Bold designs, innovations in sustainability, adaptive re-use the big winners in NSW architecture awards

The state’s most outstanding architectural projects are being celebrated with the announcement of the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2021 NSW Architecture Award winners.

Drawn from a total of 299 entries across 13 categories, the most highly awarded projects this year share common attributes that really stand out among a highly competitive field, according to NSW Chair of Juries, Peter Mould.

“Architects in NSW continue to address the challenges of climate change through sustainable and innovative design,” Mr Mould said.

“Many of the awarded projects are existing buildings that have been adapted for new uses or had existing uses reinvigorated. This sustainably captures all the embodied energy and craft from the past as well as retaining their important contribution to local urban character.

“We’ve also seen many projects having multiple authors with architects working in collaboration to deliver large and complex projects.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance public spaces and venues and it is good to see so many public projects awarded this year.”

NSW Chapter President, Laura Cockburn, congratulated all award recipients on their extraordinary contribution to improving the community’s experience of the built environment.

“The very nimble, deeply considered design responses showcased tonight speak to a profession committed to delivering the best outcomes for the people across our state who interact daily with these award-winning projects,” Ms Cockburn said.

One of the night’s most highly awarded projects, Smart Design Studio, was cited as a stand-out example of the practice using its own headquarters to make, test, model and prototype new ideas, structures, technology and compositions. It received two of the highest honours: The Sir Arthur G Stephenson Award for Commercial Architecture and The Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture, as well as an Interior Architecture Award.

The Australian Museum Project Discover by Neeson Murcutt and Neille in collaboration with Cox Architecture also received the highest honour in two categories, The Greenway Award for Heritage and The John Verge Award for Interior Architecture, as well as being awarded the NSW Architecture Medallion. The Jury cited the “highly strategic” design which “reveals a new way to experience the nation’s first museum”.

In a further example of outstanding public-facing architecture, Sub Base Platypus by lahznimmo architects and Aspect Studios received The Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design together with an Award for Heritage – Creative Adaptation. The transformation of this former submarine base has enabled its reopening after having been closed to the public for more than 150 years. The Jury said, “the unmitigated success of this project has been the strong linkages created between the site, neighbouring streets and North Sydney Ferry Wharf.”

The iconic MLC Building by Bates Smart & McCutcheon received the award for Enduring Architecture. A long-running advocacy campaign by the Institute helped secure NSW State Heritage Register listing for what was North Sydney’s first high-rise, opened by Prime Minister Robert Menzies on 22 August 1957.

The city’s heritage was further celebrated with the Sydney Theatre Company project by Hassell receiving The Sulman Medal for Public Architecture for what the Jury called “an unqualified success, an entirely new facility that provides vastly improved experiences for artists, workers and visitors while at the same time being a stunningly beautiful piece of architecture brilliantly articulating the building’s maritime past and theatrical future.”

In Albury, Plastic Palace by Raffaello Rosselli Architects won The Robert Woodward Award for Small Project Architecture and a commendation for Sustainable Architecture with the Jury emphasising the “extraordinary level of experimentation and innovation” which demonstrates “the role that architecture can play in addressing wider social issues.”

Barker College Rosewood Centre by Neeson Murcutt and Neille received The William E Kemp Award for Educational Architecture with the sports facility in Hornsby described by the Jury as “grounded in Country” where “celebration of place and movement is the heart.” The Jury says, “Socially conscious, the Rosewood Centre is founded on Indigenous and community awareness, celebrating all participants and every activity.”

The highly competitive residential categories continued the theme of heritage revitalisation.

The Hat Factory by Welsh & Major won The Hugh and Eva Buhrich Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions) for what the Jury described as “an outstanding example of adaptive reuse of a dilapidated warehouse that has played a diverse role in the industrial and social life of the area”.

The Wilkinson Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) was awarded to Pearl Beach House by Polly Harbison Design celebrated as “the realisation of the clients’ dream, to build a bespoke, concrete sculpture in the bush, on a budget that demanded creative solutions.” The Jury commended what was “a masterful manipulation of the tension between severe, hard materials and finely-crafted detailing that transcends what might otherwise be cold and brutal.”

Newmarket Eastern Precinct in Randwick by Bates Smart and Smart Design Studio won The Aaron Bolot Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing with the jury saying, “both in the design and the process Newmarket is exemplary in showing how we might live well in the city.”

Alexander Symes of Alexander Symes Architect was awarded this year’s NSW Emerging Architect Prize with the Jury noting how his practice has provided him with opportunities to “demonstrate best-practise sustainable design, while also advance sustainable architecture.” The Jury also commended Alex for his strong contribution to the Institute, where he has shared “his passion for sustainability through lectures, committees, and panels including working with other industry leaders on the Section J 2019 technical review. By participating in these activations and reviews, he not only advocates for the strengthening of sustainability but shares his wealth of knowledge with future generations to come.”

2021 NSW Architecture Awards Winners

Blacket Prize

 

Rocky Hill Memorial MuseumCrone with Urbis

 

COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture

 

COLORBOND® Award for Steel ArchitectureMaitland Athletics ComplexMaitland City Council with Studio Dot

 

Commercial Architecture

 

The Sir Arthur G Stephenson Award for Commercial ArchitectureSmart Design StudioSmart Design Studio
Architecture AwardLittle National HotelBates Smart
Architecture AwardWorkshop, 21 Harris StreetBates Smart
CommendationBMW + MiniSJB
CommendationStone and Wood BreweryHarley Graham Architects

 

Educational Architecture

 

The William E Kemp Award for Educational ArchitectureBarker College Rosewood CentreNeeson Murcutt and Neille
Architecture AwardAinsworth Building, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Macquarie UniversityArchitectus
CommendationThe Athenaeum WenonaTonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
CommendationThe Women’s College
Sibyl Centre Sydney Uni
M3 Architecture

 

Emerging Architect Prize

 

Alexander SymesAlexander Symes Architect

 

Enduring Architecture

 

Architecture AwardMLC Building, North SydneyBates Smart & McCutcheon

 

Heritage Architecture

 

The Greenway Award for HeritageAustralian Museum Project DiscoverNeeson Murcutt and Neille, Cox Architecture
Award for Heritage – Creative Adaptation (NSW)Sub Base Platypuslahznimmon architects and Aspect Studios
Award for Heritage – Conservation (NSW)Reid HouseHector Abrahams Architects
Award for Heritage – Conservation (NSW)58 Carr StreetMcGregor Westlake Architecture
Commendation for Heritage – Creative Adaptation (NSW)Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and IdeasTzannes
Commendation for Heritage – Conservation (NSW)The Lowy BuildingHector Abrahams Architects
Commendation for Heritage – Conservation (NSW)SRG HouseFox Johnston

 

Interior Architecture

 

The John Verge Award for Interior ArchitectureAustralian Museum Project DiscoverNeeson Murcutt and Neille, Cox Architecture, and Orwell and Peter Phillips
Architecture AwardSmart Design StudioSmart Design Studio
Architecture AwardCarpe Diem CompanionwayCollins and Turner with Geyer
CommendationBarker College Rosewood CentreNeeson Murcutt + Neille
CommendationYallmundi RoomsTonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
CommendationArbutusSmart Design Studio
CommendationPorous HousePossible Studio
CommendationContemplation HouseVirginia Kerridge Architect

 

Lord Mayor’s Prize

 

WaterfallSJB
Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation CentreAndrew Burges Architects and Grimshaw with TCL in collaboration with the City of Sydney

 

Public Architecture

 

The Sulman Medal for Public ArchitectureSydney Theatre CompanyHassell Studio
Architecture AwardGunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation CentreAndrew Burges Architects and Grimshaw with TCL in collaboration with the City of Sydney
Architecture AwardMaitland Athletics Complex 
CommendationRocky Hill Memorial MuseumCrone with Urbis

 

Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)

 

The Hugh and Eva Buhrich Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)Hat FactoryWelsh & Major
Architecture AwardBirchgrove HouseTonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
Architecture AwardSRG HouseFox Johnson
Architecture AwardRiley’s TerraceAdele Mcnab Architect
Architecture AwardLenaSmart Design Studio
CommendationSmash Repair HouseMatt Elkan
CommendationVilla VillekullaVirginia Kerriage
CommendationHouse FitPanov Scott

 

Residential Architecture – Houses (New)

 

The Wilkinson Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)Pearl Beach HousePolly Harbison Design
Architecture AwardBunkerenJames Stockwell Architect
Architecture AwardNight SkyPeter Stutchbury Architecture
Architecture AwardFederal HouseEdition Office
CommendationOff Grid FZ HouseAnderson Architecture
CommendationMystery Bay HouseJack Hawkins Architect with Rob Hawkins
CommendationCobargo Santa ProjectBreathe
CommendationHouse Ngaio Palm BeachDurbach Block Jaggers Architects
CommendationContemplation HouseVirginia Kerridge Architect

 

Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing

 

The Aaron Bolot Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple HousingNewmarket Eastern PrecinctBates Smart and Smart Design Studio
Architecture AwardArkadiaDKO Architecture with Breathe Architecture and Oculus
Architecture AwardHarbord Diggers Club RedevelopmentArchitectus + CHROFI + JMD Design
Commendation249 Darlinghurst RoadSJB
CommendationFoamcrest ApartmentsRichard Cole Architecture
CommendationTeracotaBennett Murada Architects
CommendationLlandaff St ApartmentsHill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects with McGregor Westlake Architects

 

Small Project Architecture

 

The Robert Woodward Award for Small Project ArchitecturePlastic PalaceRaffaello Rosselli
Architecture AwardBroken CampAtelier Luke
CommendationNicholas Galleries, Chau Chak Wing galleryStudioPlusThree
CommendationWattamolla amenitiesConnybear Morrison

 

Sustainable Architecture

 

The Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable ArchitectureSmart Design StudioSmart Design Studio
Architecture AwardCobargo Santa ProjectBreathe Architecture
Architecture AwardNight SkyPeter Stutchbury Architecture
CommendationPlastic PalaceRaffaello Rosselli
CommendationFERN Passivhaus ApartmentsSteele Associates Architects
CommendationPorous HousePossible Studio
CommendationMinimaTrias
CommendationCourtyard HouseChrofi

 

Urban Design

 

The Lloyd Rees Award for Urban DesignSub Base Platypuslahznimmon architects and Aspect Studios
Architecture AwardHarbord Diggers Club RedevelopmentArchitectus + CHROFI + JMD Design
CommendationTaronga Zoo African SavannahTonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
CommendationPutney Hill Master Plan and Residential DevelopmentCOX Architecture

 

NSW Architecture Medallion

 

Australian Museum Project DiscoverNeeson Murcutt and Neille, Cox Architecture