2020 Newcastle Architecture Awards announced

20 March 2020: Verve Residences by CKDS Architecture with Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects has emerged as the foremost project in this year’s Newcastle Architecture Awards, collecting a swathe of honours including the prestigious Architecture Medal, the award for Residential Architecture – Houses (Multiple Housing) and a commendation for Sustainable Architecture.

Verve creates a major new urban frontage to King Street, one of Newcastle’s major boulevards. Along the site’s north-east boundary to Cottage Creek, an important new public connection is created, linking northward to the harbourfront and southward to National Park. The project sets a new standard of urban architecture in Newcastle, an exemplar combining public benefits, activation and leading residential design.

Consisting of a pair of towers and a linear podium fronting King Street, the Verve Residences bring a distinguished presence to Newcastle’s streetscape and skyline. The project accommodates 208 apartments, with a mix of retail and commercial spaces addressing the street and new canal frontage. The careful site planning creates generous public and communal landscape spaces. The small footprint of the towers, extensive podium landscaping, splayed balconies and articulation of the base means that many apartments enjoy corner positions, with extended sunshine, natural ventilation and expansive views.

Jury chair Sam Crawford of Sam Crawford Architects said: ‘The culture of design in Newcastle is evidently very strong. This year’s entries were of the highest calibre, highlighting the diversity of work being undertaken in the region. The award-winning projects showcase the extraordinary breadth of talent in the Newcastle architecture community and the ingenuity of local architects working within constrained budgets.’

St Bede’s Catholic College, Chisholm – Stage 1 by SHAC won the award for Educational Architecture, the COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture and received a commendation for Sustainable Architecture.

SHAC built upon the existing relationship with the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle to complete the first stage of a new Catholic Secondary College. The first stage building utilises the adaptable and flexible structural grid to house the functional area and specialist teaching spaces for the initial school population within a single building. The interim facilities will change function as the school community grows and the future stages of works are completed onsite.

A strong material selection coupled with a symmetrical design approach allows for high quality detailing and execution throughout the building, subtly referencing proportion, geometry and patterns. The building purposely celebrates the exposed, large section structural steel members as part of the external expression of the building, and as a representation of the repetitive and large span structural grid.

Experiencing life at the beach in all its forms, the Beach House by architecture saville isaacs won the award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) and a commendation for Interior Architecture. A progression of pavilions and courtyards are strung off a circulation spine/breezeway, from street to beach. There is no differentiation between architecture and interiors – interior becomes exterior, joinery becomes space modulator, and materials become textural art brought to life by the sun.

Also awarded for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) was Vikki’s Place by Curious Practice. Located on flood prone land in Newcastle, the home design challenges existing suburban ideals and grapples with the threat of climate change and housing affordability. This multi-generational home focuses on how the clients want to live and occupy space rather than fulfilling a checklist of rooms. The dwelling embraces the qualities of half-finished structures or ruins. The lower portion is made from strong, robust materials to withstand flooding while the upper floor is lightweight, using warm and soft materials.

For the award winner of Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions), the interventions at Parry Street by Curious Practice demonstrate the role of design as a transformative process. The project transformed the three separate tenancies within the existing Federation brick house back into a single-family home.

The Signal Box Restaurant by Derive Architecture & Design received the Heritage award for its modestly scaled, light and detailed structure serving as a counterpoint to the State Heritage Listed ‘O’ Type Signal Box rail control building. The design of a light filigree exposed structure, free spanning suspended platform of steel, concrete and glass provides a transparent form to create a strong connection with the surrounding walkways and gardens as well as sightlines to the Signal Box that make up the significant transformation of the former railway and its associated workings.

In addition to the eight awards, the jury recognised other exemplary projects in Newcastle with commendations going to: Point Frederick House by Slater Architects for Residential Architecture – Houses (New), JAM House by Ramsey Awad Architect for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions), The Boatshed by Sally Morgan Architect with Matt Griffin Designer for Small Project Architecture. The jury also acknowledged Interior Architecture commendations for Cooks’ House by Curious Practice and DFK Crosbie Workplace by SDA.

NSW Chapter President Kathlyn Loseby said: ‘It is heartening to see that the 33 projects entered this year exemplify the potential for architecture to positively impact our community, in particular the significant changes occurring in Newcastle and the Central Coast regions.’
In total the jury bestowed eight awards and eight commendations. The Institute congratulates all the practices that participated in the 2020 Newcastle Architecture Awards program and thanks this year’s jurors, who contributed their time and expertise with great generosity, and to our Newcastle Awards major partner EARP Bros, and category partners hebel and Cemintel.

The full list of winners and commendations and the awards catalogue including jury citations is available on the Newcastle awards page.

High resolution images and promotional summaries are available for download here:

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