ACT’s best architecture revealed with sustainability at the forefront

Canberra’s reputation as an architectural powerhouse was further enhanced with the announcement tonight of the winning projects in the 2021 ACT Architecture Awards.

The ACT winners will now progress to compete in the National Architecture Awards program, recognised as the most prestigious and rigorous of its kind.

Among the 24 Project Awards and Commendations presented, entries exemplifying the best in sustainability and residential housing dominated the winners.

Jury Chair Cassandra Keller said this year’s winners reinforced the value architects bring to their clients and broader communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic puts the quality of our lived spaces into the spotlight like never before,” Ms Keller said.

“Architects apply their skill, creativity and expertise to transform where we live, where we work, where we learn into places of enjoyment and comfort that also continue to push the boundaries of a built environment that is better for our planet.

“With these awards, we celebrate the relationship between architects and their clients, as well as the broader community, that helps deliver projects which constantly raise the bar in terms of responsive, considered and sustainable design.”

The highest award, the Canberra Medallion, was awarded to House for Hiroko by Anthony Knobel Architect, which also won The Malcolm Moir and Heather Sutherland Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New). The Jury described it as “a delightful and modest response to a couple’s life-long ambition to commission a home that celebrates and encapsulates a culturally rich life lived abroad.”

Canberra’s iconic Concrete Bus Shelters, 1975–1995 by architect Clem Cummings were recognised for their lasting mark on the character of the nation’s capital, receiving The Sir Roy Grounds Award for Enduring Architecture. With some 480 now located across the bush city, the Jury noted, “The architectural integrity and enduring quality of the design is evident through its simplicity, functionality, and materiality.”

Little Loft House by Light House Architecture and Science was among the most highly-awarded projects receiving both The Gene Willsford Award for Residential Architecture (Alterations & Additions) and The Derek Wrigley Award for Sustainable Architecture. Working from a modest budget, the Jury noted how this project “exemplifies the skill of the architect to transform a dark and unremarkable home into one that feels contemporary and light-filled.” Importantly, the Jury notes that it “promotes the application of practical energy efficiency measures to a common building typology synonymous with poor performance” resulting in “energy savings of up to 80% of that of the typical Canberra home.”

In the same Sustainable Architecture category and also by Light House Architecture and Science, Pettit & Sevitt Revival received a commendation for illustrating how, “The salvage and re-use of much of the existing building fabric demonstrates that thermal comfort and energy efficiency can be achieved without a price to Canberra’s architectural heritage.”

Ben Walker Architects won an award in the Residential Architecture – Houses (New) category for SL House in Aranda as well as a commendation for Narrabundah House. Townsend + Associates Architects were also multi-award winners with Mass House #4 receiving a commendation in this category as well as winning the COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture.

Jacka Crescent Townhouses CO-AP (Architects) was awarded The Sydney Ancher Award for Residential Architecture-Multiple Housing, also winning The Robert Foster Award for Light in Architecture. These three, split-level homes sited on a sloping block in Campbell earned the Jury’s praised for “a delightfully sophisticated multi residential product.”

Burgmann Anglican School – Early Learning Centre by COX Architecture won both The W. Hayward Morris Award for Interior Architecture and a commendation in the Educational Architecture category. Also in that category, the Jury awarded a commendation to The Australian National University: Research School of Social Sciences by Hassell.  Capital Brewing Company Airport Taproom by Craig Tan Architects also won an award in the Interior Architecture category, with the University of Canberra – Our Space 5C Fit-Out by COX Architecture receiving a commendation.

The ACT Government’s new office building, Northbourne Avenue by Bates Smart won The John Andrews Award for Commercial Architecture for its role marking, “the regeneration of both the Dickson precinct and Northbourne Avenue corridor.” Brindabella Carpark 9 by Guida Moseley Brown Architects received a commendation in this category with the Jury saying, “The use of convex and concave curved screens with varying perforations to conceal the cars represents a masterful exercise in detailed façade composition.”

In the Public Architecture category both Winnunga Nimmityjah AHCS New Health and Community Facility by Judd.studio and Stromlo Leisure Centre by COX Architecture received commendations. Both projects promote well-being with the Jury saying the health facility design “is a commendable expression of Winnunga’s client-centric approach to healthcare, and is a realisation of the community’s aspirations for a distinct facility that celebrates Aboriginal peoples.

Murmuration – Art Installation by Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn won The Pamille Berg Award for Art in Architecture for what the Jury applauded as “an example of public art that brings significant value to its immediate setting through active engagement with the site and those who move through it.”

Verity Lane Market by Mather Architecture received a commendation for Heritage Architecture with the Jury lauding it as “a fine example of how architectural practice can reimagine redundant commercial spaces by celebrating their heritage values, to provide new and exciting contemporary enterprises.”

In the Urban Design category, Kingsborough Village by COX Architecture received a commendation for what the Jury described as “A fine layering of scaled landscape and built elements humanise the space while the variety in viewpoints makes for excellent ‘people watching’.”

The Australian Institute of Architects Awards program offers an opportunity for public and peer recognition of the innovative work of architects. The program also provides the Institute with a valuable mechanism to promote architects and architecture across Australia and internationally.

2021 ACT Architecture Award Winners

The Named Award in bold is the highest award in each category.

Art in Architecture | The Pamille Berg Award for Art in Architecture

  • Murmuration – Art Installation | Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn Commercial Architecture | Award

Commercial Architecture

  • Northbourne Avenue | Bates Smart | The John Andrews Award for Commercial Architecture
  • Brindabella Carpark 9 | Guida Moseley Brown Architects | Commendation

COLORBOND Award for Steel Architecture

  • Mass House #4 | Townsend + Associates Architects | Award

Educational Architecture

  • Burgmann Anglican School – Early Learning Centre | COX Architecture | Commendation
  • The Australian National University: Research School of Social Sciences | Hassell | Commendation

Enduring Architecture

  • Canberra’s Concrete Bus Shelters, 1975–1995 | Clem Cummings | The Sir Roy Grounds Award for Enduring Architecture

Heritage Architecture

  • Verity Lane Market | Mather Architecture | Commendation

Interior Architecture

  • Burgmann Anglican School – Early Learning Centre | Cox Architecture | The W. Hayward Morris Award for Interior Architecture
  • Capital Brewing Company Airport Taproom | Craig Tan Architects | Award
  • University of Canberra – Our Space 5C Fitout | Cox Architecture | Commendation

Light in Architecture I The Robert Foster Award for Light in Architecture

  • Jacka Crescent Townhouses | CO-AP (Architects) | Award

Public Architecture

  • Winnunga Nimmityjah AHCS New Health and Community Facility | JUDD.studio | Commendation
  • Stromlo Leisure Centre | COX Architecture | Commendation

Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)

  • Little Loft House | Light House Architecture and Science | The Gene Willsford Award for Residential Architecture (Alterations & Additions)

Residential Architecture – Houses (New)

  • House for Hiroko | Anthony Knobel Architect | Canberra Medallion and The Malcolm Moir and Heather Sutherland Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
  • SL House | Ben Walker Architects Pty Ltd | Award
  • Narrabundah House | Ben Walker Architects Pty Ltd | Commendation
  • Mass House #4 | Townsend + Associates Architects | Commendation

Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing

  • Jacka Crescent Townhouses | CO-AP (Architects) | The Sydney Ancher Award for Residential Architecture-Multiple Housing

Sustainable Architecture

  • Little Loft House | Light House Architecture and Science | The Derek Wrigley Award for Sustainable Architecture
  • Pettit and Sevitt Revival | Light House Architecture & Science | Commendation

Urban Design

  • Kingsborough Village | Cox Architecture | Commendation