Newcastle celebrates both the big and the small in design at architecture awards

The announcement of winners at the 2014 Newcastle Architecture Awards at Merewether Surfhouse on Thursday 6 March, has seen both the ‘big’ and the ‘small’ rewarded for excellence in design, proving size does not matter when it comes to good design.

The multi-million dollar WesTrac facility by EJE Architecture at Tomago has taken out the top design nod from jurors in the Commercial Architecture category, who acknowledged the building as, ’setting new standards’ in industrial facilities.

Awards Juror, Alex Kibble said, ‘The WesTrac facility is an accomplished piece of contemporary industrial architecture that addresses issues of workplace, training and corporate identity in an efficient and spirited manner that is an exemplar for future industrial development.’

In comparison, a modest renovation project in MacMasters Beach by architect Dianna Thomas won top honours in the largest group of architectural contenders in the Residential category for Alterations and Additions, and was a stand-out favourite with the jurors.

‘Your first reaction on entering Dianna Thomas’s MacMasters Beach House is to sit down and never leave because you’ve arrived home. The house is an exercise in modesty, continuity and fun,’ juror Ramsey Awad noted.

A Commendation was also awarded to Wingham Architects and Austin McFarland Architects, for the renovation of a 100 year old Hamilton cottage. The jury were impressed with their ‘creative thinking’ and bringing ‘new spacious character’ to an original inner city building.

In the New Houses category, EJE Architecture took out top prize for their New Residence: The Junction, which was noted as being ‘superbly constructed’ and a ‘delight’ to walk into and a Commendation was also awarded to Killen + Doran Architects for a new house in New Lambton Heights, for its exceptional ‘attention to detail’.

Joint winners were awarded in the Public Architecture category, with the jury unable to choose between two very significant and unique buildings in Newcastle. Both the Newcastle Museum by fjmt Sydney, and the new Birubi Surf Life Saving Club by EJE Architecture were awarded top Architecture Awards, with both buildings equally celebrating the historical significance of their projects and providing ‘positive and significant contribution’ to sensitive sites.

Young architecture firm, Space Design Architecture has won the Small Projects category for the second year in a row, with their clever office fit out at Maxim Workplace and a Commendation was awarded to CKDS Architecture for their bright and playful adaption of an old library courtyard at the University of Newcastle.

Winners from the night will now present their projects to the NSW Architecture Awards’ juries for consideration of state honours which will be revealed in June.