2022 National Prize Winners

2022 GOLD MEDAL

SEAN GODSELL

The Gold Medal is the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest honour. It recognises distinguished service by architects who have designed or executed buildings of high merit, produced work of great distinction resulting in the advancement of architecture, or endowed the profession of architecture in a distinguished manner. The 2022 recipient of the Gold Medal is Sean Godsell.

Godsell’s body of work, publications, exhibitions, speaking and teaching engagements have been accoladed in Australia. But for a small practice architect who has completed a relatively modest number of dedicated projects, his level of international recognition is unparalleled.  Godsell’s work  has contributed significantly by expressing, on a global stage, an architectural response to Australia’s unique territorial landscape.

Godsell was born in Melbourne in 1960 and graduated with first-class honours from the University of Melbourne in 1984. He spent much of 1985 travelling in Japan and Europe and worked in London from 1986 to 1988 for Sir Denys Lasdun. In 1989 he returned to Melbourne and in 1994 formed Godsell Associates Pty Ltd Architects.

2022 Gold Medal Winner | Sean Godsell

He obtained a master’s degree in architecture from RMIT University in 1999 with a thesis submission titled ‘The Appropriateness of the Contemporary Australian Dwelling.’ His work has been published in the world’s leading Architectural journals including Architectural Review (UK) Architectural Record (US) Domus (Italy) A+U (Japan) Casabella (Italy) GA Houses (Japan) Detail (Germany) Le Moniteur (France) and Architect (Portugal).

In 2003 he received a citation from the President of the American Institute of Architects for his work for the homeless. His Future Shack prototype was exhibited from May to October 2004 at the Smithsonian Institute’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York. He has lectured in the US, UK, China, Japan, India, France, Italy and New Zealand as well as across Australia, and was a keynote speaker at the Alvar Aalto symposium in Finland in July 2006.

In 2008, Kenenth Frampton  nominated him for the inaugural BSI Swiss Architecture Award for architects under the age of 50 and his work was exhibited in both the Milan Triennale and Venice Biennale in the same year.

In 2013 the influential Spanish publication El Croquis published the monograph Sean Godsell – Tough Subtlety.  In 2013 and 2014 he was visiting professor at the IUAV WAVE workshop in Venice, and he delivered the UNESCO Chair Open Lecture in Mantova, Italy. Godsell received the 2016 DETAIL Prize in Germany for the 2014 MPavilion. In 2018 he received a Papal Silver Medal for his Vatican Chapel on the island of S Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The same year, through invitation, Godsell spoke in the US at the New Caanan Historical Society, the New York Architectural League and at Yale University School of Art and Architecture.

Sean’s architecture probes, challenges and reflects a synopsis of an Australian architect responding to a highly deep moral and territorial ethos. It is unwavering as it is singular.

In all regards, this intimate folio of work responds to projects built upon the assembly of intricate detail free of expectation. It is personal, rigorous and relevant at the same time, and envisions the project from its context.

The essence of this citation is best summed up in the words of Philip Goad and his reference to Godsell’s residential work in the 2019 Thames and Hudson monograph, Sean Godsell: Houses: “The nine houses featured in this book, become almost totemic – symbolic or representative of a spatializing of how one might want or hope to live in one of the oldest countries but newest nations in the world. That is a bold statement, but then equally bold is the relentless, headstrong search for perfectible form and space that Godsell continues to undertake with near eremitic persistence…It is not an easy path when following such a singular goal.”

Godsell’s work defines an extraordinary commitment to excellence in design, detail and resolution that allows us the privilege to experience the visibility of an intense master craftsman.

To achieve all of this in his practice timeframe is an extraordinary achievement that should be recognised, lauded and celebrated. Congratulations Sean.

JURY

Tony Giannone FRAIA (Chair) – National President

Alice Hampson LFRAIA – Director, Alice Hampson Architect

David Karotkin LFRAIA – Managing Director, Carabiner

Camilla Block LFRAIA – Director, Durbach Block Jaggers Architects

John Denton LFRAIA – Director, Denton Corker Marshall 

2022 National President’s Prize

Khai Liew

The National President’s Prize recognises an individual’s contribution to the advancement of architecture in any significant way, other than through architectural design, practice or education.

The 2022 recipient of the National President’s Prize is Khai Liew

The relationship between architecture and furniture is historically appreciated. It is often said that the furniture in a building makes the architecture look good.

The influence of Khai Liew within the architecture profession is often understated.

It is Khai’s very understated humble manner that draws the many threads of deliberate collaboration together to bring out the recognition of what is possible when we leave our egos home around the design table.

2022 National President's Prize Winner | Khai Liew

Khai has been at the forefront of understanding Australian historical and cultural artefacts beginning with the repurposing of traditional settlement Barossa Valley furniture.

The essence of Khai’s work is best reflected in a poster that adorns his workshop…..on one side…

“Beauty is goodness written in matter” …….and on the other ….spirituality, domesticity and community

Beauty, goodness, balance, graceful, emotional, rhythmical, elegance, simplicity, original, crafted, folded, pleated, intricate, bespoke, spiritual, purity ….. are words often referenced in the work of this master.

Khai Liew’s studio and workshop is based in Adelaide. He acts as a consultant to State and National institutions, advising on acquisition and conservation in the field of Australian material culture. As a designer, he draws on this knowledge and on his cultivated design language to produce useful, meaningful and delightful work that speaks of its time, place, people and culture.

His advocacy of “beautiful’ and purposeful architecture to clients, government, institutions and the passing of this knowledge to students has been exemplar, leading by example from the appreciation of what is possible through deliberate design rather than production. Liew’s designs have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Design Museum, London and the Triennale De Milano. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia, and the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Khai has what no formal design training can instill, spiritual humility that embodies the ethos of “ let the work do the talking” a principle that has been lost in this overexposed media world.

His exemplar work exhibits no boundaries, it draws on life’s experience, family origins and the dedicated research into understanding the most intricate details of furniture making drawn from many cultures.

If beauty is the precursor to the work of Khai Liew, then he adorns that beauty into architecture.

Congratulations Khai.

Tony Giannone – National President | Director, Tectvs

2022 Leadership in Sustainability Prize Winner

Dr Kenneth Yeang

The 2022 Leadership in Sustainability Prize is awarded to Dr Ken Yeang, an architect, planner, prolific author, and ecologist, who is best known for his bioclimatic approach to architecture and master planning. 

Yeang reminds us that “Saving our environment is the most vital issue that humankind must address today, feeding into our fears that this millennium may be our last. For the designer, the compelling question is: how do we design for a sustainable future?” He has answered this question through more than four decades of research-informed practice, bringing about tangible change in what he describes as a “race and rescue mission”. 

2022 Leadership in Sustainability Prize Winner | Kenneth Yeang

Yeang’s early experiments with bioclimatic and passive design bucked trends. In the last decades of last century, so many large-scale buildings and skyscrapers were the by-product of mechanical and artificial systems. Yeang instead sought greater harmony between nature and the built environment. Yet access to nature, use of vegetation, and natural ventilation within skyscrapers presented many challenges; space is at a premium, fire safety complex, further amplified by the harsh natural environment of a building’s upper-most levels. His career, therefore, might be considered a series of experiments to decarbonise large-scale projects through passive and ecological design strategies; theorised, implemented, tested, and disseminated through his extensive publication and teaching, including by invitation to a half dozen Australian universities. 

He has been recognised through the Aga Khan award for architecture, the Prinz Claus Fonds award, the UIA August Perret award and the Australian Institute of Architects International Award for Menara UMNO. His mentor, Professor Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design 2008-2019, aptly explains his contribution: “His pioneering research and buildings, combining architecture and nature, have provided inspiration for a generation of architects and planners concerned with ecology and the future of the built environment.” 

JURY

Tony Giannone FRAIA (Chair) – National President 

Sarah Lyn Rees RAIA. Grad – Australian Institute of Architects First Nations Advisory Working Group Chair | Jackson Clements Burrows Architects

Melinda Dodson LFRAIA – Australian Institute of Architects Past National President, ACT President and Life Fellow Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge Founder | Director, Melinda Dodson Architects

Mark Lusis Affiliate RAIA – Associate Principal, Arup 

2022 Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture

Isabella Reynolds

Isabella Reynolds has made a unique and progressive contribution to the advancement of architecture and education. She has operated at the intersection of student experience and the broader profession in a skilled and sophisticated manner. She has shown strong leadership among the student cohort in the area of interdisciplinary design and collaboration.  

In 2020, Isabella founded the ongoing Architecture& panel series, which seeks to engage members of the profession in discussions on architecture and its surrounding disciplines. These discussions, made accessible in-person and online, have also been archived and published in the University of Queensland Barbara Journal, allowing discourse to reach the broader community. This platform for diverse interdisciplinary engagement provides opportunity for industry leaders, engineers, students, practitioners, CEOs, artists, developers, politicians, urban planners and academics to intermingle and merge in the same physical and ideological spaces. 

2022 Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture | Isabella Reynolds

Isabella has acted as both student and teacher during her architectural education. Whilst working in a Student of Architecture role at BVN in Brisbane, she established an open-to-all guest lecture program at her place of employment to feature Brisbane artists and emerging architects. The program was accompanied by an in-studio design and art workshop and competition that culminated in an exhibition of works at the Queensland State Library. Furthermore, whilst undertaking her Masters of Architecture, she undertook a tutoring role at her university in Building Technology, with a focus on mass timber structures.  

Isabella Reynolds has made significant contributions in architecture education which have benefited the education to her student cohort, as well as the broader profession. She operates effectively in cross disciplinary environments, and broadly influences the architecture profession in a manner that is cross generational, and noteworthy considering her years of experience.  She provides a precedent to the strong contributions that students can have on the future of the architectural profession.   

Thomas Huntingford

Thomas Huntingford has made substantial contributions to the advancement of the education of architecture by inspiring camaraderie among his student cohort, promoting student engagement and consistently challenging himself and his peers to do more.  

Thomas has formed meaningful relationships with his teachers, peers and colleagues, and collaborated with them to successfully initiate ways to increase student engagement with architectural discourse. In early 2020, he worked with his lecturer to start a student initiative called “Interviewing Designers and Architects.” He is the co-chair of the Melbourne School of Design (MSD) Student Forum, which he has made a more accessible place for all students through removing the need for formal applications. In 2019, he created the MSD Discussion Board Facebook group. This online platform, which now has more than 1,500 members, has simulated the studio culture online, allowing the sharing of work, ideas and events.  

2022 Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture | Thomas Huntingford

A human-scale peer-to-peer approach has been brought to SONA’s executive team through Thomas’s leadership and advocacy for meaningful engagement of SONA members. Thomas has represented students at the Institute’s Victorian Chapter Council, Victorian Education Committee, Architect Victoria Editorial Committee and Sustainability in Architecture Forum.  

Thomas has made a genuine contribution to the promotion of architecture for the benefit of the profession and the student experience. His leadership has had a positive impact on the culture of the education of architecture and student wellbeing, and has included provide students with a safe place to contribute and do more through friendship and camaraderie.

JURY

Tony Giannone FRAIA (Chair) – National President | Director, Tectvs

Lisa Moore FRAIA – NEC Chair and National Councillor | Director, And Architecture 

Dr Helen Norrie – University of Tasmania

Leanne Haidar – National SONA President | SJB Architects