations. By working collaboratively we have only dipped our toes into these realities in the regions. We did however grasp certain lifestyle benefits on offer and now feel a real connection to this area that we have been fortunate to have worked in.

Neil Mackenzie is a director of Mackenzie Pronk Architects, Sydney. They collaborated with Fisher Design and Architecture, Bellingen on the above design for Jetty4Shores Stage in Coffs Harbour. The bandstand won a commendation for Small Project Architecture in the 2018 Country Division Architecture Awards. Their Jetty4Shores Revitalisation Project with Coffs Harbour City Council also won the Urban Design Award.

New interpretive signage for Gleniffer

Bellingen Shire Courier Sun- December 7, 2018

Visitors to Gleniffer will soon be able to discover more about the unique environment and history of the Gleniffer Valley while learning how to preserve the natural beauty so that future generations can also enjoy this wonderful place.

The interpretive signage, to be installed at Earl Preston, Arthur Keough, Angel Gabriel Capararo and Broken Bridge Reserves before Christmas, has been developed by Bellingen Council in line with the recommendations of the Gleniffer Reserves Master Plan to inform, educate and positively influence visitor behaviour.

“Addressing the impacts of visitor behaviour at these highly-valued locations is a key part of the Gleniffer Reserves Master Plan,” said Mayor Dominic King.

“Adopting a ‘National Parks & Wildlife’ approach of positive, welcoming and informative messages, the interpretive signage is a step toward educating Bellingen Shire locals and visitors alike about the precious environment they are in, and encouraging respect for the surroundings and for the Gleniffer residents.”

A QR code on the sign panels will direct users to further online information about the reserves’ natural, cultural and community values. Videos featuring engaging animated characters and graphics reinforce these messages in a friendly and constructive manner.

One video offers suggestions for alternative swimming locations in Bellingen Shire, whilst a ‘top 5 tips’ video gives people brief guidelines for sustainable and responsible behaviour in and around the reserves.

Indigenous culture and language feature prominently on the information panels and video content, including highlights from a vibrant painting by Gumbaynggirr artist Keene Ballangarry and partner Natalie Bateman. Uncle Garry Williams, CEO of Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative, provided extensive consultation and valuable feedback on the content for the signs.

Acknowledgement of the significant community input from the Never Never Catchment Group outlines their outstanding contributions to environmental conservation in the Gleniffer Valley over many decades.

Local historians John Lean and Colin Sutton, along with the Bellinger Valley Historical Society provided fascinating stories and images of the early white settlement of the Gleniffer Valley.

The sign structures, made from local recycled bridge timbers, were designed by Fisher Design & Architecture to complement the natural bush surroundings. The raw, untreated hardwood timbers will be left to weather naturally.

The interpretive signage was made possible by a grant from the NSW government through its Regional Tourism Fund, managed by Destination NSW.

Foreshores project wins praise- 2018 AIA Country Division Urban Design Award

Coffs Coast Advocate- 12th Oct, 2018

COFFS Harbour’s Jetty4Shores Project upgrade has taken out an architecture award.

The project has received top honours in the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Country Division Awards.

The award for Urban Design went to the Jetty4Shores Revitalisation project by Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects and Coffs Harbour City Council.

“The project effectively communicates the spirit of place and the genuine community affection for this site,” the jury said.

“The cultural and environmental meanings of the site have been enshrined within the design.”

Coffs Harbour Council Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan said: “The Jetty4Shores project is an outstanding success and has been so well received by locals and visitors alike.

“It’s fantastic to see the project and the work of a local firm, as well as council, receive such amazing recognition from a national peak body.

“Acknowledgement from such a prestigious organisation is a great achievement for all those involved in this major project.”

The awards highlight the value of creating high-quality urban spaces and facilities for regional communities.

Coffs Harbour Jetty4Shores Project- wins 2018 AIA Country Division Awards

Bellingen Shire Courier Sun- October 10, 2018

The Coffs Harbour Jetty4Shores project has received top honours in the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Country Division Awards.

The award for Urban Design went to Coffs Harbour’s Jetty4Shores Revitalisation project by Fernmount-based Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects and Coffs Harbour City Council.

“The project effectively communicates the spirit of place and the genuine community affection for this site,” the jury noted. “The cultural and environmental meanings of the site have been enshrined within the design.”

Local architects Fisher Design + Architecture accepted the award, acknowledging the outstanding collaborative effort of Coffs Harbour Council with local architects, engineers, artists, construction teams, and the community, to revitalise the precinct integrating landscape, art and built form to create places for people to live and engage with each other.

The full citation from the jury reads:

“The Jetty4Shores revitalisation project effectively communicates the spirit of place and the genuine community affection for this site. The cultural and environmental meanings of the site have been enshrined within the design by thoughtful use of materials, careful siting of facilities and meaningful engagement with the public and various design professionals and artists. The location and design of community facilities within a lineal and dynamic landscape is challenging, but this project is well thought out and resolved. The choice of materials and design features respond to their environment and purpose, and further reveal their true colours at night under lights. The necessary upgrading of existing amenities, while often banal, is commendable, as is the integration of art, sculpture and landscape. The stage space has been well sited and its singular roof form representing the flight of the wedge tailed shearwater is a generous and joyful expression of place that serves its purpose as the premier gathering space within the site.”

The Jetty4Shores Stage by Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects, and engineered by local firm Omeara Wood and Associates, also earned a Commendation for outstanding design in the Small Projects category.

Coffs Harbour Deputy Mayor, Councillor Tegan Swan, said: “The Jetty4Shores project is an outstanding success and has been so well received by locals and visitors alike. It’s fantastic to see the project – and the work of a local firm, as well as council – receive such amazing recognition from a national peak body. Acknowledgment from such a prestigious organisation is a great achievement for all those involved in this major project. A massive congratulations to the team.”

The awards highlight the value of creating high-quality urban spaces and facilities for our regional communities.

“We are thrilled that the Jetty4Shores project has been recognised with these awards,” Christian Fisher said.

“It’s a tribute to all involved, and testament to the value of creative input- the designers, artists, the school students, and the Coffs Harbour City Council project team.”

NSW Chapter President, Andrew Nimmo, congratulated all of this year’s award winners and noted the important contribution the architectural profession as a whole was making to deliver more sustainable, cohesive communities.

“Architects apply design thinking to everything they do in order to do more with less and help clients realise opportunities that they did not know existed,” Mr Nimmo said. “This is just part of the value we describe when we speak of the design dividend, and each year we see the bar raised when it comes to the innovative design solutions and practices architects are implementing across regional NSW.”

Photos: ST Images- Jettys4Shores Revitalisation Project – Coffs Harbour Jetty, by Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects and Coffs Harbour City Council

fisherdesign-coffs-harbour

Fisher Design and Architecture accept 2018 AIA NSW Country Division Architecture Awards

The 2018 Country Division Architecture Awards were announced on Thursday 4 October in the Hunter Valley as part of the NSW Regional Conference, with fifteen projects recognised across twelve categories.

Fisher Design and Architecture had three entries in the awards this year – the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club Refurbishment, the Jetty4Shore Revitalisation Project, and the Jetty4Shores Stage.

The Urban Design Award was given to the Jetty4Shores Revitalisation Project by Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects and Coffs Harbour City Council.

The Jetty4Shores Stage by Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects, was awarded a commendation in the Small Project Architecture category.

Christian Fisher accepted the awards, acknowledging the outstanding collaborative effort of Coffs Harbour Council with the team of architects, engineers, artists, construction contractors, and the community, to revitalise the precinct integrating landscape, art and built form to create places for people to live and engage with each other.

NSW Chapter President, Andrew Nimmo, congratulated all of this year’s award winners and noted the important contribution the architectural profession as a whole was making to deliver more sustainable, cohesive communities.

‘Architects apply design thinking to everything they do in order to do more with less and help clients realise opportunities that they did not know existed,’ said Mr Nimmo. ‘This is just part of the value we describe when we speak of the design dividend, and each year we see the bar raised when it comes to the innovative design solutions and practices architects are implementing across regional NSW.’

Coffs Coast projects compete for architectural excellence awards

Australian Institute of Architects Media Release- 11 September 2018

A diverse mix of public projects on Coffs Coast that showcase outstanding architectural design practice are competing for honours in this year’s coveted Australian Institute of Architects’ NSW Country Division Awards, which celebrate the best in architecture from across country NSW.

‘This year’s entries in the NSW Country Awards, which have been running for more than half a century now, ranged from finely crafted small scale projects to large, complex commercial and public buildings,’ said Ashley Dunn, Jury Chair and co-director of Dunn & Hillam Architects.

Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club Refurbishment by Fisher Design and Architecture presented the opportunity to provide much needed revitalisation of the existing site and surf club building, and transform it to create a landmark beachside destination with an iconic public building which celebrates local history, and contributes to its users safety, health, happiness, and wellbeing. The design’s vision is to revitalise the existing Surf Life Saving Club with economy and creativity, establishing a community facility of outstanding design and visual amenity, with inspiring spaces inside and out that are engaging, and provide a positive beachside environment for current and future generations.

Jettys4Shore Revitalisation Project by Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects and Coffs Harbour City Council is the result of collaboration with local design professionals, artists and the community. A precinct rich in local history and highly valued by residents and tourists, the precinct has been revitalised through integrating landscape, art and built form to create places for people to live and engage with each other. The design features new picnic shelters, a Stage located around the Market Area reflecting the ‘flight of the Wedge-tailed shearwater’, and refurbishment of existing amenities. The new structures are designed with a robust palette of galvanized steel, brightly coloured soffits, and large sectioned timber screening with inscribed images of marine life.

Jetty4Shores Stage by Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects and Coffs Harbour City Council is a new public performance facility and key component of the Coffs Harbour Jetty4Shores Revitalisation Project. Providing a ‘special place’ for small events and concerts, the two stage structure is designed with flexibility to be dual sided and allow for a range of outdoor professional and community performances. Reflecting the ‘flight of the wedge-tailed shearwater’ the structure is dynamic in form yet built from a simple robust materials palette which responds to the coastal environment and the site’s history, and connects with neighbouring structures and shelters.

Integrating landscape, art and built form, the Stage is lined with timber panelling which provides a richness in texture and colour, and features an artwork by a local school.

C.A.L.M. by Dominic Finlay Jones Architects is an ‘Integrated Council/Arts Hub’ gathering together the gallery, museum and library under the same roof as Council itself in an ambitious civic development. An internal verandah, overlooking a light-filled double-height public atrium, is used to access these services, encouraging incidental exposure to the experiences each institution has to offer. More specialised, secure areas requiring stricter climate control are pushed deeper into the building, hidden behind high thermal mass walls of concrete and local rammed earth. The atrium’s timber canopy roof is the ‘power plant’ of the building, with a network of photovoltaic cells providing power and dappled light to the space below, reminiscent of the Coffs Creek Mangroves. While the building is designed to be an efficient and relatively low-cost structure, a higher concentration of the budget is attributed the gallery, singling it out as the icon of the project.

NSW Chapter President, Andrew Nimmo, said: ‘Across NSW our distinctive coastal and country landscapes provide challenges but also endless opportunities for truly inspiring architectural design. This year’s award entries demonstrate highly attentive responses to landscape as well as innovation and excellence in creative solutions achieved in many cases within constrained budgets.

‘The NSW Country Division Awards showcase architectural skill of the highest order, reminding us that design excellence is flourishing in rural and regional NSW, delivering built environments characterised by nuanced aesthetics and a commitment to sustainability.’

‘It was an honour to be invited to chair this jury and a clear reminder of the extraordinary talent in our profession right across the state,’ added Mr Dunn. ‘The Jury had a tough but enjoyable challenge deliberating over the many high calibre entries.’

These projects are among 28 competing in 12 award categories, including newly introduced categories for Interior Architecture, Urban Design and Educational Architecture. Winners of 11 categories will be decided by a panel of expert judges Alex Dalglish (Somewhere Landscape Architects), Peter Freeman (Peter Freeman Conservation Architects), Oliver Gee (G2 Architects) and Isabelle Toland (Aileen Sage Architects).

The final category is to be decided by members of the public who can show their support for a local, or favourite, project by voting in the People’s Choice Award before midday on Thursday 4 October.

The award winners will be announced at the awards presentation night to be held as part of the NSW Country Division’s Annual Conference on 4 October 2018.

Since its inception in 1960, the NSW Country Division has provided continuous representation and service to NSW regional architects of the Australian Institute of Architects outside the metropolitan areas of Sydney and Newcastle.

NSW Country Awards 2018

Bellingen Shire Courier Sun- September 18, 2018

A diverse mix of public projects on Coffs Coast that showcase outstanding architectural design practice are competing for honours in this year’s coveted Australian Institute of Architects’ NSW Country Division Awards.

“This year’s entries in the NSW Country Awards, which have been running for more than half a century now, range from finely crafted small scale projects to large, complex commercial and public buildings,” said Ashley Dunn, Jury Chair and co-director of Dunn & Hillam Architects.

Bellingen-based Fisher Design and Architecture have three entries in the awards this year – the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club Refurbishment, Jetty4Shore Revitalisation Project, and the Jetty4Shores Stage.

The proposed Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club Refurbishment by Fisher Design and Architecture provides much needed revitalisation of the existing surf club building, transforming a landmark beachside destination and an iconic public building.

The Jetty4Shore Revitalisation Project is the result of collaboration with local design professionals, artists and the community. A precinct rich in local history and highly valued by residents and tourists, the precinct has been revitalised through integrating landscape, art and built form to create places for people to live and engage with each other.

The Jetty4Shores Stage is a key part of the Coffs Harbour Jetty4Shores Revitalisation Project.  Reflecting the ‘flight of the wedge-tailed shearwater’ the structure is dynamic in form and responds to the coastal environment and the site’s history, and connects visually with neighbouring structures and shelters.

An environmentally sustainable design project in Bellingen by Tricia Helyar Architect is also competing in the Affordable Housing category.

Photos: ST Images- Jetty4Shores Stage and shelters by Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects.

2018 Australian Institute of Architects NSW Country Division Awards- Commendation for Small Project Architecture

Jetty4Shores Stage

Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects

The dynamic form of the Jetty4Shores Stage nests comfortably amongst the open plaza and market spaces of the Coffs Harbour Jetty4Shores Revitalisation Project. Modelled on the flight of the wedge tailed shearwater, the stage is a functional, collaborative and robust public celebration of place. Flexible and durable in form and detailing, the mainstage addresses the Jetty4Shores market area while a smaller stage addresses the rear open lawn area. ‘Ridges’, an art instillation depicting local mountain ranges, is inscribed upon the timber panelling that forms the backdrop to performers.

Jury Citation

2018 Australian Institute of Architetcs NSW Country Division Awards- Urban Design Award

Jetty4Shores Revitalisation Project

Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects and Coffs Harbour City Council

The Jetty4Shores revitalisation project effectively communicates the spirit of place and the genuine community affection for this site. The cultural and environmental meanings of the site have been enshrined within the design by thoughtful use of materials, careful siting of facilities and meaningful engagement with the public and various design professionals and artists. The location and design of community facilities within a lineal and dynamic landscape is challenging, but this project is well thought out and resolved. The choice of materials and design features respond to their environment and purpose, and further reveal their true colours at night under lights. The necessary upgrading of existing amenities, while often banal, is commendable, as is the integration of art, sculpture and landscape. The stage space has been well sited and its singular roof form representing the flight of the wedge tailed shearwater is a generous and joyful expression of place that serves its purpose as the premier gathering space within the site.

Jury Citation