Awards honour contributions to community through architecture

An inspiring collection of students, emerging architects and professional leaders have been honoured at the 2014 Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards presentation ceremony in Hobart on Thursday 20 March.

The annual awards recognise and reward outstanding contributions in the fields of architecture and the built environment across a range of expertise including leadership, sustainability, education and advancement.

Phil Harris and Adrian Welke, co-founders of Troppo, have been selected as the 2014 recipients of the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest honour, the Gold Medal.

Driven by a desire to produce socially responsible architecture, the pair founded Troppo in Darwin in 1980, and have since grown the practice to include offices in Perth, Adelaide, Townsville and Byron Bay cultivating a portfolio of over 2500 projects ranging from tiny remote buildings to full-scale city design.

‘Troppo’s work pioneers a unique and special Australian approach to architecture: irreverent but sophisticated, inventive with a tinge of larrikin spirit. In 34 years of practice they have evolved an architecture that deals with the heat, the rain, the place and subtleties of climate, while understanding and reviving the lessons of the Top End’s important history and legacy of projects,’ Paul Berkemeier, National President and Jury Chair said.

Troppo’s work spans the continent and is extensively recognised, including numerous state and national residential awards and the 1994 Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings for the Bowali Visitors Centre in Kakadu, a joint project with past Gold Medallist Glenn Murcutt. In 2010, at a ceremony in Paris, Troppo were the recipients of the Global Sustainable Architecture Award.

Their ethos epitomises the importance of building for place and people: producing work that is sympathetic to the land, using locally relevant materials to create settings that work for the informal Australian lifestyle. In addition to their built work, Adrian and Phil have been committed to the role of the profession as agents of change: enthusing, educating and influencing people’s views on architecture and its position in society. They have supported, mentored and educated many students and graduates, helping to develop new generations of architects and collaborators.

The 2014 National President’s Prize was posthumously awarded to Ross Langdon who was senselessly murdered in the brutal terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping centre in September last year.

‘Ross was a talented architect and an inspirational leader who left a great legacy and example for all the profession. He was already well on the way to shaping a better world future as a great Australian and exceptional world citizen,’ National President Paul Berkemeier said.

Sydney architect and winner of the 2013 Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture, Andrew Burns, received the National Emerging Architect Prize for ‘his extensive involvement in local, international, public and industry engagement and his considered and thoughtful body of work showing an incredibly high standard of excellence,’ the jury noted.

The jury selected John Macdonald from DesignInc in Melbourne as the winner of the Leadership in Sustainability Prize. John Macdonald has made an outstanding contribution over the last 35 years in the design and delivery of a wide range of innovative projects that have pushed the boundaries of sustainable design and energy management.

In recognition of his internationally renowned research and teaching in heritage and conservation, Professor Emeritus Miles Lewis AM from the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne was honoured with the 2014 Neville Quarry Architectural Prize.

An asset to both the local and global design community, HY William Chan from the University of Sydney was a most outstanding candidate and a very worthy recipient for the 2014 Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture. The Bachelor of Design in Architecture graduate’s contribution to the architecture industry, the broader community and interdisciplinary initiatives associated with sustainable design and emergency humanitarian aid work has been extensive.

Architectural editors, critics, writers and publishers Haig Beck and Jacqui Cooper were selected as recipients of the William J Mitchell International Committee Prize in honour of their significant contribution to the profession, study and advancement of architecture beyond our shores.

Five talented emerging architects from New South Wales and Victoria will participate in an architectural tour of Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York on the 2014 Dulux Study Tour. Jenna Rowe, Suzannah Waldron, Michael Zanardo, Ben Milbourne and Cherry Williamson have been rewarded for their hard work and enthusiasm for the profession.

The COLORBOND® Steel Student Biennale, which acknowledges outstanding works of design by architecture students across Australia, was presented to Jessica Chidester of RMIT University. Commendations were awarded to Ben Juckes, University of Western Australia, and Doug McNamara, University of Newcastle.

Image gallery.