Iconic Sails in the Desert recognised in National Awards for architecture

Uluru’s Sails in the Desert hotel development has been recognised for its long-standing impact with the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Award for Enduring Architecture.

At a gala presentation in Brisbane tonight, the Institute acknowledged Cox Architecture’s 1985 development as a nationally significant and timeless work that created a new archetype for Australian design.

The award was one of two projects in the Northern Territory lauded at the prestigious National Awards.

The jury said Sails in the Desert created an iconic and long-lasting hotel and community precinct near Uluru that has grown and evolved over time into one of Australia’s most recognisable resorts internationally.

Its shade-sail spine following the natural contour of the range resulted in a minimal impact on the sand dune landscape and contributed to the contemporary Australian aesthetic in a cohesive and sustainable way that was ‘both of its time and timeless’.

They said it was a unique project for its time for its strong collaboration and consultation with members of the local Indigenous community, many of whom came to work at the hotels.

‘Its enduring appeal demonstrates its capacity to capture the essence of an Australian vernacular, responding sensitively to the cultural, climatic and social conditions of the place,’ the jury said.

‘It was and is an iconic settlement in the service of one of our most important cultural and spiritual sites.’

The Fish River Ranger Accommodation was also commended in this year’s National Architecture Awards.

These robust, private and well-ventilated living spaces for the rangers at the remote station offer sustainable and long-lasting accommodation with low ongoing maintenance requirements.

The jury said the students and rangers had worked together to transform the existing accommodation and significantly improve amenity, comfort and protection from extreme heat, rain, humidity and insects.

‘The project provided a valuable learning opportunity for students and the result is a model that delivers excellent accommodation for rangers and a viable tropical Indigenous housing alternative,’ the jury said.

Northern Territory award-winners

  • National Award for Enduring Architecture – Sails in the Desert – Cox Architecture
  • Commendation for Small Project Architecture – Fish River Ranger Accommodation – Design Construct, School of Art Architecture and Design, University of South Australia.

Jury Chair and Immediate Past President Clare Cousins said the National Awards highlighted the strength and value of high-quality architecture in creating functional, sustainable and beautiful spaces to live, work and play.

‘These award winners highlight the creativity in our profession, and their ability to create solutions to our national challenges,’ Ms Cousins said.

‘This year our leading architects have built better linkages across cities, designed thoughtful homes on difficult sites, or used cutting-edge materials and methods to achieve enduring sustainability and value.

‘These works display the best of our profession, where the creative mind sees answers to social and practical problems.’

Australian Institute of Architects National President Helen Lochhead said the winners set the benchmark for high-quality and enduring architecture in Australia.

‘These industry leaders demonstrate the quality and long-term sustainability of architecture at its best,’ Professor Lochhead said.

‘They provide solutions in sometimes difficult circumstances that build public benefit into communities and cities.

‘It is through these award-winning projects we can recognise the immense value our profession can bring, not only to clients and collaborators, but to the nation.’

The Institute’s National Awards are the most prestigious in the country due to the rigour of the selection process. A dozen entries around Australia received national commendations. Around the country and globally, 14 projects won named awards, and an additional 21 were recognised with national awards. Winners were chosen from a shortlist of 78 projects drawn from a total pool of 185 of national and international entries.

2019 NATIONAL JURY

Clare Cousins (Chair) | Immediate Past President | Director, Clare Cousins Architects

Rachel Neeson | Director, Neeson Murcutt Architects

Emma Williamson | Founder and CEO, TheFulcrum.Agency

Mat Hinds | Director, Taylor + Hinds

Donald Bates | Co-Founder and Director of LAB Architecture Studio | Chair of Architectural Design, University of Melbourne

Full list of winners

COMMERCIAL ARCHITECTURE

The Harry Seidler Award | Dangrove | Tzannes | NSW

National Award | Paramount House Hotel | Breathe Architecture | NSW

National Award | Private Women’s Club | Kerstin Thompson Architects | Victoria

EDUCATIONAL ARCHITECTURE

The Daryl Jackson Award | Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School | BVN | NSW

National Award | Braemar College Stage 1, Middle School | Hayball | Victoria

National Commendation | Adelaide Botanic High School | Cox Architecture and DesignInc | SA National Commendation | QUT Creative Industries Precinct 2 | KIRK and HASSELL (Architects in Association) | Queensland

ENDURING ARCHITECTURE

National Award | Sails in the Desert | Cox Architecture | NT

HERITAGE

The Lachlan Macquarie Award | Premier Mill Hotel | spaceagency architects | WA

National Award | Paramount House Hotel | Breathe Architecture | NSW

National Commendation | Flinders Street Station Façade Strengthening & Conservation | Lovell Chen | Victoria

National Commendation | Sacred Heart Building Abbotsford Convent Foundation | Kerstin Thompson Architects | Victoria

INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE

The Emil Sodersten Award | Denton Corker Marshall Studio | Denton Corker Marshall | Victoria

National Award | Dangrove | Tzannes | NSW

National Award | The University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute | Swanbury Penglase with BVN | SA

National Award | #TheBaeTAS | workbylizandalex | Tasmania

INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE

The Jørn Utzon Award | Somewhere Other | John Wardle Architects | Italy and Australia

PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE

The Sir Zelman Cowen Award | Green Square Library and Plaza | Studio Hollenstein with Stewart Architecture | NSW

National Award | Parliament of Victoria Members’ Annexe | Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design | Victoria

National Award | HOTA Outdoor Stage | ARM Architecture | Queensland

National Award | Maitland Riverlink | CHROFI with McGregor Coxall | NSW

National Commendation | Port of Sale | fjmt | Victoria

RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE – HOUSES (ALTERATIONS AND ADDITIONS)

The Eleanor Cullis-Hill Award | Terrarium House | John Ellway | Queensland

National Award | Powell Street House | Robert Simeoni Architects | Victoria

National Award | Caroline House | Kennedy Nolan | Victoria

National Commendation | Empire | Austin Maynard Architects | ACT

National Commendation | Teneriffe House | Vokes and Peters | Queensland

National Commendation | Five Gardens House | David Boyle Architect | NSW

RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE – HOUSES (NEW)

The Robin Boyd Award | Daylesford Longhouse | Partners Hill | Victoria

National Award | House in the Hills | Sean Godsell Architects | Victoria

National Award | Cloister House | MORQ | WA

National Award | Hawthorn House | Edition Office | Victoria

National Commendation | North Melbourne House | NMBW Architecture Studio | Victoria

RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE – MULTIPLE HOUSING

The Frederick Romberg Award | Mermaid Multihouse | Partners Hill with Hogg & Lamb | Queensland

National Award | Whitlam Place | Freadman White in collaboration with Anon Studio | Victoria

SMALL PROJECT ARCHITECTURE

The Nicholas Murcutt Award | Jock Comini Reserve Amenities | Kerstin Thompson Architects | Victoria

National Award | Doubleground | MUIR + OPENWORK | Victoria

National Commendation | Fish River Ranger Accommodation | Design Construct, School of Art Architecture and Design, University of South Australia | NT

SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE

The David Oppenheim Award | Parliament of Victoria Members’ Annexe | Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design | Victoria

National Award | Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School | BVN | NSW

National Commendation | 25 King | Bates Smart | Queensland

National Commendation | The University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute | Swanbury Penglase with BVN | SA

URBAN DESIGN

The Walter Burley Griffin Award | Maitland Riverlink | CHROFI with McGregor Coxall | NSW

National Award | Parliament of Victoria Members’ Annexe | Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design | Victoria

National Award | Yagan Square | Lyons in association with Iredale Pedersen Hook and landscape architects ASPECT Studios | WA

National Award | Green Square Library and Plaza | Studio Hollenstein with Stewart Architecture and HASSELL | NSW

COLORBOND® AWARD FOR STEEL ARCHITECTURE

National Award | Yagan Square | Lyons in association with Iredale Pedersen Hook and landscape architects ASPECT Studios | WA

The 2019 National Architecture Awards are proudly supported by Principal Partner BlueScope; Major Partners Dulux and Brickworks; National Corporate Partners Bondor, AWS, Lysaght and Fielders; Supporting Corporate Partners Built Environment Channel and USG Boral; Insurance Partner Planned Cover; and Media Partners Architecture Media and The Australian – WISH.

For media enquiries contact:

Fiona Benson
On behalf of the Australian Institute of Architects
+61 (0) 407 294 620 | E. fiona@fjpartners.com.au