Major public infrastructure and cultural projects dominated this year's National Architecture Awards, announced in a ceremony at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart on November 3.
National President of the Institute, Brian Zulaikha, said the awards recognise the vital role that architects play in shaping cities and the way people live today - both publicly and privately.
'This year's winning projects clearly demonstrate the diversity, quality and imagination that is inherent in Australian architecture, from large-scale public buildings through to the most intimate domestic spaces. The diversity of thinking they reveal was unimaginable a decade ago,' he said.
A total of 34 awards and commendations, selected from a total of 160 finalists, were awarded across 12 categories to projects in Victoria (8 awards and commendations), NSW (8), Queensland (5), Tasmania (3), ACT (1), Western Australia (2), Northern Territory (1) and South Australia (2).
This year's Jury Chair, Mr Karl Fender, said 'The jury was very impressed with the high standard of design of public spaces, particularly the Australian War Memorial, Cairns Cruise Terminal, the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia and AAMI Park in Melbourne.
'A highlight of the awards was the extent to which the most pragmatic requirements of extremely functional briefs were so consistently translated into the highest levels of design excellence and sustainable outcomes,' he added.
Topping the list of winners is the recipient of Australia's most prestigious national architecture award - The Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture - awarded this year to the Australian War Memorial Eastern Precinct in the ACT by Sydney-based practice Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW).
JPW received the same award for its design of the National Portrait Gallery also in the ACT, in 2009.
Mr Fender said 'The Eastern Precinct is the final phase of the development of the Australia War Memorial, with the parking area moved underground and the area opened up for its original intent - reflection and celebration'.
'Rarely does a brief combine such prosaic outcomes with the emotional responsibility of creating a site of reflection.'
A National Award for Public Architecture was presented to AAMI Park in Melbourne (Cox Architecture); with Commendations to the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) - Youth Mental Health Building in Sydney (BVN Architecture); Victoria University Learning Commons and Exercise Sports Science Project (John Wardle Architects) and St Mary's Catholic Primary School New Hall and Library, Reggio Emelia Early Learning Centre and Courtyard (Troppo Architects NT).
The Cairns Cruise Terminal (Arkhefield and Total Project Group Architects, architects in association) won The Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage, with a project the jury said had 'breathed life into a largely forgotten part of the Cairns waterfront.'
The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia (Kerry Hill Architects) won The Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture, with the jury saying 'at night the buzz of human activity in rehearsal spaces and golden foyers transforms the centre's character to one of joyful exuberance'.
A National Award for Interior Architecture was awarded to Nudgee College Tierney Auditorium.The jury said 'The theatrical sensibility moves from the external entry spaces and foyer to find its apotheosis in a rich and mysterious interior auditorium. Walls are covered in a shallow wall tectonic of mirror, colour and fibre optics to create a lush and dark space.'
Australia's top award for international architecture, The Jorn Utzon Award for International Architecture, was awarded to School of the Arts, Singapore (WOHA), located at the gateway to the city's arts and entertainment district.The jury said, 'WOHA has adeptly filled a complex brief, initiated green measures, brought light into a deep plan and created natural territories in which to demystify the arts'.
An Award for International Architecture was won by Amankora in Bhutan (Kerry Hill Architects), with a commendation to Johnson Pilton Walker for the Suzhou Industrial Park Logistics Centre in China.
The jury noted the particular strength of this year's Commercial Architecture, with The Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture presented to Ecosciences Precinct (HASSELL) in Brisbane. The jury said 'the building purposefully unites the complex, high performance requirements of laboratory space with social, people orientated environments filtered by a light garden ambience.'
A National Award for Commercial Architecture was presented to the Myer Bourke Street Redevelopment in Melbourne (NH Architecture), with a commendation going to the AM60 commercial tower (Donovan Hill) in Brisbane.
Australia's most prestigious residential award - The Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture - Houses was awarded to Castlecrag House (Neeson Murcutt Architects), described by the jury as making 'an effortless and timeless contribution to architectural speculations on domesticity.'
National Awards for Residential Architecture - Houses went to Solis in Queensland (Renato D'Ettorre Architects) and Zinc House in Victoria (Denton Corker Marshall). With commendations to Garden House in NSW (Durbach Block Jaggers Architects) and Marion Bay House in Tasmania (1+2 Architecture).
The Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing was presented to Candalepas Associates for its Waterloo Street project in Surry Hills in Sydney. The jury said 'While the palette to the project is deliberately limited and disciplined, a rich spatial and architectural experience has been created.'
A National Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing went to John Street, Box Hill (Hayball) and a commendation to A'Beckett Tower (Elenberg Fraser), both from Victoria.
A National Award for Small Project Architecture was presented to Domenic Alvaro for Small House in NSW; with two commendations going to Little Big House, Tasmania (Room11); and Law Street House, Victoria (Muir Mendes).
The Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design was won by one40william in Perth (HASSELL), a project described by the jury as one which 'essentially transformed this city block into a city fabric.'
A National Award for Urban Design was presented to Johnson Pilton Walker for the Australian War Memorial Eastern Precinct in the ACT, while Tonkin Zulaikha Greer was commended for its work on the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in NSW.
The COLORBOND Award for Steel Architecture was presented to the hangar in NSW (Peter Stutchbury Architecture), with a commendation to Tridente Architects for its design of the Caritas College Junior School External Covered Area in South Australia.
The National Enduring Architecture Award was awarded to the Magney House, Bingie Bingie in NSW, by Glenn Murcutt. The jury said 'Things that endure provide a connection over time and yet have a timeless essence. The Magney House is one of those places.'
The National Award for Sustainable Architecture was presented to DesignInc for its work on The University of Adelaide Innova21, with commendations going to Wolveridge Architects for Hill Plains House in Victoria, as well as Morrison & Breytenbach Architects for Tarremah Hall in Tasmania.
The awards coincide with the release of the second in a ten part series of books, called INSPIRE, showcasing the 2011 Australian Institute of Architects' State, Territory and National Architecture Awards winners. INSPIRE will be available at Architext bookstores, onlineat www.architext.com.au and can be orderedby emailing email@example.com.