Date:THURSDAY 25 OCTOBER 2007
A range of landmark public buildings in Queensland and Victoria - the new State Library of Queensland, the Gallery of Modern Art (Qld), Riparian Plaza, Eureka Tower and Southern Cross Station - designed to embrace and be embraced by the public and to reinvigorate the public realm have emerged as key winners in the 2007 Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) National Architecture Awards.
The RAIA awards are Australia’s most prestigious annual architecture prizes. They were presented to the nation’s most inspiring recent architectural projects, and the architects who created them, at a special ceremony tonight (Thursday 25 October) in Alice Springs. A total 27 awards and commendations across 11 categories were awarded to projects in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT, NSW, NT, the UK and China.
Presenting the awards and commenting on this year’s winners, RAIA Jury Chair Carey Lyon said: “The jury recognised a generational shift in the architecture profession and award entries, with the emergence of a new wave of architects primarily focused and concerned with how buildings (both public and private) best fit within our cities, and within the public realm, rather than as singular objects. The projects are marked by research and intelligence, and represent new building models.”
“In public architecture, award winners reflect a growing confidence in the role and value of architecture in the public realm, adding to the liveability of our cities and regions - even a modest sense of nation building. Across all categories, we have award winners who, each in their own exemplary way, are pushing at the boundary of what is important to the places in which we live, work and play. The jury was particularly struck by architects around the country increasingly undertaking design research, especially around the issues of urbanisation and its counter point of sustainability.”
Mr Lyon said the nation’s top award for public buildings, the prestigious RAIA Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture was awarded to the State Library of Queensland by Donovan Hill Peddle Thorp, with the jury describing it as a building which “well expresses its vast ambition to demand and excite public engagement”. “The seductive qualities of the building’s architecture and its invention of programmatic elements will draw a broader demographic to this public place. Part grand public library and part community hall (or many halls), the building evokes quite literal ‘knock about’ democratic principles”. It also received the RAIA Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture, with its interiors opening “like the chapters of a good book, which can be experienced in differing sequences depending on the journey taken”.
National RAIA Awards for Public Architecture were also presented to two projects that, like the library, might traditionally have been designed as contained “black boxes” , but which demonstrated new levels of “openness”, “engagement” and “connection” to their surrounding environments. They are the Gallery of Modern Art (Qld) in Brisbane by Architectus and the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra by Lyons.
Queensland projects, including the library, dominated this year’s awards, due largely to the outstanding success of Brisbane-based practice Donovan Hill, which secured six awards alone for three separate public and private projects (see attached list for full details). A further four awards were presented to other outstanding projects from across the State.
The RAIA Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture - Houses, the nation’s top residential architecture award, was presented to Paul Morgan Architects for the Cape Schanck House on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsular. The jury said it was “an exemplary empathetic development of a pristine coastal site”. The house’s “most defining feature” was a vertical steel bulb running from ceiling to floor in the centre of the lounge room - acting as a repository for rainwater and providing ambient cooling during summer months. “This splendidly eccentric element provides comfort, character, and good company, while defining the radial point of this articulate and inventive small house”.
A new category for multiple housing was introduced for the first time this year, recognising the importance of this area of work for architects attempting to create a smaller more sustainable footprint for swelling Australian cities, and new models for housing affordability.
“The clear challenge for architects and the development community (particularly in an era where direct government investment in housing models is extraordinarily low), is to create new models to which consumers can subscribe, but which are also of sufficient quality to create a lasting change to the way our society views these models - not as a poor substitute to the traditional suburban dwelling, but a viable alternative,” Mr Lyon said.
The inaugural Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing was awarded to Cornwall Apartments in Brisbane by Donovan Hill. The jury said: “This project addresses the issue of how the residential population of typical suburban streets may be significantly increased through the addition of distinguished, contemporary architecture, while maintaining the informal scale and character of the street - the reasons why people have chosen to live there - without detriment to neighbours by shadowing or overlooking.”
Australia’s top award for international architecture, the RAIA Jorn Utzon Award for International Architecture, was awarded to Melbourne-based architects Denton Corker Marshall (DCM) for the largest law court complex to be built in the United Kingdom in 115 years - the dynamic Manchester Civil Justice Centre in north-west England. The 15-storey complex houses 47 courtrooms and 75 consultation rooms, as well as office and support space, and acts as the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice in the north-west of England. The jury said: “The bold design replaces the traditional solid courthouse structure, which contains and encloses justice, with an idea about transparency and connection.”
One of Melbourne’s new iconic buildings, Eureka Tower, by Fender Katsalidis (Aust) Pty Ltd was awarded the inaugural RAIA Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture. The jury said Eureka Tower “clearly demonstrates that commercial architecture can be about more than the ‘bottom line’ - it can contribute a broader value to the life and character of the city”. They said it “proposes a valid model for the tall tower within the contemporary city”, acts “as a sort of navigation beacon to our car culture”, and “has already embedded itself into the mental map of the city of Melbourne”. …/MORE
In a rare twist, a National RAIA Award for Commercial Architecture was also awarded to the signature Riparian Plaza development in Brisbane by Harry Seidler & Associates, being one of the last projects designed by the late Harry Seidler. The commercial award was named after the legendary architect in memory of his significant contribution to architecture across the world following his death early last year.
Melbourne took out the top urban design award - with Southern Cross Station by Grimshaw Jackson JV receiving the RAIA Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design. The jury said: “The new Southern Cross Station in central Melbourne shows how successful urban design can contribute significantly to the public and civic realm of a city. The project had to respond to the functional, operational and logistic needs of the station, but it was also critical to linking Melbourne’s central city grid with the rapidly expanding Docklands precinct.”
SBE & Six Degrees Pty Ltd Architects were awarded the RAIA Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage for their relocation of the UTAS School of Architecture to an ‘industrial shed’, a 1950s former diesel workshop. The jury said the success of the design “lies in the way it maintains and emphasises the scale and ruggedness of the original hall”.
An iconic address in Australian architectural history, and one of the nation’s ‘most outstanding examples of modern architecture’, the High Court of Australia by Edwards Madigan Torzillo Briggs in Canberra received the RAIA National 25 Year Award for Enduring Architecture. The building has “extraordinary symbolic and ceremonial power and is remarkable in its evocation of democracy”.
The inaugural National RAIA Award for Small Project Architecture was jointly awarded to Park Street House in Melbourne by Robert Simeoni Pty Ltd and the QUT Human Movement Pavilion in Brisbane by m3architecture. The first is a “tiny 80 square metre residential project” marked by its “depth of invention and the layering of detail throughout”, with the latter exemplifying “the potential of simple, prosaic problems to yield exceptional architecture”.
Four projects were awarded a National RAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture - South Queensland Institute of Technology - Block B by Project Services (Qld Govt); the UTAS School of Architecture by SBE & Six Degrees Pty Ltd Architects - Architects in Association; Stage One ACE, Kangan Batman TAFE by Lyons; and Council House 2 (CH2) by the City of Melbourne + DesignInc Melbourne.
The Colorbond® Award for Steel Architecture was presented to Build Up Design for the Mamaruni School, servicing the indigenous community on remote Croker Island, 250 kms from Darwin, a school devastated by Cyclone Ingrid several years ago.
The National Architecture Awards are proudly sponsored by the RAIA’s Principal Corporate Partner BlueScope Steel; Major Corporate Partner Fielders; Supporting Corporate Partner Dulux; and Event Sponsor Form & Function.
For embargoed media kits, full list of winners, high resolution online images and interviews, contact:
Trish Croaker on 0408 756 163 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirsten Trengove on 0439 555 427 or email@example.com
To discover more about the RAIA, log on to www.architecture.com.au
The Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) is the peak body for the architectural profession, representing more than 9000 members across Australia and overseas. The RAIA actively works to improve the quality of our built environment by promoting quality, responsible and sustainable design.