Top new buildings up top: 2021 Northern Territory Architecture Awards announced

The George Brown Botanic Gardens Visitor and Event Centre by Hully Liveris Design Company has topped the 2021 Northern Territory Architecture Awards. The project was awarded the Reverend John Flynn Award for Public Architecture and the prestigious Tracy Memorial Award, given to the best building of the year, during the YouTube live stream ceremony on Friday 25 June.

An exemplary work of public architecture, the Visitor and Event Centre explores the potential of Darwin’s climate adopting the form of an elongated tropical longhouse pavilion. A generous space meanders along the length of the building connecting a series of spaces housing an interpretive visitor centre, small retail outlet, event space and support amenities.

The jury commended the project for its clever design that engages with the natural landscape and for its important contribution to the community.

They commented: ‘The Visitor and Event Centre is a legacy building providing a benchmark for future public buildings in the Northern Territory. This project is a very worthy recipient of the Tracy Memorial Award”.

The NT Architecture Awards is run by the Australian Institute of Architects. All winners were selected by independent juries. All Named Award and Chapter Award winners will now progress to the 2021 National Architecture Awards held later this year.

List of winners:

The Tracy Memorial Award & Reverend John Flynn Award for Public Architecture | Hully Liveris Design Company | The George Brown Botanic Gardens Visitor and Event Centre

Jury comments: ‘The centre has been carefully sited within the Gardens at the base of Frangipani Hill, which forms a natural gathering place providing high visibility and accessibility. The building form engages with the landscape creating long vistas towards the lilypond and fountain as well as framing view through the building towards a new amphitheatre created on Frangipani Hill.’

The Colorbond® Steel Award | In4D Design | Malabar Apartments

Jury comments: ‘The jury found the project’s application of Colorbond to be highly commendable providing a good environment outcome by improving the insulation and energy performance of the building skin as well as reducing life cycle costs for the development and its occupants.’

Chapter Award for Public Architecture | Sue Dugdale and Associates with Architectus | Refurbishment of the Alice Springs Courthouse

Jury comments: ‘The architecture has created a safer and more empowering experience for victims and vulnerable witnesses through the inclusion of a separate discrete building entrance, trauma informed rooms for the option of giving evidence via video and the creation of specialised court rooms for domestic violence and youth justice proceedings. This is a considered piece of public architecture, which has resolved a complex brief and facilitated a more dignified, accessible and safer court experience.’

The Peter Dermoudy Award for Commercial Architecture | Sissons | Manunda Place

Jury comments: “Manunda Place is a confident, restrained piece of architecture whose success lies not in grand gestures but in getting the fundamentals of good design and place making right and provides a new benchmark for future Northern Territory commercial architecture.’

Commendation for Educational Architecture | Ashford Group Pty Ltd and Schapel Interiors | Casuarina Senior College Library Refurbishment

Jury comments:The centre incorporates a variety of learning environments including collaborative; informal and independent study spaces. The project is to be commended for delivering a significant educational benefit for a modest intervention and budget.’

The People’s Choice Award | Ashford Group Pty Ltd and Schapel Interiors | Casuarina Senior College Library Refurbishment

 Raquel Nicholls-Skene, Executive Director of the Institute’s NT Chapter, commented: “The Casuarina Senior College Library Refurbishment has transformed a tired underutilised Library space into a new Resource Centre and was the overall winner of the People’s Choice vote.’

Other Awards presented on the evening included:

Student Award | Isabella Wynveld | presented for student with highest honours in Architecture and Design

President’s Award | Ken Suter, Charles Darwin University | for commitment to architecture in the Northern Territory

Fellow’s Certificate | Jenny Culgan