2022 ACT
Architecture
Awards Winners

2022 Canberra Medallion Winner, Enrico Taglietti Award for Educational Architecture, J S Murdoch Award for Heritage, W. Hayward Morris Award for Interior Architecture | ANU Birch Building Refurbishment | Hassell | Photographer: Mark Skye

2022 National Architecture Awards

2022 ACT Architecture Awards - results

The Australian Institute of Architects Awards program offers an opportunity for public and peer recognition of the innovative work of our ACT architects.

The program also provides the Institute with a valuable mechanism to promote architects and architecture within the Australian Capital Territory, across Australia and internationally.

Chapter Awards

Canberra Medallion

ANU Birch Building Refurbishment | Hassell

Jury citation:

Hassell is awarded the Canberra Medallion for the ANU Birch Building Refurbishment – a project of an exemplary standard. The work by Hassell on this significant and very large ANU building operates at the highest level in distinct ways:

  • restoration, celebration and interpretation of a significant heritage place demonstrating a detailed and thorough understanding of the importance of the building.
  • transformation of an interior to radically improve amenity, comfort, and energy use with a nuanced understanding of the full range of uses for the building.
  • provision of a setting which supports contemporary education and research with best-practice utility and a thorough understanding of human habitation and use.
  • establishment of an internal planning logic which is nurturing, legible, subtle, flexible, and relevant to contemporary use.

In providing these outcomes, each impressive on their own, the greatest achievement is the balancing of so many competing requirements into a singular, seamless whole. This is architecture which synthesises programmatic, aesthetic, technical and pedagogical requirements with consummate skill. It is a gift to the ANU which is not merely useful and beautiful but also poetic in that it captures the optimism of the establishment of the campus but also projects forward a positive and exciting future.

The Pamille Berg Award for Art in Architecture

Secret Garden House | CCJ Architects

Jury citation:

The Secret Garden House is a modest monocrete house that has been transformed into a delightful and comfortable home charged with a new lease on life.

Central to the client’s brief for the project were the requirements for repair and for retreat.

With the original house having succumbed to significant condensation issues, an ambition to repair without material removal of the original structure was mutually established. Reflecting adept ability, skilful detailing of the internal walls has resolved the underlying construction issues whilst judiciously retaining the integrity of both structure and building footprint. The more apparent aspects of the interior fitout – presenting as a series of enticingly subtle insertions – complete a revived interior in which every detail demonstrates astute consideration and restraint.

The architect’s approach to the provision of privacy is a true delight – a gesture as bold as it is quirky. Balancing concealment with connectivity, a timber screen, located to support a new entrance threshold, cloaks the length of the existing facade. Conceptually derived from one of the client’s own artworks, the screen has been designed to support a dynamic array of foliage – a (vertical) garden serving to not merely conceal, but to mediate light and view.

Deeply considered and highly responsive to the client’s needs, CCJ Architects has delivered an impressively clever and memorable project.

The Robert Foster Award for Light in Architecture

Blue Sky House | Rob Henry Architects

Jury citation:

Blue Sky House’s resourceful inversion of a standard roof truss has revealed an array of design opportunities that capture and deliver northern light, enhancing a key design move of connecting the dwelling with the south facing rear garden.

The high clerestory volume and light obtained in the new living room identify the key gesture of transition from the existing dwelling and highlight the prominence of a newly formed connection with the rear garden.

While lowered vertical partition joinery skilfully filters light through the multiple private bedroom spaces.

ACT President's Medal

Dr Melinda Dodson LFRAIA | Melinda Dodson Architects

Jury citation:

Dr Melinda Dodson is a research-driven architect who has dedicated her career to tackling pressing issues such as sustainable cities and climate change. Through architectural practice, industry participation and public advocacy, she remains passionately engaged with broader contemporary issues that inform quality, climate-wise environments.

Melinda is an active contributor to advisory panels, juries, boards and occasionally teaches. As an Institute Life Fellow, and member for over twenty-five years, she served as ACT then National President, running on a platform of sustainable cities and architectural equity. She strongly believes that sustainable cities and architecture holds the key to solving many of the frustrations of our cities. Research-informed design thinking has led to several competition-winning projects, and Melinda’s PhD focuses on sustainable house size and occupant satisfaction in Canberra. The research also assists in the development of strategies to reduce housing carbon emissions, set against the ACT 2045 net-zero targets.

In 2021, Melinda was the founder, research lead and exhibition curator of the Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge which is innovative local competition that showcases low carbon housing and their carbon footprints. Its aim is to help reduce housing carbon emissions by researching and sharing low carbon design features found in architect-designed houses. From net-zero ‘ex govies’ to affordable low carbon townhouses and everything in-between.

Her outstanding achievements include an award for sustainable materials use at Giralang School Hall, NEAT Housing Competition, NAWIC Outstanding Achievement in Construction Award, University of Canberra PhD Scholarship, American Institute of Architects President’s Medal and Australian Institute of Architects ACT Young Architect Prize.

Melinda embodies what it is to be a professional who acts in the public interest to improve outcomes for the community. Her career-long dedication to research and advocacy, sharing of knowledge with peers, the Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge, and delivery of outcomes to the public through events, exhibitions, and publications makes her an outstanding recipient of the ACT President’s Medal in 2022.

Emerging Architect Prize - ACT Chapter winner

Kate Shepherd | Rob Henry Architects

Jury citation:

The Emerging Architect Prize has been developed to recognise an individual emerging architect or architectural collaboration’s contribution to architectural practice, education, design excellence and community involvement, which advances the professions role within the public arena.

Kate has had an extraordinary career, demonstrating design excellence across the various scales of practice both domestically and internationally, including the recently awarded Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) award for design excellence for the Wolfson Centre with FJMT.

The knowledge she has gained through practice, Kate has applied and refined at both commercial and residential scales. She similarly shares and progresses her understanding of the industry through her teaching and mentoring positions, engagement with industry events and involvement in community organisations.

Kate has demonstrated incredible longevity, breadth, and depth in her commitment to the architectural and broader community through leadership in voluntary community boards, SONA, EMAGN and most recently on Chapter Council in the equity and diversity portfolio as well as the planning portfolio. In addition to these roles, she has supported the industry through her contribution to system reform and registration processes with the AACA, and UK Generation 4 Change (G4C). Kate also continually advocates for the profession through numerous forums including publications, contribution to numerous conferences, events and festivals, as well as through not-for-profit volunteering in Timor Leste and Canal San Bovo – Italy.

Kate’s bio states that “As practicing architects, we not only hold the responsibility to achieve professional excellence through our contribution to the sustainability of the industry, but also to invest in the development of the built environment and future generations.”

Kate Shepherd exemplifies what it means to be an “Architect in society” as our immediate past president Tony Giannone has so passionately advocated for.

Clem Cummings Medal

Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge

Jury citation:

First launched in 2021, the Carbon Low Carbon Housing Challenge (CLCHC) is an innovative local competition which showcases low carbon housing and their carbon footprints. Its aim is to help reduce housing carbon emissions by researching and sharing low carbon design features found in architect-designed houses. From net-zero ‘ex govies’ to affordable low carbon townhouses and everything in-between.

Open initially to Canberra architects, who lifecycle-model a variety of constructed or near-constructed low carbon houses using proprietary RapidLCA software by eTool, the Challenge is developing into a broader advocacy and education initiative with government, architects, and homeowners all benefitting from its outcomes.

The Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge Team consists of Dr Melinda Dodson, Founder, Research Lead and Exhibition Curator; Rob Henry, Competition Organiser and Jury Chair – Rob Henry Architects; and David Clarke, Competition Organiser and Registrar – Tallowwood Architecture and MECLA Member, and many other supporters within the ACT including the Australian Institute of Architects, University of Canberra and the Alastair Swayn Foundation who are keen to see the Challenge gain greater momentum.

The CLCHC research program is an extension on Melinda’s PhD research which focused on sustainable house size and occupant satisfaction, offering strategies to reduce housing carbon emissions (C02e) set against the ACT 2045 net-zero targets (Steffen 2019). In the first year of the Competition, the carbon architects saved equates to planting more than 67,000 trees.

The Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge Team is to be commended for its public outreach through the Competition and digital and face to face public exhibitions demonstrating how low carbon housing can be achieved and for its continuing education of the profession on how to use carbon modelling in practice. The CLCHC has achieved excellent results in its short life and has already developed an ambitious program of research projects, peer education and exhibitions to extend the single housing reach as well as expand further into multi-dwelling typologies.

The CLCHC Team’s contribution to architecture in the public interest makes them a worthy recipient of the 2022 Clem Cummings Medal.

ACT Architecture Professional Practitioner Award

Russell Pfitz RAIA | GHDWoodhead

Jury citation:

The Jury awards Russell Pfitz the 2022 ACT Architecture Professional Practice Award for his exemplary skills in the professional practice of architecture over his career of 30 years. Through his work at GHD Woodhead, Russell has showed excellence in documentation and construction phase services, client leadership, design development and team management.

Russell’s career encompasses some of the most complex industrial architecture at the nexus of architecture and technology like water and power infrastructure, Defence and police infrastructure including live fire simulation and training facilities. His work also includes embassies, consulates, and federally funded pacific infrastructure. He has significant heritage and technical expertise in public buildings including almost every significant piece of architecture in the parliamentary triangle to resolve complex technical issues like marble façade restoration, copper roof replacement, asbestos remediation and one of the most complex of architectural challenges – waterproofing and membrane failure. His technically focused heritage work ensures that our significant architecture endures for future generations to come.

Russell has an unwavering passion for technical detail to deliver robustness and longevity incorporating heritage contexts and resolution of watertightness using a sustainable approach as well as keeping human life safety at the forefront of decision making.

Russell is well regarded for his forensic analysis of detailing, and his eagerness to educate others to expect issues and find solutions, to learn fundamentals, understand concepts from first principles and work smarter through BIM. This knowledge, gifted to him from teachers and mentors, he passes on to the next generation through graduate mentoring, but also technical advice to other senior architects, engineering disciplines, project managers and clients.

Russell says, “People never notice the details until they fail”. He is highly respected by clients and peers for his exceptional capacity and ability as an architect who is critically focused on the technical aspects of materials, fixings, and detail to solve bespoke, high quality and long-lasting solutions. The jury believes that Russell Pfitz exemplifies the qualities that registered architects provide to their clients with technical competency and professional expertise to deliver the enduring architectural fabric of our cities.

As practitioners, we recognize that great architecture relies on the technical resolution of a myriad of competing agendas from the brief to design development and technical detailing to budgetary and time constraints to ultimately deliver design and building quality, sustainability and longevity. It is especially important for the future of our profession that we acknowledge the technical ability and dedicated commitment that Architects like Russell Pfitz show and indeed deliver for our community.

 

Emagn (Emerging Architects and Graduate Network) Project Award - Chapter winner

Scissor House | Owen David Architecture

Jury citation:

The successful architectural outcome of Scissor House by a sole practitioner in the EmAGN demographic is built evidence of leadership and substantial professional development gained by Owen Abbott.

The delivery of the project enabled Owen to shape his approach to architectural practice in a variety of circumstances. Design communication between client and architect was refined by developing a clarity and efficiency of presentation style. Quality assurance processes were in place to aid the client’s comprehension and management of quantity and cost allowances.

Owen’s commitment to clear documentation of project communication ensured collaboration between client, builder and consultants was improved and benefited the progression of the works for all parties. This was further demonstrated by on-site involvement during construction where Owen was able to effectively identify, instruct and coordinate solutions to ensure both architectural and client design intent were achieved.

Owen’s contribution to all aspects of design, documentation and procurement of Scissor House has resulted in a delightful collection of carefully integrated architectural additions both internal and external, culminating in a cohesive extension of a modest home that preserves future site adaptation and flexibility for its owners.

COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture

Finn Street House | Ben Walker Architects

Jury citation:

Articulated from the streetscape as a sculpturally fluid addition to an existing Tocumwal Cottage, Finn Street house extensively demonstrates the versatility and potential of steel in residential architecture, from use as an expressive structure to intricate and highly crafted interior detail elements.

Structurally, steel is used to achieve the primary loft volume that in turn projects the upper floor northerly, providing the ground floor glazing with summer shading as well as external coverage for outdoor use.

Externally, steel framed timber batten screening en-masse is used to convey the hovering carved expression and form of the upper floor loft. This is further articulated by a series of operable screen elements that were carefully coordinated with the fabricator, extending to custom built mechanisms enabling precise control between shading and privacy. Where views from the loft overlook rooftops, COLORBOND® roofing was chosen to ensure a holistic and lasting appearance consistent with other steel detail elements was achieved.

Internally, a variety of highly precise steel elements convey an appreciation of a hand-crafted construction process and skilful architectural detailing. Additionally, these tactile elements such as kitchen benchtops and stair mesh balustrades synchronize the architectural intent throughout the project.

Commercial Architecture

The John Andrews Award for Commercial Architecture

Constitution Place | Bates Smart

Jury citation:

Bates Smart is awarded the John Andrews Award for Commercial Architecture for Constitution Place. Constitution Place is an architectural composition that skilfully plays an assured role in the Canberra architectural narrative: a composition that includes reflection on the city’s Griffin legacy and confidently carries a new character into the future.

Bates Smart has managed and intertwined the multiple responsibilities carried by this site into a work of contextual balance. The taller more formal commercial building on Constitution Avenue is the architectural equivalent of a superbly tailored suit.

The building to London Circuit responds to a different solar orientation and context as expressed through lower height, lighter colour, varied grids, textures, and reflectivity as it follows the curved London Circuit frontage. The facade facing the heritage Legislative Assembly building is scaled to its civic function and incorporates a colonnade and gridded masonry expression that references Canberra’s mid-century architectural exemplars.

Fundamental to the composition is the diagonal ‘eat street’ positioned at the development’s core. Eating, entertainment and service opportunities that exist symbiotically with the host buildings, the adjacent theatre and civic precincts, ensure a vibrant, socially sustainable and enduring contribution to the civic and municipal heart of Canberra.

Educational Architecture

The Enrico Taglietti Award for Educational Architecture

ANU Birch Building Refurbishment | Hassell

Jury citation:

Hassell is awarded the Enrico Taglietti Award for Educational Architecture for the refurbishment of the Birch Building at ANU. The work by Hassell on this significant and very large ANU building has restored and celebrated its significant heritage and transformed its amenity, comfort and energy use Most importantly for this category however, Hassell has radically changed the ability of the building to support best-practice education and research in a highly effective and thoroughly contemporary setting.

Hassell has demonstrated a detailed understanding of the client’s requirements for this building, evident in the variety and specificity of the program which includes highly serviced laboratories with demanding technical requirements. Most impressively, the program was developed without the benefit of briefing from established user groups as the Research School of Aeronautical, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and the School of Cybernetics established curriculum and academic staff parallel to the design process. In response, the resulting spaces are observably diverse, flexible, and adaptable whilst maintaining rigour and visual cohesion.

The nuanced nature of best-practice pedagogical architecture is strongly evident. Spaces are useful, technical and practical but they are designed with people in mind. All tasks are provided for, all personality types accommodated. There is intensity and respite and consideration of culture and collegiality. This is exemplary educational architecture.

Award for Educational Architecture

Morison Centre | Stewart Architecture

Jury citation:

Radford College’s Morison Centre achieves beyond itself to contribute valuable public and cultural benefit to the campus.

Situated at the heart of the campus, the Morison Centre is both derived from and informs the school’s learning and teaching imperatives. The dialogue between the building and its context is distinctly perceptible, with a deft approach to topography, scale, and ‘journey’ serving to both integrate and enhance.

The skilful resolution of movement throughout the project is noteworthy. Externally, a prominent northern colonnade provides enhanced pedestrian connectivity across the campus, both promoting and celebrating a new nexus between the junior and secondary schools. Fundamental to the contextual response, the colonnade expertly mediates the connection between built form and the Common; a beautiful native landscape and a deeply significant place of gathering. Internally, generous vertical circulation cores, cleverly located at either end of the building, liberate the interior and provide space for incidental encounter. The internal spatial and organisational structure is inherently collaborative and flexible, with breakout spaces and informal learning spaces offering students, staff and the community a vibrant environment for interaction and exchange.

Stewart Architecture has produced a project that is rational yet confident – a assured architecture that will endure.

Enduring Architecture

The Sir Roy Grounds Award for Enduring Architecture

Manning Clark House | Robin Boyd

Jury citation:

Robin Boyd – Designed – 1952; Constructed – 1953

69 years after its completion Manning Clark House remains remarkably intact and embodies many design features which were innovative for its time, but are now accepted as sound design and sustainable features for modern houses.

The site was selected by Manning Clark in 1951 shortly after arriving in Canberra to take up a position in the History Department at Australian National University. The house was designed in 1952 with construction completed in 1953.

The house
The house is sited along the high side of a north sloping block, taking advantage of the north aspect and outlook to the well laid out garden. The house is of simple masonry construction, with bagged walls painted light grey with charcoal trim, timber framed windows and metal deck roof.

Two separate parallel wings divide the living and sleeping areas, which are connected by a glass walled passage and entrance. Either side of this passage is a courtyard, one facing north and the other (the main entrance) facing south. The walls of the south courtyard are brick grills, screening the windows of the bathroom on one side and the laundry on the other.

Positioned over the entrance is the study, which meets Manning Clark’s original requirements for an isolated work area. Access to the study is by a very steep flight of steps. The study contains a large portion of Manning Clark’s extensive library and is a significant element of the house.

The living room, study and two bedrooms face north and have an outlook through big windows shielded by white louvred eaves. The living area incorporates the dining room and kitchen under the pitched roof which slopes upwards, following the stepped-up level of the kitchen and adjacent laundry and utility room. The exposed beams of the ceiling were originally painted white against a galah pink ceiling, while the unplastered brick walls were painted grey.

The grounds
The garden was designed and created by Dymphna and Manning Clark, with the assistance of their family. It may be divided into three distinct, yet related areas including the vegetable patch and chook shed, the garden between the house and Tasmania Circle and the terraced lawns below the house which finish at the japonica hedge, and which is overlooked by the study.

The two courtyards created by the peninsula of the house are each softened by their own distinctive climbers. The courtyard facing the entrance of the house features the ornamental grape (Vitis alicante), and the courtyard onto which Manning Clark’s study looked, is framed by wisteria.

Layout
Boyd’s placing of the house pavilions and ancillary buildings along the site contours helped to minimise site disturbance through earthworks but it did result in some intriguing spaces relating to the house. One such issue lead to the early change of the original garage for its intended purpose and the installation of the carport.

Furniture and objects
Manning Clark House contains a substantial number of objects from its period of occupation by Manning and Dymphna Clark and their family. These range from furniture and other household objects to artworks, books and documents. This remains a part of the functional house.

This is a modest house designed by eminent Australian architect Robin Boyd for an eminent Australian historian Manning Clark and his 6 children in the 1950s incorporated northern orientation with substantial glass to the north making it solar passive. It integrates well with the landscape and functions well despite the size of the family.

The quality of design has meant few changes over the life of the house with original finishes, colours and even most of the kitchen remaining. Clever ideas such as the sliding door between the dining and living spaces improve functionality enormously.

This house was ahead of its period and remains a quality design and illustrates the fact that quality architecture is enduring and Manning Clark House is a worthy winner in 2022.

Heritage Architecture

The J S Murdoch Award for Heritage

ANU Birch Building Refurbishment | Hassell

Jury citation:

Hassell is awarded the J S Murdoch Award for Heritage Architecture for the refurbishment of the Birch Building at ANU. It is clear the architects took the heritage significance of the Birch Building very seriously, but nevertheless have achieved an exemplary lightness in their work.

The refurbishment of the Birch Building had to achieve many things – building code compliance, thermal efficiency, radical re-planning, and incorporation of intensive servicing. All of this sometimes tedious and complex work had to be done while maintaining the heritage significance of the building. This work has been expertly completed and the building’s future is now safeguarded through its revitalised utility and expertly revealed beauty, assuring it is preserved as a key element of the Eggleston McDonald and Secomb Precinct Plan.

Hassell has exceeded their brief however by not simply preserving the Birch Building, but by amplifying its heritage significance through interpretation, investigation, and re-contextualisation. The architect’s clearly evident enthusiasm for the original late-modernist building crafts, details, colour palettes and materiality are apparent in every decision across the whole project team.

This is best practice heritage architecture which draws on a deep understanding, respect and appreciation of the subject building and using that energy to make architecture which is qualitatively equal to the original building, helping us to understand and preserve.

interior architecture

The W. Hayward Morris Award for Interior Architecture

ANU Birch Building Refurbishment | Hassell

Jury citation:

Hassell is awarded the W. Hayward Morris Award for Interior Architecture for the refurbishment of the Birch Building at ANU. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the work undertaken by Hassell in in the Birch Building is there is the sense that you are experiencing the original building. More detailed investigation reveals that a thorough and extensive re-working has taken place.

Underpinning all the work is a respectful and knowledgeable understanding of the building’s original fabric. This has ensured that the new interiors are intrinsically connected to the building’s original expression texturally, materially and tonally. Impressively, this nuanced understanding of the building’s personality is not simply reproduction nor restoration but rather an amplification of the original intention, achieved with careful attention to detailing, colour and comprehensive integration with technical and programmatic imperatives.

Excellence is evident in the focussed approach to each element and through thorough co-ordination with the many allied disciplines. Reticulation of services is flawless. Furniture, fittings and fixtures are co-ordinated in form, colour and arrangement. While the interior shows an overarching design sensibility and rigorous consistency, Hassell also demonstrate an appreciation that this building is for humans. Ingeniously, they accommodate intimacy, introspection, collegiality and conviviality through subtle but remarkably effective shifts of colour, intensity and texture.

Award for Interior Architecture

Constitution Place | Bates Smart

Jury citation:

Bates Smart receives an award for Constitution Place in the Interior Architecture category.

Bates Smart’s skilful control of this large and complex work is evidenced in its serene functionality contrasted by excitement in the interior spatial dramatics and the rich and varied materiality.

The office accommodation for ACT government incorporates a central atrium based on three circles, referencing the Griffins’ Plan. Functionally, the atrium provides natural light far into the interiors, and importantly also hosts social spaces, direct walkable bridges and stairs, and the essential ingredient ‘x’, of spatial excitement.

Office spaces are varied and open to capture external views, are bright with reflected light, use perforated screens to provide privacy where necessary and discrete panelling to ensure a comfortable acoustic.
The ground floor is publicly accessible and in these times of often overt security, is refreshingly designed to promote the openness and transparency of government. The public spaces are conceived in variety, scale, and detail to provide a friendly and accessible door to government.

The hotel and commercial building properly assumes a more sophisticated design response and material palette. However, the ongoing project theme of interior spatial drama and control exemplifies deft and sensitive design vision.

Award for Interior Architecture

Flow Yoga | Craig Tan Architects

Jury citation:

Flow Yoga at Dairy Road presents a restrained initial impression that belies the conceptual rigour of the project.

Meticulously empathetic to its context within the Dairy Road Precinct, the project is programmatically conceived as a series of three interdependent spaces – therapy room, chill out area and yoga hall – organised around a central reception hub. At once unexpected and yet deeply familiar, it’s only in experiencing the project that the nuances of the spatial response unfold, with deliberations of gesture and materiality serving to both distinguish and coalesce. The insightful use of a dado establishes a sense of human scale, and consciously organises a formal approach to aperture and tectonic. A sophisticated materials selection imbues the project with a domesticity that provides an immediate sense of comfort.

Craig Tan Architects has delivered a project that transcends traditional conventions of space, using notions of sensory perception to locate people in the total experience of the space. Flow Yoga at Dairy Road exists in perfect balance, harmonising engagement with reflection, the robust with the ethereal and self with community to create a project that is as modest as it is self-assured.

Commendation for Interior Architecture

BLOC Office | Mathieson Architects

Jury citation:

Effective use of an existing floor plate and a rigorous material palette articulate the client’s desire to express their identity through built form and foster a growing business culture.

The primary design move, a skilfully placed circulation spine anchors the project and is ordered by a rhythm of darkened steel blades that replicate the existing building façade, projecting a sensibility of accuracy and precision that permeates each successive space.

Commendation for Interior Architecture

15 Moore Street – Refurbishment | Thorne Architecture

Jury citation:

The 15 Moore Street Refurbishment exemplifies the intelligent and industrious qualities traditionally associated with ‘a quiet achiever’. Rationalising decades of accumulated layers to create spatial and material cohesion, the project is defined by its transitions; carefully choreographed gestures that mediate movement and scale, unite interior and exterior and elevate once unexceptional space to light filled high-quality tenancies.

Thorne Architecture is to be commended for a project that combines rigour of spatial thought with skilfully detailed tectonic rhythms to bring new life to undervalued space.

public architecture

Commendation for Public Architecture

National Jewish Memorial Centre | Philip Leeson Architects

Jury citation:

Philip Leeson Architects has demonstrated great skill in mediating a complex set of parameters to provide Canberra’s Jewish community with a facility which allows for diversity but celebrates commonality.

The solid, gently curving form addresses concerns around security but de-emphasises the anxiety around this through thoughtful detailing.

The interior is rich and warm, incorporating liturgical elements in a low-key manner. A courtyard is created, and the original Ernest Fooks building is comfortably incorporated into a well-resolved campus.

Residential architecture - Houses (alterations and Additions)

The Gene Willsford Award for Residential Architecture - Houses (Alterations and Additions)

Secret Garden House | CCJ Architects

Jury citation:

The Secret Garden House is a modest monocrete house that has been transformed into a delightful and comfortable home charged with a new lease on life.

Central to the client’s brief for the project were the requirements for repair and for retreat.

With the original house having succumbed to significant condensation issues, an ambition to repair without material removal of the original structure was mutually established. Reflecting adept ability, skilful detailing of the internal walls has resolved the underlying construction issues whilst judiciously retaining the integrity of both structure and building footprint. The more apparent aspects of the interior fitout – presenting as a series of enticingly subtle insertions – complete a revived interior in which every detail demonstrates astute consideration and restraint.

The architect’s approach to the provision of privacy is a true delight – a gesture as bold as it is quirky. Balancing concealment with connectivity, a timber screen, located to support a new entrance threshold, cloaks the length of the existing facade. Conceptually derived from one of the client’s own artworks, the screen has been designed to support a dynamic array of foliage – a (vertical) garden serving to not merely conceal, but to mediate light and view.

Deeply considered and highly responsive to the client’s needs, CCJ Architects has delivered an impressively clever and memorable project.

Award for Residential Architecture - Houses (Alterations and Additions)

Ziwa House | de Rome Architects

Jury citation:

Ziwa House exemplifies the potential of an enduring Canberra building vernacular to meet changing living arrangements. A clever attachment to a two-storey duplex in Lyneham is skilfully choreographed to accommodate a series of ancillary uses that serve the clients’ desire for active connection and outlook to natural wetlands at the rear of the site, while retaining the efficiency of the existing dwelling.

At the street frontage, the new form is respectfully sited as a detached mass object from the existing duplex and is scaled in proportion to the characteristic duplex entry awning. A high level of detail resolution especially at roof datum has been achieved, ensuring a clarity of form is expressed as intended. A recessed glazed link elegantly provides connection between old and new, whilst formalising a linkage through to the rear landscape as well as servicing new program and storage. The rear form of the addition extrudes these established alignments and details, extending towards the wetlands beyond, framing the rear garden space as hearth all without obstructing internal view aspects.

Primary alterations to the existing duplex release the ground floor plan with a new steel structure inserted to accommodate a larger living space and improved external connections. Additionally, new vertical circulation in form of an expertly detailed floating timber stair is positioned adjacent the existing front awning, lightening the space and offering a notion of activity back to the street.

Commendation for Residential Architecture - Houses (Alterations and Additions)

Smitton House | COX Architecture

Jury citation:

Smitton House is a modern pavilion addition, sympathetically sited adjacent a respectfully refurbished Ainslie red brick cottage.

This established dialogue between old and new is realised via a discrete, glazed entry lobby that elegantly anchors the two forms and offers a moment of pause with visual connection to a newly shared garden between.

Circulation flanks a progression of living spaces that are skilfully connected through highly raked ceilings stretching and connecting space towards the garden frontage and existing cottage.

Residential Architecture - Houses (New)

The Malcolm Moir and Heather Sutherland Award for Residential Architecture - Houses (New)

Jingston House | Rob Henry Architects

Jury citation:

The experience of the Jingston House persists in your thoughts. Situated in in a cul-de-sac adjacent to a suburban nature reserve, the projects restrained exterior presents a contextual politeness that counters the strength of the interior.

Punctuated by subtle gestures of form and a refined palette, the project’s façade is deeply attuned to the historically dominant architecture of the suburb. Moving from outside to inside, you are at once enveloped by a sense of warmth; an ambience that draws on a skilled sensory resolution of place.

Throughout the house, subtle level changes responsive to topography, create distinction and privacy, with the rhythms of the shifts creating a masterful arrangement of alluring spatial sequences.

Commendation for Residential Architecture - Houses (New)

McPhee Place House | Hugh Gordon Architects

Jury citation:

This simple courtyard house is elevated through several well- executed design approaches.

The singular form is enlivened by an elegantly scalloped edge to the street and this formal intention is emphasised through material choices with an artful composition of a charred timber membrane contrasting with a white-painted masonry core. Emblematic of an overall approach to detail, the masonry’s heft is amplified through rounded edges.

The elevation to the public reserve – a principal façade, enlivening both public and private realm – is a great exemplar for Canberra.

Commendation for Residential Architecture - Houses (New)

SALO | Thursday Architecture

Jury citation:

Demonstrating masterful spatial diversity and a delightful ambience, SALO is a family home with a deeply memorable interior quality.

Conceived as a project of three distinct living spaces, thoughtful shifts in scale and a sophisticated material palette create not only desired distinctions, but a reassuring cohesion: inspiring a hierarchy of interrelationships between interior space and exterior place.

Thursday Architecture has created a sanctuary that will evolve with its inhabitants – promoting and nurturing the narratives and memories of everyday family life.

Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing

The Sydney Ancher Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing

Alexander & Albemarle | COX Architecture

Jury citation:

COX Architecture is awarded The Sydney Ancher Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing for Alexander & Albemarle.

The work by Cox Architecture on these well-known buildings has delivered a valuable contribution to Canberra’s apartment landscape and an object lesson in adaptive reuse, sustainability, and high-quality outcomes. It is fair to comment that the Canberra community was ambivalent about these landmark buildings, given their stripped functional expression and years spent unoccupied and derelict. Cox Architecture interventions have revealed the fundamentally generous proportions and noble aspirations of these onetime Commonwealth office buildings.

The architectural resuscitation has capitalised upon the open northern orientation, substantial floor-to-floor heights and muscular concrete and masonry structure. Skilful retention of existing entries and features is both pragmatic and respectful of the original. Restrained materials selection, colour and detailing are appropriate to the heritage and the Town Centre location. Restraint is carried through to the interior design which delivers a clean industrial aesthetic.
Substantial new works are fully integrated and include communal areas and gardens, food and beverage outlets, parking, and landscaped spaces.

The Alexander & Albemarle buildings have long been anchoring elements in the lived reality of the Woden Town Centre Masterplan. It is of great value to have them re-assume a lively and vibrant presence.

Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing

MICA | Stewart Architecture

Jury citation:

Stewart Architecture is awarded for MICA in the Residential Architecture, Multiple Housing category.

MICA exemplifies a creative and contextually responsive medium-density, mixed-use typology for suburban Canberra. As Canberra contemplates how to achieve density and infill within our older suburbs, this development provides an exemplary lead. The project builds upon meaningful responses to local community input, to the adjacent local shopping centre and to the surrounding streets.

All architecture is ‘public’ to a greater or lesser extent and good architecture is that which gives more than it takes; is a lifter not a leaner. MICA carries its social responsibilities with assurance: in uses, in scale, in contribution to the public realm, in materiality and in architectural expression.

Stewart Architecture has formed an architectural language that is comfortable in the old-Canberra context of Campbell. A vernacular of hit and miss red brick and stone punctuated with modern materials and proportions. Integral to the innovation of the project is the central open circulation space which supports site permeability, resident interaction, light and ventilation as well as access and servicing.

This development delivers a rich and enduring contribution to Canberra’s urban fabric and to future generations of occupants and neighbours.

Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing

Estate | Collins Pennington Architects

Jury citation:

Collins Pennington Architects is awarded for Estate in the Residential Architecture, Multiple Housing category.

Collins Pennington Architects has crafted a refined multi-residential contribution to a precinct with unusual neighbours, most notable of which is Parliament House. Located at the corner of London Circuit and Canberra Avenue, the site is squarely in the national view. The planning and architecture reconcile the symbolic and functional issues into an assured composition.

Primary to the success of the site planning is a central open landscaped space, visually connecting Parliament House landscape through the site and adjacent primary school into the suburb of Forrest.

The buildings are expressed as different and distinct elements as appropriate to their different contexts. The architecture to Canberra Avenue forms a sinuous and apparently floating, curved wall of white masonry punctuated with dark spandrels and deeply recessed balconies. Importantly, the ground plane is sculpted and landscaped to achieve the requisite formality due to this Griffin avenue.

In contrast, the development to State Circle speaks to the more residential scale and intimate nature of that locale. Dark in colour, using beautiful face brickwork and a more modular rhythm the composition is both charming and a good neighbour.

Commendation for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing

The Bradfield, Downer | AMC Architecture

Jury citation:

This redevelopment in the once deserted heart of Downer has skilfully delivered revitalisation and high-quality density to a community and suburb negotiating the imperatives of change. AMC worked for over a decade with CHC (a provider of affordable housing), with the Downer Community Association and with ACT Government to realise a set of complex goals.

The resulting development sits securely within the modest and fine grain neighbourhood. The architectural language, materials and detailing are respectful of the precinct and creative in achieving an enduring and valued outcome.

Sustainable Architecture

The Derek Wrigley Award for Sustainable Architecture

The House with Old Roots | The Mill: Architecture + Design

Jury citation:

The House with Old Roots is a highly liveable, functional and cost effective family home which also achieves high levels of energy efficiency through passive solar design.

The home includes a series of playful design elements which also skilfully perform dual roles in creating a sustainable building. The central double height void (with sunken lounge and a suspended fireplace), is framed by exposed brick internal walls which add thermal mass to the building. The butterfly roof is set at the perfect angle to maximise solar access, with the uplifted rear wing aligned for the solar PV array.

Other key sustainability elements include the northern orientation, triple glazed & thermally broken windows, 100% electric, high levels of insulation and importantly an overall compact footprint. This allows plenty of room in the garden for deciduous plantings for natural solar input control. All these measures help the building to achieve very low levels of total energy consumption.

The House with Old Roots will minimise the carbon emissions of the occupants and is highly future-proofed to handle increasing temperatures due to climate change. This building effectively demonstrates that sustainable architecture does not need to be costly, and that it can be beautifully integrated into a comfortable and engaging family home.

Urban Design

The Sir John Overall Award for Urban Design

Constitution Place | Bates Smart

Jury citation:

Constitution Place is a masterly contribution to the centre of the Griffins’ city beautiful vision for Canberra. Canberra’s municipal core between London Circuit and Vernon Circle is loaded with symbolism and as-yet largely unrealised potential for magnificent places to enrich the city’s heart. This development, however, grasps the city making challenges and provides a transformative response.

The urban design gestures are grounded in the Griffins’ vision and in a contemporary reading of the city context and future of this key precinct. The development provides a strong built form at the commencement of Constitution Avenue: the higher, more formal building mass marking the transition to City Hill.

The lower building to London Circuit is sensitively scaled and sited to create a diagonal through-site laneway. The laneway is compressed to provide a sense of theatre and friction; the intimacy is of value in a city notable for its vastly scaled avenues and public spaces. Appropriately, Lyric Lane provides pedestrian permeability and a slew of options for lunchtime workers and evening theatre crowds.

Well scaled parks punctuate the diagonal: a pocket park at Constitution corner is an intuitive focal point. The Legislative Plaza to the north extends Akuna Street vistas and its formal design references the Legislative Assembly.