Community-oriented projects dominated the Australian Institute of Architects’ national awards announced last night at the Darwin Convention Centre.
Honours went to a housing project with an emphasis on communal spaces, a mental health facility with a welcoming domestic feel, a primary school which provides a sanctuary for the culturally diverse local population and a pro bono surf club which celebrates the coastal features and protects an adjacent fairy penguin habitat.
A total of 43 awards and commendations were given to 36 projects across the 12 national categories.
Jury chair Paul Berkemeier was impressed with the volume and calibre of public buildings this year.
“It is encouraging that so many projects embodied best practice with informed clients, effective procurement methods, appropriate funding models and intelligent architecture,” he says.
“This provides us with great optimism for the future of our public spaces – an area that has so often delivered dispiriting outcomes.”
UQ Advanced Engineering Building by Richard Kirk Architect HASSELL Joint Venture, took out the Public Architecture category winning the Sir Zelman Cowen Award in addition to the Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture and an Award for Sustainable Architecture – making it the most awarded project of the night.
House at Hanging Rock by Kerstin Thompson, “a house nestled into a steep slope and seamlessly integrating stringent bushfire requirements”, secured the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New).
The inaugural Australian Institute of Architects Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions) was presented to WA practice Philip Stejskal Architecture for Bellevue Terrace Alterations + Additions.
Breathe Architecture received two Named Awards for its Melbourne project The Commons: the Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing and the David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture.
Another big winner on the night was the Prince Alfred Park + Pool Upgrade by Neeson Murcutt Architects in association with City of Sydney, which was presented with the Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design and an Award for Public Architecture.
A beautifully designed boatshed and surf lifesaving club for the local community of Bicheno on the east coast of Tasmania by Birrelli art + design + architecture emerged as the clear winner of the Nicholas Murcutt Award for Small Project Architecture.