Existing buildings re-used in innovative ways, that provide a “model for other works”, that “offer new ways to think about new or emerging problems” and that represent “models for affordable housing” have dominated the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) 2006 NSW Architecture Awards in Sydney.
Announcing award winners in Sydney tonight, jury chair Diane Jones said: “We sought to award projects that provide a model for other works. We looked for strong ideas about the use of space, supported by skilful execution of the assembly. Many projects offered new ways to think about new or emerging problems; they gave the possibility for new reflections and vibrant discoveries.”
Indicative of this, a small 77-year-old mechanics workshop in inner-city Newtown and a group of five young architects have emerged as major winners for 2006 - with the group of friends winning three major awards for the sensitive way they transformed the garage into a working studio and three apartments with courtyards. The project offers an alternative model for affordable housing and multi-residential living.
The project - 23-25 Egan Street, Newtown by Mackenzie Pronk Architects, Julie Mackenzie, Shack Design & Kieran McInerney - Architects In Association - was awarded the prestigious President’s Award, an ESD/Energy Efficiency Architecture Award and a Multiple Housing Architecture Award.
“The Egan Street adaptive re-use project provides an exemplar for regenerating existing buildings in environmentally and socially beneficial ways,” the jury said. “A small industrial building has been converted into three double height residential units of approximately 70m2 each with a fourth equal-sized office space at the front of the building. It offers a blueprint for collaborative and affordable social housing in inner urban areas.”
The increasingly innovative adaptive re-use of existing buildings for commercial purposes was also apparent, with two small studios in inner Sydney receiving Adaptive Re-use Architecture Awards - the Smart Design Studio by Smart Design Studio and Sherman Studio by Tzannes Associates Pty Ltd. The jury described the Tzannes project as “a model for the compatible and sensitive re-use of small scale buildings”.
Awards in the important Single Housing - New category similarly reflected the jury’s recognition of new housing models, and the current sea and tree change phenomena - with four of the five award and commendation recipients being outside the Sydney metropolitan area.
For the first time since the State’s key residential prize, the Wilkinson Award, was established 45 years ago, the award has been jointly awarded to two new single houses - a prototype “affordable beach shack”, the Parish House near Port Macquarie by Robin Edmiston & Associates with SYSTEMarchitects, and a sinuous farmhouse, the Mt Minderoo House at Mittagong by Luigi Rosselli Pty Ltd.
The Parish House, proposed as a prototype for pre-fabricated cheap housing, “reinvents a type of weekender all but disappearing in Australia - the affordable beach shack on stilts whose rudimentary amenities demand its occupants forgo the cosseted habits of their lives in the city”. The jury said: “Its success as a kit home is not yet known but that it even attempts an alternative to the narrow choices of luxury weekender or generic project home is admirable.”
NSW’s key award for public buildings, the prestigious Sulman Award, was presented this year to the most private of public buildings - the 36/37 Squadron Headquarters at RAAF Richmond by Bligh Voller Nield, who emerged as major recipients at this year’s awards, picking up five awards for four separate projects. The headquarters were also presented with an Architecture Award for ESD/Energy Efficiency.
“For security reasons, the headquarters are invisible and inaccessible to the larger public, yet they are a model for integrating environmentally sustainable ambitions within the brief and resolution of a publicly funded project,” the jury said. They “felt this building to be a model of responsible architecture wherein its sustainable ambitions are fully integrated with its formal qualities”. A second most private of public buildings was also awarded an Architecture Award for Public Buildings - the Centennial Park Amenities by Lahz Nimmo Architects. The award is “for five toilet blocks, considered as a family with slight variations according to need and site”.
The Lloyd Rees Award for Civic Design, encompassing urban, environmental and landscape design, was awarded to The Brickpit Ring at Sydney Olympic Park by Durbach Block Architects, a site that represents the last tangible evidence of a vast working industry at Homebush Bay, and is home to the rare and endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog. The site features an aerial walkway and outdoor exhibition placed 20 metres above the brick pit floor, with the jury noting that the “elevated walkway is a clever solution balancing public access with an ecologically fragile site”.
A Civic Design Architecture Award was also presented to the landmark Sydney Hilton by Johnson Pilton Walker Pty Ltd, with the hotel’s recent renovation also earning it the RAIA’s Commercial Award. The jury said the building “overcomes the placeless-ness often found in this building type through a visual and material engagement with Sydney and with its immediate neighbours”.
Reflecting the growth in importance of multi-residential housing, four Architecture Awards were presented in the Multiple Housing category - 21 Alberta Street by Nation Viney Pty Ltd, 23-25 Egan Street, Pindari by Candelapas Associates and 5 new terraces houses and gallery in Woollahra by John Grove Architect.
In describing 21 Alberta Street, the jury said: “This is a 10-storey mixed use commercial/residential building located on a south-facing corner block in an unprepossessing back street near the commercial centre of Sydney”. They said: “The jury accepted that, within a major city, the demands for urban consolidation will require that sites such as 21 Alberta Street be made available for residential occupation. It offers a valuable model for new urban housing and mixed use development.”
A Special Jury Award was presented a Sydney architecture firm well-known for their award-winning multi-residential projects, Stanisic Associates Architects, “in recognition of their contribution to medium density urban housing, and their ongoing achievement of high-quality environmentally responsive and affordable architecture”.
Architecture Awards for Interior Architecture have been awarded to projects in two very different but iconic Sydney buildings: The Customs House Library at Customs House by Lacoste + Stevenson Architects, a project involving the re-location of the City of Sydney Library into the historic Customs House building at Circular Quay. The jury said: “Skilfully designed lighting and colour create a sense of effervescent joy.” And, the Deutsche Bank fit-out by Bligh Voller Nield at 126 Phillip Street in Sydney’s CBD. The jury said: “The Deutsche Bank fit-out succeeds in bringing a sense of place to this corporate culture with commendable organisational clarity that takes full advantage of the good natural light and outlook offered by the building envelope.”
This year’s Premier’s Award was presented to Parramatta Transport Interchange by Hassell, with Premier Iemma citing the importance of regional cities such as Parramatta to the growth of the greater metropolitan area. He said: “The design solution respects the heritage of the early railway buildings while complementing these with a 21st century solution”.
The NSW 25 Year Award was presented to the Concert Hall and Opera House of the Sydney Opera House by Peter Hall of Hall Todd & Littlemore. The jury said “Peter Hall and his partners completed the building in very difficult and controversial circumstances, conferring with Utzon himself, respecting his framework and ensuring the functional performance of the venues”.
The Blacket Award, presented to an architectural project in regional NSW, was awarded to a new single house in Kangaroo Valley, Bangalay by the 2005 Robin Boyd winner, Stutchbury & Pape. The farmhouse, described as a “calm and welcoming place”, was also awarded an Architecture Award for Single Housing.
A small late 19th century house in Newcastle’s Hill Heritage Conservation Area, House Eight-Eight, by Ostinga Design was presented with an Architecture Award in the Single Housing - Alterations and Additions category. The Bundeena Beach House by Sam Crawford Architects was awarded the annual Colorbond Award, with the jury saying “the sensitive fit of the house into its fragile coastal environment, and in relation to the character of the surrounding houses, has been enhanced by the judicious use of lightweight metal sheeting”.
For more information, interview and images contact:
RAIA National Media Advisor Trish Croaker on 0408 756 163 or email@example.com.