2024 Newcastle Medal Winner | Maitland Administration Centre | Maitland City Council, BVN, PTW and EJE | Photographer: Ben Guthrie
The Hunter Valley’s Maitland Administration Centre has taken out the region’s top architecture award for its “masterful testament” to harmony, historical continuity and functional excellence.
A collaboration between the Maitland City Council and practices BVN, PTW and EJE designed the centre for the growing local government area, creating an exceptional addition with natural light and public access that also preserves the city’s rich built environment history.
In awarding the Newcastle Architectural Medal, the jury noted the graceful simplicity of the form that resonates with the surrounding High Street.
“The Maitland Administration Centre is a masterful testament to the principles of architectural harmony, historical continuity, and functional excellence,” the jury said. “It is a beacon of architectural prowess, redefining the city’s civic identity. The jury wholeheartedly awards it for its exceptional contribution to the built environment and its respect for Maitland’s history and future.”
The Newcastle Architecture Awards promote high-level design excellence in the Newcastle and Central Coast communities, and celebrate local excellence.
Twenty-two projects across nine categories were awarded, as well as the named COLORBOND® Steel Architecture awards.
SHAC’s St Patrick’s Primary School Lochinvar won the COLORBOND® Award in Steel Architecture and the Educational Architecture Award for its masterplanned design evoking a three-leaf clover.
The jury said the award recognised the transformation of the educational institution into a flourishing haven for learning. “The design philosophy, characterised by its modest yet purposeful structures, demonstrates the art of doing more with less,” the jury said. “A careful clustering of buildings has not only redefined the school’s identity but also fostered an environment conducive to innovative teaching and collaborative learning.”
In the residential categories, Aru House by Curious Practice and Karen’s Place from Studio Dot were both awarded for in the Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions) division.
“Aru House is proof of architecture’s capacity to elevate human experience, melding quality, craft, and innovation to instill joy, delight, and a profound sense of place,” the jury said. “It is with great enthusiasm that we celebrate Aru House as a beacon of architectural excellence and an exemplar of the transformative power of design.”
Likewise, Karen’s House was lauded as an exceptional and meticulous transformation of a heritage terrace house.
“The reuse of 10,000 salvaged bricks, along with the incorporation of convict bricks with unique markings, tells a compelling narrative of heritage preservation and familial connection, “ the jury said.
For new houses, the Olive Tree House from Bastian Architecture devised a comfortable family home on a block that is half the average standard size. “Despite the modest building footprint, the living spaces feel dynamic and generous due to the courtyard arrangement and connections to the broader landscape,” the jury said. “Careful internal planning and inventive details ensure that every square metre is working hard.”
The Multiple Housing Award was won by Curious Practice for its Maggie Street urban infill development of four stand-alone sustainable homes. They are all electric, powered by solar, and drawing on water tanks. “These sustainable principles embedded within its fabric will set new standards for this typology,” the jury said. “The robust materials consider end-of-life recyclability and reduce maintenance.”
Curious Practice also won the Small Project Architecture Award for its 41sqm floating-roofed living pod, Princes Studio. “This freestanding studio is an inspiring example of design excellence being combined with affordable and sustainable construction practices, to create a delightful living experience for a young family.”
Award-winners will now progress to the 2024 NSW awards.
2024 Newcastle Architecture Awards
- Maitland Administration Centre – Maitland City Council, BVN, PTW and EJE
COLORBOND® Commendation in Steel Architecture
- Maggie Street – Curious Practice
COLORBOND® Award in Steel Architecture
- St Patrick’s Primary School Lochinvar – SHAC
- Maitland Administration Centre – Maitland City Council, BVN, PTW and EJE – Award
- St Patrick’s Primary School Lochinvar – SHAC – Award
- Nissen Hut – Nimbus Architecture + Heritage Pty Ltd – Commendation
- QT Hotel Newcastle – SJB – Commendation
- Olive Tree House – Bastian Architecture – Commendation
- Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre – BKA Architecture – Commendation
Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)
- Aru House – Curious Practice – Award
- Karen’s Place – Studio Dot – Award
Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
- Olive Tree House – Bastian Architecture – Award
- 10/30 House – Matt Thitchener Architect – Commendation
- Karuah River Retreat – SHAC – Commendation
Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
- Maggie Street – Curious Practice – Award
- Dent Street Double – Curious Practice – Commendation
- Huntington – SJB – Commendation
Small Project Architecture
- Princes Studio – Curious Practice – Award