The Wayside Chapel by Environa Studio. Image: Owen Zhu

30 June 2014 — The Wayside Chapel has taken out the top sustainability award at the NSW Architecture Awards held last Thursday, while the Prince Alfred Park + Pool Upgrade took out the major award. In the Northern Territory, Troppo Architects took out top honours, while Dunn & Hillam Architects took out the sustainability award for the residential Desert House.

The Wayside Chapel project by Environa Studio, Tone Wheeler and Jan O’Connor’s architecture firm, won the Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture for “encompassing the true nature of sustainability”, and demonstrating the concept of doing more with less. It also was joint winner of the Lord Mayor’s Prize.

“Not only does the facility address the social needs of the disadvantaged; the design team has also approached sustainability from a concept of minimalism and simplicity,” the jury citation stated.

“Passive environmental design through the use of natural ventilation, thermal mass, night flushing, and simple ceiling fans has minimised the requirement for airconditioning and other complex building services.

“The design team has focused on developing a building that is designed to last for over 100 years, and to facilitate future churn by providing a loose-fit, low impact fitout.

“Solar hot water collectors for domestic hot water and space heating provide an effective and uncomplicated approach to maintaining thermal comfort for occupants for most of the year. Onsite generation of electricity through PV demonstrates an effective method to further reduce carbon emissions.”

The Wayside Chapel by Environa Studio. Image: Owen Zhu

The jury said that what really made Wayside Chapel stand out from the competition, however, was an emphasis on the “less mainstream” elements of sustainability.

“These include providing a green roof to grow fruit and vegetable crops for the onsite café and the use of colours and materials to influence occupant mood and wellbeing – all based on solid research.

“The jury was impressed by the holistic approach of the designers who have delivered a simple and effective low energy, passive building design with longevity while also recognising the varied needs of its occupants.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore commended Environa Studio for the win.

“I’m pleased to see our own local architects being chosen for this prestigious honour,” Ms Moore said.

“This speaks volumes about the level of creativity and design excellence that can be found in Sydney. These awards showcase Sydney’s talent for innovation nationally and internationally.”

Other sustainability award winners were Alexandria Courtyard House by Matthew Pullinger Architect; Australian Plantbank by BVN Donovan Hill; Outpost 742713 9 by Drew Heath Architects; and White Bay Cruise Terminal by JPW.

Commendations included 8 Chifley Square by Lippmann Partnership/Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners; and Yatte Yattah House by Tzannes Associates.

The jury for the Sustainable Architecture awards comprised Tony Caro, Tony Caro Architecture (chair); Virginia Kerridge, Virginia Kerridge Architect; Catherine Lassen, University of New South Wales; Peter McGregor, McGregor Westlake Architecture; Lester Partridge, AECOM; and Steve Pearse, DWP|SUTERS.

Prince Alfred Pool cleans up

The top prize of the night, the Sulman Medal, went to the Prince Alfred Park + Pool Upgrade, done by Neeson Murcutt Architects in association with the City of Sydney. It also took out the Lloyd Rees Award for urban architecture and was joint winner of the Lord Mayor’s prize along with sustainability top dog Wayside Chapel.

Neeson Murcutt Architects’ Prince Alfred Park Pool Upgrade. Image: Brett Boardman

“The Prince Alfred Park Pool upgrade is an intelligent and carefully considered regeneration of a worn and neglected site at the edge of the city,” the jury citation stated. “It is a testament to a robust and respectful collaboration between the architects, the City of Sydney, and the many sub-consultants involved in the project.”

NT goes Troppo again

In the Northern Territory, Troppo Architects took out the major gong, the Tracy Memorial Award, for Strohmayr House at the state architecture awards held on Friday, continuing its success after taking out the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal earlier this year.

Troppo Architects’ Strohmayr House. Image: Fiona Morris

Strohmayr House also took out the Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions) award, while another project, Troppoville, took out the award for Enduring Architecture and the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture.

On Strohmayr House’s Tracy Memorial Award win, the jury pointed to the building’s “clever management of new and old” and use of recycled timber.

Troppoville was commended for its “early examples of innovative and recycled steel use”.

Troppo Architects’ Troppoville

“Many of these initial concepts have remained with their architecture and, more importantly, have greatly influenced a following in lightweight tropical architecture across the top of Australia,” the jury citation stated.

Speaking on the Enduring Architecture win, the jury said that the award “is not for a single piece of mastery – it is for the bravery, talent and exploration that began a trend in our architectural history”.

Desert House wins for sustainability

A residential dwelling by Dunn & Hillam Architects, Desert House, which looks out at the McDonnell ranges, took out the sustainability gong at the NT awards.

Dunn & Hillam Architects’ Desert House. Image: Kilian O’Sullivan

“Sitting the lower entry level into the site provided the cumulative effect of significant thermal mass that was used to temper the air as it was drawn via the stairwell into the upper spaces, the jury citation stated. “Similarly, the recessed central courtyard with rock and moisture infill provides additional cool air drawn by convection through hopper windows at floor level to upper level cross vents.

“A fly roof amplifies the sensibility of this project – parasol rooves make sense in a climate consistently loaded by sun. Independent wall insulated wall and ceiling panels (R6.3) assist purposefully in both the retention of heat (for purging) and the ability to keep heat from egressing the building.

“Roof orientation is well considered and the ability to hold air captive in the ceiling void to be used to reduce internal demand volumes or assist in the convection purge of the space is good practice.

“There is a sensible use of low embodied energy materials although this is found to be contradicted in a few areas such as roof frame, doorframes and A/C ductwork. Floor heating is reticulated around an 18°C temperature, which can be easily raised with instantaneous gas as required in cooler months – the majority of hot water is generated by solar catchment.

“With a knowledge of the systems and operations that manage this project it is reasonable to expect a reduction of energy requirements by up to 35 per cent depending upon the willingness of clients to accept managed but not controlled environments.

“Desert House offers a genuine sensibility to environmental management in this specific climate. Traditional techniques have been assimilated into a contemporary response with a reduction in regional expression.”