ACT architectural projects nationally celebrated for sustainability, interiors

Sustainability and stunning interior architecture were key to several ACT projects being recognised at Australia’s most prestigious architecture awards in Melbourne tonight, the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards 2018.

Synergy by BVN, which houses the CSIRO at Black Mountain, won a National Award for Sustainable Architecture for its naturally ventilated mixed mode scientific design with the jury noting that, ‘architecturally, the building derives its expression from the surrounding Australian landscape’.

Light and ventilation are the key to the building’s sustainability, with daylight mediated through an external louvred sun screen and ventilation controlled by an integrated system that draws air into the building and expels it through two thermal chimneys.

The revamped Monaro Mall at the Canberra Centre, designed by Universal Design Studio and Mather Architecture, won a National Award for Interior Architecture. Inspired by research into Canberra’s mid-century vision for the CBD, the design ‘involves peeling back the layers of change to rediscover, celebrate and enhance one of Australia’s early state-of-the-art shopping centres’.

Finally, the new Australian Federal Police Forensics and Data Centre by HASSELL received a National Commendation for Commercial Architecture, for its radical approach in bringing many of the AFPs specialist experts into one workplace. The jury said ‘the new facility provides a workplace that will cultivate connections, exchange, and the sharing of intelligence’.

Jury chair and Immediate Past President Richard Kirk said the National Awards provided an opportunity to reflect on how Australia’s diverse landscapes, urban environments and economic conditions influence and inform our architecture, enriching our culture.

‘Projects at this level are all accomplished but it was those that could demonstrate their value broadly, beyond the limits of the brief and the confines of the site, which were nationally recognised,’ he said.

‘Most impressive were projects that established new design benchmarks and whose influence can be of value to the broader community, leading to positive change in our built environment.

‘For the jury, it was important that all the awarded projects implemented sustainability initiatives at a conceptual level, taking a holistic approach. It was impressive to see the growing sophistication and ingenuity in this domain.’

National President Clare Cousins congratulated all award recipients and finalists for their valuable contribution to Australian architectural practice.

‘In Australia, we have developed our own brand of architecture that defines who we are and where we come from,’ she said.

‘These awards are the most recognised and competitive in the industry. They are peer-judged and involve an exhaustive selection process, with site visits to shortlisted projects, allowing the jury to experience the quality of the work firsthand.

‘They showcase the continuing evolution and diversity of our craft and the changing needs of our society, illustrating the vital role architecture plays in the lives of all Australians.’

The local winners were among 12 projects to receive named awards, 20 that received national awards and eight that received national commendations from a shortlist of 69 projects drawn from a total pool of 975 of national and international entries.

ACT award winners:

National Award for Interior Architecture – Monaro Mall, Canberra Centre by Universal Design Studio and Mather Architecture (ACT)

National Award for Sustainable Architecture – Synergy by BVN (ACT)

National Commendation for Commercial Architecture – Australian Federal Police Forensics and Data Centre by HASSELL (ACT)

2018 National Jury

Richard Kirk (Chair) – Immediate Past President of the Australian Institute of Architects; Director, KIRK
Jill Garner – Victorian Government Architect
Katelin Butler – Editorial Director, Architecture Media
Charles Wright – Director, Charles Wright Architects
Kevin O’Brien – Principal, BVN