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World-leading international architecture awarded with Australian honours

The preservation of a 2000-year-old Chinese forest for a hotel celebrating Chinese culture, a sustainable open-air university building shielded by a ‘verandah’ in the tropics of Singapore, and a tiny thoughtful chapel in Venice are among the projects awarded in the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2019 International Chapter Architecture Awards.

Nine awards and two commendations were granted for worldwide projects of Institute members at the announcement in Dubai, attended by International Chapter Councillor and Awards Chair, Annelise Tiller, alongside Institute National President Helen Lochhead, International Chapter Chair Samantha Cotterell, and special guest, Commissioner General to Expo 2020 Justin McGowan.

International Chapter Chair Samantha Cotterell said the high quality and diversity of projects demonstrate the breadth of opportunities around the world and the brilliance with which our Australian talent embraces and delivers visionary solutions and excellence. 

‘These projects from our international members of the Institute range from large scale commercial developments to small and poetic public works,’ she said.

‘They demonstrate the vision and the talent of our members of the Australian architecture profession, who courageously and ambitiously set out to lend their voice to a global architectural conversation.

‘These projects are a proud representation of the growing international presence of our design professionals.’

Kerry Hill Architects won the Commercial Architecture Award and the Heritage Commendation for the Amanyangyun resort outside Shanghai in China, which incorporated 10,000 salvaged 2000-year-old camphor trees into its grounds and preserved 26 historic Ming and Qing dynasty buildings slated for destruction to make way for a new dam.

The heritage jury said the project balanced historical and contemporary architecture.

‘The emphasis on authenticity has led to the ancient buildings generating the inherent scale, arrangement and sequence of movement through interior and exterior spaces,’ it said.

‘Amanyangyun represents an invaluable testament to avoiding needless loss.’

Richard Kirk Architect, with DCA Architects, won the Educational Architecture Award for their NTU Learning Hub in Singapore, which facilitated protected open-air passive climate control in its tropical setting. It uses a deep external verandah of 30 per cent of the floor area, while maintaining indoor space that allows airflow.

Jury judges called the complex ‘a substantial contribution to the genre’ of sustainable buildings.

‘The jury were convinced of the elegance of the “skin and verandah” concept in which the louvred skin is confidently framed between the fluid horizontals of an upper and lower projecting eaves line,’ it said.

StudioMilou took out the Heritage Award, the Award for Public Architecture and the Residential Architecture (Alterations and Additions) Award for projects in France and Singapore.

Paris’ Le Nouveau Carreau du Temple was transformed from its last vestiges of 19th century metal framing into a contemporary, practical market hall that interweaves contemporary materials with its heritage style in a result the jury labelled ‘masterful’ and ‘a truly inspiring project’. ‘Probably the most risky decision was choosing not to reintroduce a solid perimeter wall (brick) and instead to create a skin of glass, metal and wood. This skin works effortlessly.’

Their Place de la Brecht project in Niort, western France, created a new central park, cinema, gallery space and 1200-car underground car park in the heart of the historic precinct, from an under-utilised car park.

Integrated into the heart of the city, the jury said it ‘stands as if it had always been’. ‘It is not until one understands the scale and complexity of the programs arranged throughout, that one completely grasps the mastery and empathy required to realise this beautiful project,’ it said.

In Singapore, the GOH House restored a heritage-listed 1930s bungalow and surrounded it with an expansive garden sanctuary, blending indoor and outdoor space.

‘The project entirely conserves the existing building creating among the two a dense and abundant garden, a place in which landscape and trees dominate when viewed from within the property and from the streetscape.’

The Small Project Architecture Awards were granted to Sean Godsell Architects for their Chapel in Venice and John Wardle Architects for Somewhere Other, in Italy and Australia.

Among the Vatican City’s exhibit for the Venice Biennale, the tall steel-framed chapel was deemed ‘powerful and evocative beyond its tiny size’ by judges.

The Somewhere Other installation created viewing portals ‘between Australia and Italy’ that was commended as ‘a delicate and finely tuned expression of the architects’ interest in Australia’s connection to the world’.

New Zealand’s B:Hive, Smales Farm, by BVN in association with Jasmax won the Interior Architecture Award for its progressive office space that fosters a sense of community.

And the BAU Brearley Architects and Urbanists’ Kunshan Hyper Complex in China won the Urban Design Award for its mixed-use precinct, in what the jury described as ‘an antidote to the current monotonous urban context’.

Cox Architecture, Warren and Mahoney and Opus Architecture was awarded a Commendation for Public Architecture for the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct in New Zealand for overcoming the challenges of designing the public realm to earthquake planning guidelines.

Full list of winners:

Commercial Architecture

Award – Amanyangyun (China) by Kerry Hill Architects

Educational Architecture

Award – NTU Learning Hub ‘The Arc’ (Singapore) by Richard Kirk Architect with DCA Architects

Heritage

Award – Le Nouveau Carreau du Temple, Paris (France) by studioMilou

Commendation – Amanyangyun (China) by Kerry Hill Architects

Public Architecture

Award – Place de la Brèche, Niort (France) by studioMilou

Commendation – Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct (New Zealand) by Cox Architecture, Warren and Mahoney, Opus Architecture

Interior Architecture

Award – B:Hive, Smales Farm (New Zealand)by  BVN in association with Jasmax

Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)

Award – GOH House (Singapore) by studioMilou

Small Project Architecture

Award – Chapel in Venice (Italy) Sean Godsell Architects and Somewhere Other (Italy and Australia) by John Wardle Architects

Urban Design

Award – Kunshan Hyper Complex (China) by BAU Brearley Architects and Urbanists

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