From Maryborough to Yeppoon Central Queensland celebrates Award-Winning Architecture

Exceptional architecture across Central Queensland was honoured at the Australian Institute of Architects Regional Awards ceremony in Rockhampton on Friday, 7 June. 

The Awards Jury celebrated the innovative and thoughtful work of architects, selected from multiple categories including Education, Commercial, and Interior Architecture. 

Gin Gin State High School received the biggest announcement of the night. Winning the top award, the new administration building cleverly balances the needs of staff, students, and the public.

Coffee lovers of Yeppoon can drink in the award-winning architecture of the Cocobrew Express Drive Thru. With a focus on both motorist and pedestrian experience, this is not an ordinary drive thru. 

Rounding out the awards night was Benevolent Living in Rockhampton, and the Maryborough Forge and Advanced Manufacturing Facility. Each project received Regional Commendations in their respective categories. 


Gin Gin State High School - New Administration Building | Giarola Architects | Photographer: Giarola Architects


Building of the Year for a bustling school community

Designed by Giarola Architects, the Gin Gin State High School – New Administration Building was chosen for the J W Wilson Award for Building of the Year. 

More than just an administrative hub, the building is now the main point of entry for the school community. A new foyer, reception, conference room, and staff area are flanked by green spaces and classrooms.  

The design has also improved access for vehicles and pedestrians. A curved rammed earth wall creates a substantial street presence and guides visitors to the entrance. The project is a great example of a public facility designed for multiple purposes, strengthening its relevance in the region. The jury commended the project as “a facility that addresses the needs of the broader school community”. The project also received a Regional Commendation for Educational Architecture.

The drive thru that will surprise you

Cocobrew Express Drive Thru by DESIGNANDARCHITECTURE has received Regional Project of the Year and a Regional Commendation for Commercial Architecture. Located on the outskirts of Yeppoon, the design of this new food and drink v4enue establishes itself as a prominent landmark. 

The design challenges conventional drive thru models. The unique roof – reaching 9m in height – eliminates the need for separate signage. The jury commented that the building itself becomes “the platform for the branding”.

Motorists are thoughtfully considered with easy vehicle movement and a streamlined ordering system. A screened ‘verandah’ transitions the steep roofline to a more human scale. There is also a dedicated walk-up window and seating area, for foot traffic from the nearby hospital and shops. 

Arts-themed aged-care facility is full of life

Benevolent Living Interiors, designed by Deicke Richards has received the People’s Choice Award and a Regional Commendation for Interior Architecture. This residential aged-care building for Rockhampton provides a bespoke supported living environment to a vibrant and connected community. 

As an alternative to traditional models, the design features light-filled living areas, self-serve kitchens and suites with space for couples to live together. The public is welcomed by an art gallery and café. While residents of the centre live among natural materials and a modern colour palette inspired by a curation of regional artists. 

The jury acknowledged the design as “successfully moving away from clinical environments, and towards a more social mode of living”.

Forging a bright new future for the region

The Maryborough Forge and Advanced Manufacturing Facility, designed by KIRK, has received a Regional Commendation for Commercial Architecture. The architects worked closely with staff and specialist equipment suppliers, to create a fully integrated and functional facility. The building itself is now an advantage in attracting and retaining staff.

Locally produced Mass Engineered Timber (MET) is a standout feature of the design, displaying a “depth of character and warmth uncommon to facilities of this type”. The jury continued, stating that the design is “an exemplar for sustainable industrial and office facilities, particularly in a regional context”.




All Commended projects have now been shortlisted for the Australian Institute of Architects’ Queensland Architecture Awards. The state awards will be judged and awarded in June 2024. 

Award-winning architects and clients are available for interview.  


For more information, images or detailed citations, please contact: 

Emma Hynes, Marketing & Communications Advisor at Lindy Johnson Creative. 

T + 61 438 071 028 |   


This form is now closed.