Sanwell Office Building, WA. Image: Rob Frith

Green Star-rated commercial property, adaptive reuse projects, more sustainable approaches to medical facilities and public space projects were the big winners across last week’s Australian Institute of Architects awards for NSW, Western Australia and South Australia.


In NSW, Macquarie Bank’s 6 Star Green Star global headquarters at 50 Martin Place won the project architect Johnson Pilton Walker the Sir Arthur G Stephenson Award for Commercial Architecture along with a commendation for Sustainable Architecture and the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture.

The adaptive reuse of the heritage building created 11 floors of commercial office space, and retained and refurbished the heritage banking chamber on the building’s ground floor.

50 Martin Place. Image: Peter Bennetts

“The new works touch lightly on the most important heritage areas of the building [while] more dramatic interventions have brought the building up to Macquarie’s demanding workplace standards,” the jury said.

When the building’s Green Star rating was announced last year, Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Romilly Madew cited it as proof refurbishment and reuse of existing buildings could lead to major sustainability gains.

“50 Martin Place is a shining example of why heritage buildings can be our most sustainable buildings – as the greenest architecture is created from that which is already there,” Ms Madew said.

The NSW Government Architect’s Office also won multiple awards in the educational, heritage and sustainable design categories for greening an existing building with Cameraygal, formerly the Dunbar Building, and originally designed by the state Architect’s Office in 1967. Previously a Brutalist-style science laboratory, it has been adaptively transformed into a TAFE centre for learning and innovation.

The jury commented that the number of adaptive reuse projects recognised on the night demonstrated “the value and opportunities of giving existing buildings new life”.

The Westmead Millennium Institute. Image: John Gollings

The highest accolade, the Sulman Medal for Public Architecture, went to Westmead Millenium Institute by BVN. The institute brings together staff from six sites into one location.

“This is a project where every aspect has been considered. The sensitivity and deftness of this consideration has transformed the building’s logic into an uplifting and inspiring environment for collaboration and research,” the jury said.

The Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture went to the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre by COX Richardson. The building has been registered for the Living Building Challenge, and has been designed to achieve net zero for energy use, water and waste.

The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre. Image: John Gollings

The Aron Bolot Award for Residential Multiple Housing went to Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects for Studios 54 in Surry Hills.

The jury said, “This project makes a clear statement about urban living and neighbourliness beyond code compliance. It is exemplary in demonstrating the relevance of remnant sites within an urban context.”

Western Australia

The Fiona Stanley Hospital. Image: Peter Bennetts

The WA awards saw the Fiona Stanley Hospital the major winner for the team of HASSELL, Hames Sharley and Silver Thomas Hanley. The project was given the state’s highest honour, the George Temple Poole Award, as well as the Jeffrey Howlett Award for Public Architecture, the Wallace Greenham Award for Sustainable Architecture and a commendation in the Urban Design category.

“It is a landmark project in all senses and achieves a high standard of design, integrating architecture and landscape architecture. The Fiona Stanley Hospital was an ambitious State project and has demonstrated a high level of achievement and will continue to do so into the future as the site is further developed to its envisaged full potential,” the jury said.

The Ross Chisholm and Gil Nicol Award for Commercial Architecture went to Braham Architects for the Sanwell Office Building in the inner-eastern Perth suburb of Welshpool. The project also scored the practice an award in the Sustainable Architecture category.

The architects said the project sought to explore how a commercial office building can “sit harmoniously within a staunchly industrial context, while still providing visual connectivity to the surrounds and amenity to natural light”.

The split level cantilevered building features perforated aluminium facade elements, strategic sunshading blades and extensive glazing that allow for daylight penetration to all office areas while reducing thermal impacts. It also has a large roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system.

Australian Institute of Architects WA president Philip Griffiths said that the 2015 WA Architecture Awards reaffirmed the high quality of work produced by architects in the state.

“This year’s winners represent the best of the best, having been selected from over 120 very fine entries. It is indeed a rich showcase and it is very pleasing to see that all Named and Architecture Awards were for Western Australian practitioners,” Mr Griffiths said.

South Australia

The redevelopment of Adelaide Oval by Cox Architecture, Walter Brooke and Hames Sharley was one of the major winners at the South Australian awards, winning the Jack McConnell Award for Public Architecture, and as joint recipient of the City of Adelaide Prize, along with the adjacent Riverbank Bridge by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, Taylor Cullity Lethlean and Aurecon. The bridge also picked up a commendation for urban design.

The Adelaide Oval Redevelopment. Image: John Gollings

The oval project was lauded by the judges for its “transformation from a picturesque sporting venue into a civic building, able to accommodate multiple international sports and events”.

Stage One of the Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga Urban Regeneration Project by the Adelaide City Council and Taylor Cullity Lethlean won the top urban design accolade, the Gavin Walkley Award, with the jury commenting it was an “attractive place for people and an outstanding urban design project”.

The Jeffrey Smart Building. Image: Sam Nonan

The Derrick Kendrick Award for Sustainable Architecture went to the Jeffrey Smart Building at the University of South Australia by John Wardle Architects in association with Phillips/Pilkington Architects. The 5 Star Green Star eight-storey building wraps around a central courtyard “green common” featuring an open air cinema screen, green public area and established tree. It also took out the SA Chapter Award in the educational category.

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