The UQ Advanced Engineering Building. Image: Peter Bennetts.

Game-changing sustainable projects dominated this year’s Australian Institute of Architects 2014 National Architecture Awards held in Darwin on 6 November, with The Commons by Breathe Architecture and the University of Queensland’s Advanced Engineering Building receiving stellar recognition with multiple awards.

A joint venture design by Richard Kirk Architect and HASSEL, the UQ AEB was the most awarded project of the night, taking out the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture, the Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture and one of the awards for Sustainable Architecture.

The other National Sustainable Architecture Awards both went to New South Wales entries, BVN Donovan Hill’s Australian Plantbank in the ACT and Environa Studio’s The Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross.

Australian Plantbank. Image: John Gollings

The 5 Star Green Star UQ AEB comprises teaching spaces, a 500-seat auditorium, laboratories, research facilities and office spaces, and was literally designed to be a “living laboratory” showcasing sustainable engineering and advanced engineering technologies and processes.

Energy efficiency was a key consideration for every aspect of the design, including materials, building fabric, lighting, electrical systems, hydraulics, transport, operations and waste, including carbon emissions.

Real-time continuous monitoring has been installed for energy and water consumption, waste and indoor environmental quality, with interactive display screens on each level so staff, students and visitors can observe the data.

A thermal labyrinth has been constructed that stores cool air overnight, reducing the loads on the air-conditioning system, which has a mixed-mode operation system so it is only operating in extreme conditions, high efficiency water-cooled chillers, a phase-change material to provide tempered air for the system, and variable speed drive fans and pumps.

Natural ventilation throughout the building is extensive from operable louvres and windows, with an atrium facilitating cross-flow. Solar shading incorporated into the facade and high performance double glazing also work to reduce the building’s thermal loads while allowing for a high level of natural light into all spaces.

The Commons. Image: Urban Angles

The Commons continues its winning streak

The Commons by Breathe Architecture received two named awards: the Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing and the David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture.

So does the Prince Alfred Park and Pool

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 a National Award for Public Architecture.

The Prince Alfred Park + Pool Upgrade. Image: Brett Boardman

The other winners of National Public Architecture Awards were:

  • Australian PlantBank – BVN Donovan Hill (NSW)
  • Dallas Brooks Community Primary School – McBride Charles Ryan (Vic)
  • Dandenong Mental Health Facility – Bates Smart Whitefield McQueen Irwin Alsop Joint Venture (Vic)
  • UTAS Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies – John Wardle Architects + Terroir, in Association (Tas)

The Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture went to White Bay Cruise Terminal – Johnson Pilton Walker (NSW), and the National Awards for Commercial Architecture went to 8 Chifley Square – Lippmann Partnership/Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners (NSW); and Bread in Common – spaceagency (WA).

Bread in Common also won a National Award for Interior Architecture, the three other winners in this category were Garangula Gallery – Fender Katsalidis Mirams Architects (NSW); Hotel Hotel – March Studio (ACT); and the Sustainable Industries Education Centre – MPH Architects + Architectus in association (SA).

The National Enduring Architecture Award was given to CB Alexander College, Tocal – Ian McKay and Philip Cox, Architects in Association (NSW).

UNSW Kensington Colleges by Bates Smart won the National Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing.

The National Award for Urban Design went to GASP! Stage 02– by Room 11 (Tas).

The National COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture was awarded to White Bay Cruise Terminal – Johnson Pilton Walker (NSW).