“Australia is in the depths of a once-in-a-generation housing crisis and a climate crisis. We are in dire need of new approaches to our built environment, and this year, the jury was united in our desire to seek out and draw attention to the best examples of design innovation in the country,” said Shannon Battisson in announcing the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards.
This was not a year for starchitects as regional sustainable buildings and retrofits dominated the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards.
There was a notable absence of big glossy projects from big glossy developers. Instead, urban renewal projects, public spaces and First Nations-led or inclusive teams dominated the competition.
Amongst the tough competition there 47 projects were selected as the most sustainable, inspirational and best retrofits or highly commended from 178 applicants.
The AIA stated that this year’s most exemplary work had been in regional areas, where developers are ushering in a new generation of the built environment by retrofitting existing homes and public buildings with respectful and sustainable alterations.
Most winning projects shared a theme of world-class designs incorporating sustainability, adaptive reuse, dynamic collaboration between designers, connection to Country, thoughtful higher-density living and resource-sharing with the broader community, the institute said.
This year, a panel of five juries travelled across the nation, visiting over two weeks more than 70 sites on the shortlist.
The jury consisted of: chair Shannon Battisson, director of architecture at The Mill: Architecture + Design; Shaneen Fantin, director of People Oriented Design; William Smart, creative director and owner of Smart Design Studio; Stephanie Kitingan, architect and director of Placement Studio; and Scott Burchell, director of Comb Construction.
Battisson said the projects were a beacon of light in a time of environmental and economic crisis.
“Australia is in the depths of a once-in-a-generation housing crisis and a climate crisis. We are in dire need of new approaches to our built environment, and this year, the jury was united in our desire to seek out and draw attention to the best examples of design innovation in the country.
“There was a shared respect for what we wanted the awards to say about the broader climate, sustainability, and culture. We hoped to send a message to all Australians about where our industry should be going regarding sustainability, learning, and listening to the country.
“The jury felt the importance of celebrating good architecture across Australia. Building in the regions has different complexities to building in metropolitan areas – the constraints and opportunities are different.
According to Battisson, the visits helped the jury bust some myths regarding common assumptions that regional projects are easier to design and execute as the stories from architects and clients emerged.
“Stories of architects and their clients creating amazing projects against the odds of distance, tight budgets, the COVID pandemic with material and labour shortages, and political uncertainty contain their own unique set of intricacies.”
Battisson also noted that more architects collaborated on projects, leading to richer outcomes for communal buildings and spaces.
“Collaboration between architects brings in a diversity of skills and expertise and leads to better outcomes. This year’s jury has a keen interest in sustainability, designing with Country, collaborative working, and projects with a generosity to community, and design innovation.
“We saw innovation in many facets: through precision and care in use of materials and construction methods; respect and care in making alterations; projects that were genuine in their desires for environmental and social sustainability outcomes; projects that championed inclusion and collaboration with community, and diverse design teams; and encouragingly, a deep respect for Country in the design process and architectural outcomes.
“Making good architecture is not easy and often takes a dedicated and passionate team made up of many people. The awarded projects are layered with generosity to their communities, the planet, and the profession.”
Notable winners include
Nightingale Village: a precinct of 203 homes across six buildings with zero gas connection. This village won awards in the “residential – multiple housing” category and “sustainable building category” and was highly commended in the “urban design” category. The jury noted that each building was designed with ESG outcomes, financial and sustainability principles in mind, and homes sold at cost to owner-occupiers, not investors. Of the available houses, 27 are also allocated to long-term community housing providers.
Boola Katitjin: an inspirational and sustainable new teaching and learning building for Murdoch University, creating a new campus centre with 180-metre low-rise mass timber and spaces connected to native bush landscapes. The new campus was named the winner of awards in the “education” and “sustainable buildings” category.
JBC Studio: an adaptive reuse project that aimed to improve outcomes from the previous JBC studio to encourage flexible work culture, new technology and increased sustainability commitments. The studio is retrofitted with a cost-effective addition that complements the existing mid-century industrial architecture with designs committed to reuse and salvage as much as possible – understand that the building will likely be demolished and redeveloped.
National Emerging Architect: Ben Peake from Carter Williamson Architects, who had steered many award-winning projects and advocated for gender and diversity equity in the profession. He also leads the Architects Champions of Change initiative.
All building winners:
Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture
- AB House by Office MI–JI (winner)
- Ceilio Springs by Western Architecture Studio (national commendation)
- Delatite Cellar Door by Lucy Clemenger Architects (The Harry Seidler Award)
- JBC Studio by JBC (winner)
- Poly Centre 210 George Street Grimshaw (national commendation)
- Yirranma Place by SJB (national commendation)
- Boola Katitjin by Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, The Fulcrum Agency and Officer Woods Architects (The Daryl Jackson Award)
- Cranbrook School – Hordern Oval Precinct Redevelopment by Architectus (winner)
- Inveresk Library, University of Tasmania by Wardle (winner)
- Research School of Physics Stage 1 Building at Australian National University by Hassell (national commendation)
- Cannon Hill Anglican College D-Block by Red Dog Architects with Blueline Architecture (national commendation)
- Brambuk: The National Park and Culture Centre by Gregory Burgess Architects (winner)
- Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal by Arm Architects (Lachlan Macquarie Award)
- University Of Melbourne Student Precinct by Lyons with Koning Eizenberg Architecture, NMBW Architecture Studio, Greenaway Architects, Architects Eat, Aspect Studios And Glas Urban (winner)
- Thomas Dixon Centre by Conrad Gargett (national commendation)
- Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal by Arm Architecture (Emil Sodersten Award)
- Bass Coast Farmhouse by Wardle (winner)
- Modern Building, Gallery Shop by Akin Atelier (national commendation)
- Paris Apartment by Wood Marsh Architecture (Jørn Utzon Award)
- Rockhampton Museum of Art by Conrad Gargett, Clare Design and Brian Hooper Architect (Sir Zelman Cowen Award)
- Art Gallery Of NSW, Sydney Modern Building by Sanaa And Architectus (winner)
- Melbourne Holocaust Museum by Kerstin Thompson Architects (winner)
- Dove Lake Viewing Shelter by Cumulus Studio (national commendation)
- Bendigo Law Courts by Wardle (national commendation)
Residential – Houses (alterations and additions)
- Sunday by Architecture Architecture (The Eleanor Cullis-Hill Award)
- Balmain House by Saha (winner)
- Harriet’s House by So: Architecture (national commendation)
- North Perth House by Simon Pendal Architect (national commendation)
Residential – Houses (new)
- 19 Waterloo Street by SJB (THE ROBIN BOYD AWARD)
- Spring Creek Road Farm House by Architect Brew Koch (winner)
- Merricks Farmhouse by Michael Lumby with Nielsen Jenkins (winner)
- Mossy Point House by Edition Office (national commendation)
Residential – Multiple Housing
- Nightingale Village – Architecture Architecture, Austin Maynard Architects, Breathe, Clare Cousins Architects, Hayball and Kennedy Nolan (Frederick Romberg Award)
- Turner Avenue Homes by Push and David Pennisi (national commendation)
- Forrest Hall by Kerry Hill Architects (national commendation)
- Habitat on Juers by Refresh* Studio for Architecture (national commendation)
Small Project Architecture
- Victorian Family Violence Memorial by Muir+Openwork (Nicholas Murcutt Award)
- University Of Queensland Cricket Club Maintenance Shed by Lineburg Wang with Steve Hunt Architect (winner)
- Postal Hall by Trower Falvo Architects (national commendation)
- Dimensions X / Farm Stay by Peter Stutchbury Architecture (national commendation)
- Nightingale Village – Architecture, Austin Maynard Architects, Breathe, Clare Cousins Architects, Hayball and Kennedy Nolan (David Oppenheim Award)
- Boola Katitjin By Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, The Fulcrum Agency and Officer Woods Architects (winner)
- Lane Cove House by Saha (national commendation)
- University Of Melbourne Student Precinct by Lyons with Koning Eizenberg Architecture, NMBW Architecture Studio, Greenaway Architects, Architects Eat, Aspect Studios And Glas Urban (Walter Burley Griffin Award)
- Herston Quarter Redevelopment Stage 1 And 2 by Hassell (winner)
- Nightingale Village – Architecture Architecture, Austin Maynard Architects, Breathe, Clare Cousins Architects, Hayball and Kennedy Nolan (national commendation)
- Dairy Road by Craig Tan Architects (national commendation)