1. Public Architecture
Named Award: Sulman Award
Brain and Mind Research Institute - Youth Mental Health Buildingby BVN Architecture
The Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) is the standout project in the Public Architecture category for 2011, uniting patients, carers, clinicians and scientists working in the fields of neuroscience and mental health, in a refreshingly engaging off-campus facility.
The project's taut form slots skilfully into a fine urban grain, and a carefully worked elevation articulates the Institute's component parts so that they are legible from the public realm. Vertical glazing channels with shifting translucency define research laboratories that are suspended above a retained heritage facade. Below, large-scale steel box beams frame glazed and timber components that provide a more direct relationship between the Institute's publicly accessible consulting rooms and drop-in centre, and the street.
The functional planning parti is highly adept. Tightly resolved laboratory modules and consulting rooms are strategically placed to preserve slots between adjacent buildings that provide sunlight and air. The largest of these gaps forms a lively circulation stair that links the facility across all floors and leads to a generous double-height common space, complete with kitchen and large communal table.
Internally and externally, the project displays a confident control of materials. Direct detailing and a conscious lack of concealment lend the interior spaces a vigorous and compelling tactility. The internal public spaces are modest yet delightful, encouraging visitors to feel welcome by the unexpected use of timber in the main stairway, doors, handrails and other specific moments in the project that anticipate and welcome human touch.
An absence of architectural conceit cultivates a strong and generous public sensibility.The building's expression deftly balances unsentimental rigour with an emotionally rich architectural character, making an appropriately nuanced reference to the BMRI's overlapping scientific and social agendas. This is a fine work of public architecture.
Hillingdon Ascham School by Tzannes Associates
This skilful insertion of a new two-storey building into a complex setting is perched just below the original Hillingdon building. Carefully arranged around circulation routes and interconnecting levels the project in effect creates a site for the where none existed previously.
The architecture is modest without being mean, and despite its small footprint, adds a rich dimension of indoor and outdoor spaces to the campus. The building's cool palette, muscular structure and restrained expression are a counterpoint to the domestic character of the original building. Carefully located openings make the building highly permeable at ground level, and connected to the broader landscape at the upper levels. Internally, spaces are highly flexible and adaptable to a range of needs.
The building integrates simple passive and active sustainable principles that are effective and appropriate for the users.
The Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution (BER) program raised questions about the value of a focus on short-term economic stimulation and delivering generic, rather than specific, responses. Here, both client and architect have worked within the framework to deliver, in just 13 months start to finish, an excellent outcome that is tailored to the school's needs and their site.
Milson Island Sport and Recreation Centre by Allen Jack + Cottier Architects
This is a confident, contemporary building set within an extraordinary landscape. Perched on the ridge of Milson Island in the Hawkesbury River, the building is carefully sited to respond to prevailing winds, key views and the existing topography inherited from the island's previous life as a prison. The main hall is a simple yet memorable space supporting a diverse range of uses. Fully glazed end walls and low level sidelights which are perfectly scaled for children, create the sense of a floating roof and reinforce visual connections to the landscape from inside. The extruded form is environmentally efficient, elegant, and neatly detailed, despite the challenges of having to deliver all materials to site on a barge. On the southern side, two service pods sit independently within the form and define the main entrance. To the north, the building capitalises on a sandstone cutting made by prisoners to create a circular amphitheatre with a camp fire at the centre. This space is delightful and used day and night. Despite a very simple functional brief and modest budget, this project has created an outcome that enhances its setting and the experience of those who use it.
National Centre of Indigenous Excellenceby Tonkin Zulaikha GreerArchitects
The new three-storey Eora Sports, Arts and Recreation Centre forms the most public part of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in George Street, Redfern. The centre is comprised of a naturally-ventilated sports hall, gymnasium, weights room, kiosk and adjacent 25-metre swimming pool, all of which are accessible by the general public at all times. The facility provides an important community hub for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal users alike.
It is a considered and colourful addition to George Street reflecting the rhythm of adjacent terrace wing walls. The volume is a simply constructed steel-framed building that suits the clear-span requirement for a sports hall. The articulation of the George Street and pool-side facades gives scale and context to its substantial volume.Colour is integrated into the facade cladding providing the NCIE with a bold identity as well as responding playfully to its urban location. The simple palette of materials includes steel, glass, timber and concrete, with most left in their natural state, giving a robust yet warm experience for users of the centre. The use of colour continues throughout the interiors creating vibrancy and a sense of fun. Graphics complement the colours with striking imagery, contributing to an energetic and open expression.
Lowy Cancer Research Centreby Lahznimmo Architects and Wilson Architects
Unifying research facilities for adult and childhood cancer, this major institution provides a bold definition to a prominent corner of the UNSW Kensington Campus. The project successfully organises an extremely dense programme onto its highly constrained site.The building was required to anticipate connections to adjacent existing buildings and preserve solar access to the Michael Birt Garden to its south, while accommodating 17,000 square metres of space for research and support staff over eight levels. Initiatives employed to reduce the project's ecological footprint including aquifer recharge and cogeneration have resulted in it being one of the first to be assessed using the Green Building Council of Australia's education tool. PC2 level laboratories are planned as an efficient, compact block and occupy the centre of the plan, with linked support spaces on the northern perimeter arranged around a compact atrium. Carefully located open fire stairs support interaction between floors. Write up spaces and rooms for collaborative work occupy the southern facade and are articulated internally and externally by a distinctive green facade treatment. These spaces enjoy outlook into the tree canopy of the adjacent garden. Windows are aligned to provide enfilade views that puncture the deep plan and visually link discrete functions.
2. Commercial Architecture
Named Award: Sir Arthur G Stevenson Award
420 George Street, Sydney by Bates Smart
The project is an intelligent and well executed response to the complex site and program. Located in the retail heart of Sydney between George and Pitt Streets, with adjacent heritage-listed buildings, the podium successfully mediates between contextual fit and retail exposure. The composition of masonry as wall and blade, and glass - both coloured and clear - has been skillfully worked to serve the functional requirements of the different uses, compliment the context and create a coherent expression. The through site link is clearly public in nature, direct and strongly defined in materiality and form, elevating the experience above that of a shopping mall. The office lobby while clearly competing for space with the retail function is generous and inviting and successful in its conception as an 'urban room.
The conception of the office tower as urban infill rather than a stand-alone object is simple and direct, with the service space and core to the north and a contiguous rectangular floor plate to the south, seemingly held between two glass blades. While there have clearly been challenges in the project's delivery methodology - for instance the fineness of detailing in the podium has not been carried through to the curtain wall system - the strength of the concept has prevailed, and the expression on the skyline is clear and dramatic, particularly to the west. It is a fine addition to the city.
ERA by Stanisic Associates Architects
Era creates a mixed-use working and retail environment with an emphasis on light and natural ventilation. The site is divided by a through link that borrows from the tradition of similar links and laneways in the Potts Point context.
The link will be activated by retail frontages. A natural short-cut through the block, it extends vertically through the building and is covered with a ventilated glass roof creating an ambience somewhere between laneway and arcade.
Circulation to the offices is via a gallery that flanks the breezeway providing animation to the space. The quality of light filtered through an aluminium shroud at the east and west is its greatest asset enlivening the materials of claret red tiles and off-form concrete. The office units are cross-ventilated from the breezeway and the wide balconies enclosed by operable louvres create an inhabitable double skin which is used to moderate the temperature within, greatly reducing the requirement for air conditioning. The project is a skilful exploration of the mixed-use model with a focus on natural light and ventilation that can be a model for larger scale development.
Coca-Cola Place by Rice Daubney
This project is an exploration in form and elevation of the well-worn formula of the commercial office tower. Responding to the surrounding built form of low-scale buildings and sun access planes, the planning controls requiring average setbacks were subverted by setting the building back in elevation rather than plan. The resultant splaying in and out of the elevation creates initially an arresting, yet, on closer inspection, very complex profile, which does enrich the otherwise uninspiring North Sydney skyline. The rich material palette and integration of public art make an important contribution to the precinct. The response to the public domain at the entrance level is less successful as the engagement with the true public domain is restricted by site levels and the entrance to the car park. Its 6 Star Green Star status sets a new sustainability benchmark within the North Sydney precinct. Coca Cola Place is commendable as a quality commercial project which provides a level of amenity above the standard response.
Sydney Harbour YHA on the dig site by Tzannes Associates
In response to this challenging site, covered with rare archaeological remains, the solution has been to support the new Youth Hostel on large steel trusses that minimise the number of footings in the ground. This allows the excavations to remain relatively undisturbed, accessible for ongoing research, and visible to the general public from street level. The resultant inactive street frontage is balanced by high levels of transparency across the site. The building is divided into three parts, re-establishing the system of laneways that previously crossed the site, and providing access to an on-site Education Centre, where the archaeology is explained to school students, professionals and tourists. The hostel offers very low-budget accommodation and the architecture is simple and modestly expressed. The typical floor circulation system is generally single-sided and surrounds naturally ventilated atriums overlooking the archaeological workings below. The strength of this project lies in it's unique configuration: the generous scale and openness of the shared atrium spaces that successfully provide relief from the enclosure of the rooms; and the elevation of the structures that permits the conservation of some of the country's most valued archaeology to be studied and enjoyed by many more than could have been previously imagined.
3. Urban Design
Named Award: Lloyd Rees Award
National Centre of Indigenous Excellence by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) is a place where young Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders come from across Australia to take part in a variety of programs: arts and culture, health and wellness, learning and innovation, sport and recreation. This project conserves three heritage-listed buildings of the former Redfern Public School dating from the 1870s and adds a new sporting facility, swimming pool and football training field to form the NCIE campus.The former school buildings are given a new uses as dining hall, dormitories, classrooms, recreation and offices. The new three-storey Eora Sports, Arts and Recreation Centre is a colourful yet rigorous addition to George Street, Redfern, reflecting the rhythm of adjacent terrace wing walls. The use of colour throughout the project creates a strong identity for the NCIE in Redfern and beyond as well as a sense of fun with the interiors. The many levels between building across the site are skilfully knitted together to provide seamless movement around the campus. The former playground between the heritage buildings becomes a whimsical central space treated with a restrained palette of concrete, timber and asphalt, while the former western playground on the site's lowest level, is a football training ground.Movement around the campus is divided into publicly accessible areas and secure areas for students with security barriers subtly integrated into stairs and gateways at level changes over the site.The entire site can be opened for public events providing important community space. The seamless integration of ESD measures - including stormwater recycling within the landscape and buildings, natural ventilation and solar heating - adds to the worth of this project. The architects for the NCIE have skilfully demonstrated how new life and identity can be infused into a diverse collection of buildings by the thoughtful arrangement of external spaces and architectural interventions.
4. Interior Architecture
Named Award: John Verge Award
BVN Sydney Studio by BVN Architecture
The atmosphere is concentrated industry; focused pools of activity in a cavernous, dimly lit space.
Everyone seems very happy working in the new BVN. The challenge for architectural practices is always finding the right space to inhabit: as architects we are very particular, however the choice is usually limited by our budgets. BVN took the plunge and moved from their bright, spacious studios on the city edge, to the heart of the CBD - a low floor of the recently refurbished Hilton Tower. The floor plate is vast, which makes the ceilings appear even lower, the views are not what one would expect of a city tower address: back ends of malls and random rooftops, and there is not too much natural light. There is however a surprising view of the Queen Victoria Building. The interior is the ultimate anti interior, a stage set of bare concrete floors, carefully exposed (and composed) services, pin wheel arrangements of workstations (reinvented from the old offices), all to promote a new way of working - a design workshop. Three deliberate results: a feeling of intimacy and creativity (surprising for an office of around 120 people on a floor plate of 1,900 square metres); a sense of organised chaos, indicating flexibility and fluidity; and, a sense of welcome, as across the vast floor there is always a zone of light and activity visible - the verandah. The verandah is the destination, a clever resolution of a structural hangover where the old and the new base buildings meet. People gravitate to the vernadah as the replacement sun-drenched courtyard, or expansive harbour view.
BVN is to be congratulated for thoughtfully pushing the boundaries of the workplace, and the message of the project is clear: theirs is a workplace which is empathetic and inclusive, flexible and committed, but not too serious.
Conneq by Bates Smart
As with many new commercial interiors, the main driver of the Conneq brief was the unification of a number of traditional hierarchical companies and the design of an interior to act as a facilitator for culture change.
The success of this interior lies in its consistent approach on all levels - clarity of planning, thorough detailing and a thoughtful, pragmatic approach to the daily activities of the company. The workplace strategies are not necessarily new but are extremely well executed so that their composition results in an interior that is clear and dramatic.
The traditional hierarchy has been reversed by placing the core office groups at the upper level. All three levels are interconnected with a void that enhances navigation through the interior. Materiality is inventive and references the industry. The highly transparent public level sends a message of fluidity and change. Clever framing of views out into the surrounding bush land through deep reveals fixed on to the base building mullions and use of directional ceiling treatments adds an unexpected dimension to the experience. This is a professional and slick interior.
Strelein Warehouse by Ian Moore Architects
This late 19th-century dual-frontage warehouse - previously used as grocery storage, an engineering workshop, and an artist's studio - has been transformed into an elegant and sophisticated two-level, one-bedroom residence. Two deceptively simple strategic moves drive the design solution. The first responds to one part of the plan where a stairway, garage and guest bathroom/laundry/storage zone span the site. After allowance for the minimum width for each function, only 10mm remained for the wall between the garage and stair. Ten-millimetre steel plate was selected to support the stair, and is consistently applied throughout the apartment including dividing walls, balustrades, entry portals, and bookcases.The second move relates to the expression of structural changes using a monochromatic colour palette consistently throughout the apartment. All existing structures are lined or painted white; and all new elements are black. With few exceptions this palette also applies to all the carefully selected furniture, fittings and artwork.
The junctions and detailing of all elements is meticulous, however this project exhibits more than just strictly controlled minimalism. It is a very liveable and surprisingly endearing space that frames an exhibition of both the inhabitant's lives and the building's history.
5. Residential Architecture - Houses New, Alterations + Additions
Named Award: Wilkinson Award
DPR House by mck architects
This playful and energetic project was an exercise in finding extraordinary potential in the decision to accept constraints - the constraints of authorities, neighbours and of site, to skilfully negotiate them, and to allow a design journey that grew in energy and liveliness. The house responds to its clients, the street, the suburb and its adjoining neighbours and demonstrates how planning constraints can to contribute to the shaping of the process, which results in a bold approach to design, leaving interesting questions regarding a future typology. The house nestles into the streetscape with its roof-like forms softly shrouded in timber shingles, and draws you in with a spatial sequence that is surprising and constantly unfolding. The environment has great energy and a wonderful flow of space through its playful manipulation of form. The clever folding of the ground plane interlinks levels, and the response to its site and edges allowed the house to provide pockets of diverse space along its boundaries and within its many creases. A rich palette of materials was used, however there was no reliance on finesse of detailing to provide a rich spatial experience, this was achieved through the fluid sequence of intriguing and daring spaces. It is wonderfully adapted to its clients and responded genuinely to the personality of the family. This is a bold, energetic and exemplary work.
Castlecrag House by Neeson Murcutt Architects
This project grew within a genuine, formative collaboration between client and architect. A previous house, with intergenerational memories for the client, was partially demolished to provide for the family's changing needs. Salvaged materials were incorporated into a design that innovatively weaves the lived history of the old house, site and family into a new setting. The house demonstrates sophisticated, fine-grained understanding of a steeply sloping site, prospects to the river and surrounding landscape features. The plan skillfully negotiates two geometrical alignments-one across and another along the contours. Their conjugation produces a spatial torsion resolved through a series of interstitial zones. At the entry level circulation is centralized and radial, leading into various contiguous living areas forming a community of diverse spaces. Upstairs, circulation becomes peripheral, providing more focused connections to discrete parts of the surrounding bushland. A restrained yet rich pallet of materials is employed to respond to human scale, occupation and use, and to highlight distinctive landscape conditions. Relatively severe exterior form and contextual response are balanced by fluid, warm and nurturing interiors, achieved through quietly modulated form, scale and materials. The level of crafting and quality of finish is exceptional.
Garden House by Durbach Block Jaggers Architects
This project achieves a sophisticated handling of spatial narrative and tectonics. A simple L-shaped form is adopted as a defensive response to the surrounding context and to define a private courtyard. The plan is disarmingly simple in its organization and zoning. These unassuming means provide a framework for a series of challenging, exquisite manipulations of perimeter and internal space. The northern brick wall is removed at ground level to open up living areas to the garden and distant views. This move demands a great deal of work from concealed concrete beams and steel columns reduced to absolutely minimal sections. The great mass of masonry appears to fold and release away from the core of the house towards the sky. There are numerous memorable instances: inverted catenary arches framing pool and sky; simple means employed to bring scale and tactility to the curved brick facade; vertical circulation around a hollowed-out shell citing a play of transparencies and reflections that completely liquefy the building's mass and materiality. Confident and skilful control of geometry, form, detailing, finishes and light is driven by an evident curiosity and love of architecture's poetic potential. This is a refined, accomplished and sophisticated work.
Skylight House by Chenchow Little Architects
This finely considered house achieves a generosity and breadth of space on a constrained inner city site. It has connected with its environment in an intricate and specific way- through modulation of light, breeze and views. The space is artfully crafted with the gentle rippling of the skylight over the main living areas, which renders its interior with light and softly sculpted form. The relationship of the main bedroom back to the centre of the house is handled in an intimate and measured manner providing privacy and a sense of retreat yet a careful connectedness. The courtyard provides a fluid connection between kitchen and living, both on different levels, through a skilful folding of the ground plane. The quality of finish and level of detail is exceptional. This is a calm and distinguished work.
Small House by Domenic Alvaro
Located on an inner-city block the size of a double garage, this project demonstrates a new typology for the city - the concrete vertical house. A repeated floor plate over 5 levels assigns one activity per floor with room for future flexibility. The Small House is disciplined and rigorous in its pursuit of a construction methodology. The precast concrete structure was erected on site over a four-day period. This expeditious approach and the ensuing key detailing strategies are a remarkable achievement. The house finds external variety through its fenestration and its roof garden terrace where a large fig tree is enjoyed by the occupants and surrounding neighbours. Passive solar energy issues have been efficiently addressed with cross ventilation operating vertically as air is drawn up the precast staircase and the building's solidity ensures good thermal mass. This successful ultra-compact house is an innovative and cost-effective example of inner-city housing.The potentially adaptable typology certainly warrants further models of construction.
House Shmukler by Tribe Studio
This project, on a deep, narrow, north-facing site, is commendable for its great spatial variety created via the placement of elements in a larger space. These elements are a series of boxes containing the private bedroom and bathroom areas that appear to hover in the communal volume of the family space. The voids between establish potential for family interaction and create a spatially exciting solution for family life. There is a quietness and warmth to the interior, achieved through its simplicity of material use and inward focus. The house successfully limits window penetrations to the northern end, but allows low light louvre windows and skylights to achieve a well-handled innovative internal lighting solution. A steel portal frame braced by ply provides a cost-effective construction method. The house demonstrates an experimental and contemporary approach to family living. It has carefully crafted balance between spatial organization and communal family character.
Parallel House by Jon Jacka Architect
The Parallel House is a whimsical experiment in geometry suggested by a challenging, awkward site with a high degree of exposure on an inner-city corner block. This atypical house nestles into its light industrial surrounds through its tough materiality and its canvas of street graffiti. The original blank canvas invited public interaction with the building and results in its wall of street art that is encouraged and welcomed by its residents. The site is a pure parallelogram in plan and the three-storey building maintains flexibility in its planning by the structural division into three parallel bays. Precast concrete panels, simple detailing and minimal joinery are used for cost-effectiveness. Black floors and ceilings, with plywood and plasterboard walls articulate an industrial nature and successfully emphasize the simplicity of the material composition. Interest in the facade generated through minimal material measures of exposed concrete and sliding battened screens. The house is commendable for its contribution to the character of the streetscape engaging the public and its inhabitants alike.
Queen Street Residence by Tzannes Associates
A challenging collaboration between client and architect has created an environment with a rich spatial complexity that artfully transitions between the realms of museum and dwelling. The project is an astonishing integration of architectural space into a diminutive footprint, and is finely integrated into the existing building that it adjoins and extends through its interwoven form. Through the clever and careful manipulation of section, the house draws in daylight and provides intrigue through its unfolding sequence of spaces and heavily controlled light levels. The project successful negotiates a site exposed to high levels of traffic and skilfully moderates the environment through its edges, balconies and courtyards. Whilst it is a project that challenged many council restrictions, it should be considered an exemplar of urban integration through its accomplished handling of detail and form.
Woollahra House 11 by Grove Architects
This project is commendable for its modesty and restraint. A sensitive handling of form and scale has produced a fitting complement to the area's diverse and established urban morphology. Response to the corner site is well handled and sufficiently assertive to complete the streetscape. From there the house retreats in plan and section to achieve a double integration. On the one hand it contributes its own garden to the public domain, allowing it to flow through a broad undercroft to the rear gardens of adjoining residences. On the other it achieves a seamless visual integration with the canopy of trees in the adjacent parkâ€š borrowing views, feathering the edges of boundaries and extending the private realm into the communal. For a relatively exposed site the house achieves a notable sense of privacy and remoteness. The plan and sectional parti are simple and effective. An elongated plan is carefully balanced and offset by lateral connections across the site. Interior spaces are elegantly scaled and lend a distinctive, stable calmness to the living spaces that sit like pavilions within a garden.
6. Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing
Named Award: the Aaron Bolot Award
Waterloo Street by Candalepas Associates
Sited in Surry Hills, adjacent to the much cherished Reader's Digest Building, this mixed-use, predominantly residential development, sits amongst rows of terrace houses and multi-storey commercial buildings. The building fits this context exceptionally well, taking cues from the surrounding buildings, while asserting its own sensibility. The facade composition and its vertical rhythm on Waterloo Street form a strong dialogue with the Reader's Digest Building, whilst it masterfully turns the corner with a series of interlocking facades. The composition intensifies at the entrance where the facades gently overlap to create an extraordinary interstitial space as the entry to the apartments. The main stair is cupped within this composition allowing a delightful and intimate experience of the facade's rich materiality as one ascends.
The ground floor contains retail tenancies that allow street activation to both Waterloo and Adelaide streets. These are set back and the ground plain modeled to give sunlit external seating areas within the property boundary to each retailer. Internally there is a common courtyard, aligned to a similar one on the neighboring site. Thus the two cleverly share in the visual amenity provided by each other. The common circulation is organised around the courtyard, with a series of generous open corridors overlooking it. This building inverts conventional order of priorities in this genre, emphasising the common areas and the craft of the building as a whole over individual apartments and their material inclusions. Waterloo Street Apartments is an outstanding composition of material and form, and a champion of the public and the collective.
Francis Street by Candalepas Associates
The Francis Street Apartment building is a curious and delightful marriage of whimsy and gravitas.
Within a strong language of horizontal off-form concrete bands on the street elevation, a delicate filigree of timber battening and balustrades is juxtaposed. A playful cantilevered pod at the top floor and an exuberant concrete highlight sculpture belie the rigours of the spatial and compositional organisation. The robust, matt finishes of the building, the solidity in the facades and the sense of 'low-techness' are a refreshing break from the knee-jerk to glass and glitz in its context. The parts of the building visible from the public realm are clearly privileged over all else in the project, as if the desire to create a great wall for street were the priority. The next rung down in the hierarchy is the living space of the apartments, which are have a spare material palette, delightful proportions and a make-my-heart-sing quality of natural light. Least important are the bedrooms and bathrooms. Places of solitude and privacy which (typically) don't have views, access to sunlight or extravagant detailing or finishes. This ordering of architecture suggests the importance of the public over the private, the street over the home, the family over the individual. It is a celebration of the communal above the solitary.
Pacific Sixteen by Smart Design Studio
At all scales of its impeccable resolution, Pacific Sixteen reconciles the contradictory impulses to open up to a fabulous view, and close off for privacy. The primary move is a balcony element projecting diagonally from a mute louvred box and framing a part of the view. Blade walls provide privacy while focusing outlook to key views. Splayed walls invite the sun and views into windows deep in the plan, while providing privacy from surrounding public domain. The material palette also gears itself to dealing with the tension between outlook and inlook. Impeccably detailed operable louvres mediate solar gain and add another level of control to view and privacy. Layers of external shades and judicious use of opaque glass create beautiful patterns of light and shade.The clarity of the architectural diagram, and the detailing and resolution of this building are exceptional achievements.For all its accomplishment, the building has a quiet modesty in its setting. It references the material palette of its context, it honours the views, sunlight and privacy of its neighbours, and contributes a considered, elegance to the street and suburb.
The Royal Newcastle by Tzannes Associates
The Royal Newcastle apartments continue the redevelopment of the former Royal Newcastle Hospital site, and with this stage, mark the potential character of the city's urban revitalization. The apartments designate a responsibility to Newcastle, one that prioritises the necessity of an amenable and integrated public realm as central to a viable residential precinct.The configuration of the built form as an ensemble of apartment buildings, aligns urban connections and shelters public space, while orientating views into and from the development.At the junction of city and beach, an impressive interconnected network of accessible public and landscaped private spaces provides an appropriate place of habitability for both residents and the public. The individual buildings continue this attitude of livability and urban fit.The apartments that front the Esplanade are demarcated in distinct elements that give legibility and visual distinction to the sinuous edge of the city.The taller building behind has a scale that mediates the intimacy of the private apartments to the prominence of its setting.The materiality of precast panels, full-height glazing and screening aluminium louvres, is considered with a high degree of detail and invention that allows an appropriate defense to the environment while demonstrating a significant investment in the quality of its architectural expression.The development constructs continuity with its context and makes an important contribution to the city.
St Peters Green Seniors Housing by Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects
In a year with a large number of social housing entries, this project stood out as an exemplar of how architects can contribute to this typology. Located in Chatswood, on the site for the former St Peter's Church hall, the seniors housing is part of a master plan also by Hill Thalis Architecture. The project is deeply informed by social and environmental ambitions and executed rigorously within pragmatic constraints of this type. The plan of the seniors housing is carefully arranged in clusters around an alternating series of communal courtyard gardens, all connected by a generous linear walkway. These circulation areas are open, light-filled and wide enough to act as 'streets', encouraging a sense of the community to emerge. The vertical circulation is situated within the courtyard gardens further strengthening the sociability of the arrangement. All the apartments have a northerly aspect, cross-ventilation and enjoy district and garden outlooks. Internally, the apartments are planned to permit multiple furnishing arrangements and allow for ease of movement. The building is restrained in its language and elegantly economical. It has an unassuming sensibility that sits gracefully in the suburban context. The detailing - composed of varying brick bonding together with honed concrete blocks - gives a humble, endearing character that is also maintenance free.
Sugar Dock, Jacksons Landing by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (fjmt)
Sugar Dock sits amidst a number of towers at Jacksons Landing. To optimise outlook amongst these towers and orient to the harbour view, the apartments are cleverly arranged at an angle to the overall plan. The shift works exceptionally well, allowing even apartments located at the southern end of the plan to enjoy view and sun. The building is a composition of podium terraces facing the street and the tower above. The tower draws strength from its clear formal strategy with glazed expression to the east and north, contrasted with the heavier precast concrete to the west and south. Glass balustrades extend below the slab to provide additional shading to the apartment below, while concurrently reinforcing the glazed expression to this facade. Behind these horizontal bands of glass, there is a composition of angular glazed door sets and frosted privacy screens. The overall effect is a delightful crystalline expression that's cupped within the thicker protective back. Sugar Dock is a pleasing addition to the skyline, a manifestation of its planning logic and a symbol of Sydney's outreach to the harbour and sun.
7. Sustainable Architecture
Named Award: Milo Dunphy Award
Elamang Avenue by Luigi Rosselli Architects
This house combines refined aesthetic sensibilities and a very sound response to environmental issues. A high degree of comfort is allied to best use of the Sydney climate, and a building which has a low environmental impact. A rammed-earth wall spine is the passive thermal system developed in this house to provide a protection from the extremes of the climate. The spine links all levels of the long, stepped dwelling on its south side. Rammed earth has the hydroscopic characteristics of clay and absorbs the abundant harbourside humidity which is released through evaporation when the temperatures rise and acts as a natural air conditioner. In winter a linear skylight above the main stair and alongside of the rammed earth wall allows the sun's rays to be cast directly on it. Adjustable louvres control the sunlight and natural ventilation at other times. The design of the house is formed around three landscaped courtyards and gardens. Skylights and windows have louvres and blinds, allied with vegetation to suit different days and different users. The eastern end of the house has a landscaped roof with succulents set around solar photovoltaic panels, and a solar hot-water system. The materials and construction used are rammed earth, recycled timber and zinc, a palette of materials that produce essentially low-CO2 emission. Concrete and bricks were used in part to ensure the home's lasting qualities and enduring life span. Beneath the house are huge water tanks; the property can survive heat and drought with minimal water and energy consumption.
39 Hunter Street by Jackson Teece Architecture
The Perpetual Trustee Building, designed by Robertson & Marks in 1916, has an imposing sandstone faÃ§ade with granite columns which provides a strong heritage contribution to this part of Hunter Street. Various attempts have been made to modernise the building in recent years, with limited success. This substantial intervention - which retained an historic marble-clad stair, a silky-oak panelled boardroom and numerous corniced ceiling panels - has cut a vast atrium into the centre of the plan. This transforms the building into a light-filled space, with an angled roof light bringing daylight and air into the heart of the volume. Considerable thought went into making the building an exemplar of sustainability, minimising power use, water loss and waste production. Key features include:
- dual use of the roof-mounted sprinkler tank for thermal storage
- displacement air conditioning and energy efficient lighting controls
- high efficiency luminaries
- gas-fired generators as part of the peak load reduction strategy
- rain water collection and re-use
- outflows to the sewage system are reduced by 40 per cent on average
- all timber and composite timber products used in the construction works were required to be sourced form post-consumer reused timber or FSC-certified timber
- 95 per cent of all painted surfaces, carpets and adhesives/sealants have been specified to comply with low VOC benchmarks.
The building was awarded a 6 Star Green Star Office Design rating, a first for a traditional city building.
8. Small Project Architecture
Small House by Domenic Alvaro
On a tiny site (6 x 7metres) at the intersection of two back lanes in Surry Hills, a sleek concrete volume has appeared, punctuated by crisp flush doors and windows, and culminating in a glazed penthouse and roof-top terrace and garden. The mixed-use surroundings enabled a five-storey building, while heritage-listed terrace houses to the northwest ensure a splendid outlook to the city at higher levels. The structure, built entirely of quality precast concrete, was fabricated off-site and erected in four days with careful pre-planning of crane use, ensuring minimal disruption to the neighbourhood. The construction system also maximised the interior space, and the levels are linked together by steel stairs cantilevered directly off the precast walls. Stone floor tiles and simple fitments throughout add to the sense of spaciousness. This house demonstrates a clever solution for inner-city living, using contemporary materials and methods, and moving beyond limited, quasi-traditional outcomes.
Port Botany Lookout by Choi Ropiha Fighera
Botany Bay is now dominated by an airport and a seaport.Between the two, a small section of beach and parkland has been retained for public amenity and access to the water. An engineered rock groyne forms a western margin looking over the water to the second runway. The tip of this groyne has been enhanced by a new public lookout, shaped evocatively like a wrecked ship's prow. Accessed by a ramp of solid hardwood planks, shaped Cor-ten enfolds the look-out, provides seating, and clearly denotes the viewing platform. Expertly formed using a CAD 3-D model, the steel plates and hardwood planking convey an industrial vigour within a refined sculptural form.The design enhances the site, using a clear idea, well resolved.
Giant Steps - Markaling House by Mury Architects
Markaling House represents a small project with a big idea. The scope of the work is effectively a large single new room behind a leased sandstone cottage on the grounds of the old Gladesville Hospital. The building is a centre for pre-school-aged autistic children and, as such, the brief had very precise procedural and security requirements.
The proposal was to create a central playroom which was an independent structure sitting in the rear courtyard of the building. The new four-legged steel structure both holds up the roof and provides downpipes from an upturned zinc roof with a large central oculus. The oculus casts a circle of direct sunlight onto the linoleum floor, and the children track this circle of light. The ceiling, a bright sunny yellow, is a simple radiating wave of gyprock, upturned at the outer edges.
The square room is both rigidly organised and very free. Bright yellow perimeter cabinetry units provide safe storage of materials and space for indirect uplighting. Colour-matched felt panels allow work to be pinned up with velcro.
The project was procured under the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution (BER), and is one of the few examples of independently managed projects in New South Wales under the BER system, delivering a beautifully clear and resourceful building reorganisation within an extremely tight budget.
9. Heritage Architecture
Named Award: Greenway Award
St James' Church, King Street, Sydney by Design 5 Architects
St James Church, designed by Francis Greenway, and built with convict labour between 1819 and 1824 is the oldest church building in the City of Sydney. Its tower and spire were in the early years of settlement the tallest structure in the city. Greenway had given the spire a distinctive flared base, and during the extensive repairs and upgrading of the church under Varney Parkes in the 1890s the spire was reclad in copper and further braced internally, and its exterior amended the addition of corner broaches. The works carried out between 2008 and 2010 show consummate care by the architect, the engineer and the builder in conserving the original structure and fabric of the building, improving its strength, performance and waterproofing. Inventive access methods, including use of a rope-and-rescue team to get the original cross and orb surmounting the spire down for essential repairs, and the use of the best available materials and technology, make this project a bench-mark of careful conservation. The works ensure that this familiar landmark is in good order for the twenty-first century.
Maitland Regional Art Gallery by Paul Berkemeier Architect
Maitland - one of the state's most historic country towns - has a main street lined with remarkable heritage buildings. The town has been in hiatus for many years with few new buildings. Across from the Town Hall, a grand Edwardian (former) technical college, designed by the Government Architect's Office under Walter Liberty Vernon around 1908, and its detached rear annex, have remained incomplete for a century. For a very modest budget, the existing buildings have been linked by a new structure and incorporated into a new regional art gallery, giving the site, and this part of Maitland new vigour and purpose. The new linking galleries are in essence a large steel-clad volume, boldly expressed inside and out, and with almost forgotten historic openings reopened, or expressed to connect the new and the old. Other signs of earlier interventions have also been left expressed. Vernon's elegant marble staircase with its stained glass skylight remains an integral element, located adjacent to the new entry and reworked classroom spaces used as traditional exhibition galleries. For some the new construction is a brutal new entity behind a delicate Edwardian institution, in a quaint historic High Street. Its importance lies in its role in breathing new life and activity into the existing heritage buildings with a new heart at their interface. As is good practice, the old is old and the new is new, and intervention within the historic buildings has been minimised by putting new plant and service areas into the new volume.
The State needs many more examples of robust and effective adaptive re-use if its great body of heritage buildings is to survive with suitable roles and in good condition.
10. Enduring Architecture
Magney House, Bingi Bingi (1984) by Glenn Murcutt
On rare occasions we encounter a house that is not only an exceptional work of architecture, but one that has a profound and inspirational influence on many others into the future. The Magney House, also known as the Bingie Farmhouse at Bingie Bingie Point, by Glenn Murcutt, is without doubt such a work. Completed in 1984 and seamlessly extended more recently, this house has been extensively published and recognised through numerous awards, contributing to an unparalleled body of work by its architect, who gracefully no longer enters his work for awards allowing space for the recognition of his colleagues. Built as a family retreat on a dramatic coastal site and briefed by the client (who had previously camped simply on the site) to achieve minimal intervention, the house provides a sensitive and elegant response to the landscape setting in its form and materials. Its siting, the clever manipulation of daylight, subtle management of heat load, and recycling of water are all integral to the design and spatial experience, demonstrating intelligent passive design thinking that results in a responsible and responsive mode of living. The simplicity, clarity and reductive response to the setting of remarkable house have meant that it continues in the same family ownership, and has performed well with minimal maintenance despite its exposed location. Under their stewardship the house retains its original integrity, which is enriched over time by the gradual transformation of the farmland to native vegetation. The Magney House received the 1985 Robin Boyd Award, and was one of sixteen 20th century residential places nominated to the International Union of Architects' (UIA) World Register of Significant 20th Century Australian Architecture, and to the Australian Government National Heritage List. The influence this house has exerted has been in part due to its importance in the evolution of the architect's body of work, with its crafted structure, subtly sculptural forms, and sophisticated assembly. This seminal work is truly an exemplar of enduring architecture, as it will no doubt continue to be long into the future.
11. Colorbond ® Award for Steel Architecture
The Hangar by Peter Stutchbury Architecture
Built to house a small fleet of former military aircraft for tourist flights over the Hunter Valley, The Hangar has a singular and direct architectural expression. Local planning controls dictate that new buildings read as simple forms in the rural landscape and the Hangar does not disappoint, with its striking silhouette as the roof rolls around to form the south elevation while cantilevering 12 metres to the north to provide weather protection over the hangar doors and taxiway.
The subsequent extrusion is embellished on the east and west with administration pods indented on the east for entry and protruding on the west for viewing. The pods are linked by a 45-metre suspended walkway that functions as the main circulation spine and viewing gallery. The spatial experience is enhanced with natural light through polycarbonate sheeting that follows the profile of the roof trusses in elevation and roof lights over the hangar doors that heighten the expression of the structural logic and resolution. An extremely technical building in terms of code compliance and occupational Health and Safety, it also functions as a museum and event space, adding an intriguing venue to Hunter Valley tourist region. Its greatest achievement however is in its economy of form and material with the enclosure defined by the span and radius of the ARAMAX roof sheeting and the optimum span and cantilever of the trusses providing maximum strength and enclosure for minimum material.
12. Blacket Prize
Hall and Library, St Joseph's Primary School, Wingham by Austin McFarland Architects
The Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution (BER) program has had mixed results in New South Wales, with some smaller institutions gaining better-designed buildings and much better value for money than public schools. The new school hall and library for St Joseph's at Wingham, near Taree, is one such example.
The project was one of the first BER projects commissioned and completed by the Catholic Schools Office (Diocese of Maitland and Newcastle). The school was small, with around 90 students. Its library and canteen were cramped and outdated, there was no school hall, and the school lacked street presence; many local residents were unaware of its existence. The site is off a church square/garden, which forms one side of the main square of Wingham.
The new rectangular hall is a robust, solid brick building with a sheltering cantilevered roof. It is well suited to the sub-tropical climate with high-level translucent and louvred glass panels for natural light and ventilation.
The building now completes one side of the church 'square', making the school visible from the street and town square, giving it greater public presence. At the opposite end of the school, the library is a full-stop at the end of a long covered walkway. This building has a more theatrical angular volume ending with a large picture window with an outlook towards distant mountains and the Manning River. Plywood bookcases designed by the architects, interlocking tables and 1960s pendant lights give character and warmth to the interior. Together, the two buildings bookend one's passage through the school, with the hall acting as gateway, and the library as terminus. Both buildings use local bricks and timber from local mills, giving visual consistency to older buildings in the precinct. The project fully met the programmatic requirements of the combined clients (school, diocese, parish) but far exceeded their expectations, offering dramatic and uplifting spaces. The students identify well with the new spaces and enrolments are up. The town has also embraced the new hall, which is often hired out for classes, meetings, shows and weddings. Costing $1,367 per square metre, the project is a fine example of how a small country architectural practice, working well with a supportive client and helpful consultant team, can deliver artful spaces and fine civic buildings on an extremely modest budget.
13. President's Prize
In awarding this prize to Peter Mould, the NSW Government Architect, I have sought to recognise an individual who has made a meaningful contribution to the most pressing challenge of our generation. That is, the application of creative thinking to the question of city form, growth and design. Denser, more liveable, amenable and sustainable cities are critical to the efficiency and productivity of New South Wales. This prize is foremost about celebrating a highly committed and talented advocate, but it is also an unconditional endorsement of the position of the NSW Government Architect at a moment when fearless design advice to government is so important. Peter Mould is a quiet achiever. In his role as Government Architect he has been a tireless advocate for design excellence. He promotes design quality purely for the benefit of society and the profession. Peter graduated from the University of New South Wales in 1971. After working in several architectural offices in Sydney and overseas, he joined the Government Architect's Branch of the NSW Public Works Department in 1978. He became Assistant Government Architect in 1997 and Government Architect in 2006. Since that time, he has raised the profile of architectural and urban design work of the Government Architect's Office and has influenced decision making through his work in numerous advisory roles. Central among these are the Heritage Council of NSW and the Central Sydney Planning Committee. Peter has promoted design collaboration over many years, most recently with Sam Marshall at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Kerry and Lindsay Clare at Newcastle Art Gallery, and with Ken Maher at Circular Quay. Throughout, he has made a difference to lifting design quality in the built environment. Peter was a Chapter Councillor and Vice President in NSW between 2002 and 2005. He is a Visiting Professor to the UNSW Faculty of the Built Environment, has taught and lectured extensively, and is currently Chair of the Eminent Architects Panel advising the Sydney Opera House Trust. In all his many contributions to the profession, he has brought a calm dignity and unwavering insistence on the highest design quality.
14. Marion Mahony Griffin Prize
Caroline Pidcock graduated from the University of Sydney with a B.Sc. (Arch) in 1984 and B. Arch (Hons) in 1987. She held a number of jobs between 1984 and 1992, including with Allen Jack + Cottier Architects. Between 1987 and 1989 she worked in London for Jestico & Whiles. In 1992 she started her own architectural practice in Sydney.
Pidcock - Architecture and Sustainability is a practice working to excel ecologically sustainable architecture and advice. The firm has won numerous awards, and most recently joined BlueScope Steel in a successful bid to build 'resilient' housing - for the Insurance Council of Australia. Caroline is a passionate advocate for and educator in sustainable architecture. Her small architectural practice in Redfern has a large portfolio of projects exemplifying her core beliefs that the construction industry's growing demands to improve environmental performance make it essential to integrate environmental and sustainability requirements into building design at the earliest possible stage, and address them properly during construction. As NSW Chapter President from 2002 to 2005, Caroline contributed to a new Architects Act and brought the issue of sustainability firmly onto the agenda. She initiated a forum for women architects called 'Women in the Profession', and gave the President's Award to the practice that demonstrated the best workplace policies in respect of retaining women in the workforce. Caroline has contributed to the education of future architects. She has been a lecturer at University of Newcastle, tutor at the University of Sydney, and Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Built Environment at UNSW. Caroline has been active on many committees and authored numerous articles for various magazines. Her interviews on radio and television, and participation in discussion panels amount to countless presentations promoting the profession in general, and sustainability in particular. In awarding Caroline Pidcock the 2011 Marion Mahony Griffin Prize, the jury recognises her lifetime commitment to architecture and sustainability as well as her commitment to improving the involvement of women in the profession. Her leadership as a promoter of best practice design makes her an outstanding example of what women can aspire to and achieve in architecture.
15. Emerging Architect Prize
The Emerging Architect Prize recognises overall excellence in practice, research or education, and involvement in the profession through leadership. Matt Chan excels in all these areas. During his studies at the University of NSW, Matt participated in an exchange program with Sweden. Continuing his interest in research in an international context he later completed a thesis at the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands, a post-academic laboratory for design-based research in architecture and urbanism. He received a number of scholarships in recognition of this, and exhibited his work in the public realm. Matt's contribution to the public discourse includes exhibitions, talks and other media. He participated in the 'Abundant Australia' exhibition for the 2008 Venice International Architecture Biennale, was invited to present and exhibit a future vision for Sydney at the Institute's 2008 National Conference, was part of the exhibition 'Art + Architecture 11: Home- Real and Ideal' (Boutwell Draper Gallery) and SONA's Rehab Conference 2009, and regularly presents at the Chapter's Tuesday Night Talks at Tusculum. Matt's commitment to teaching is also outstanding and he takes great pride in the achievements of his students. Since 2003, as a Design Studio tutor and leader (primarily at the University of Sydney), he has helped students explore issues of urbanism, digital representation, civic buildings and the future of the suburb. In his own practice, Scale Architecture (established in Amsterdam in 2002, Sydney 2004), he challenges conventional models by basing the studio on collaboration - with local and international practitioners, students and recent graduates - tapping the potential of new thinking and perspectives. Some notable measures of success with this approach include: Australia Street Infants School COLA, awarded a Small Project Architecture Commendation at the Institute's 2010 Architecture Awards; the 'Infinity Forest' installation for Sydney's 2009 Laneways By George! project; and a winning submission for Automated People Mover Stations at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.