Gold Medal

2020 Australian Institute of Architects' Gold Medal winner | John Wardle

About the Gold Medal

Congratulations John Wardle

The Gold Medal – the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest honour – recognises distinguished service by architects who have designed or executed buildings of high merit, producing work of great distinction that has advanced architecture or endowed the profession in a distinguished manner.

John Wardle is an architect’s architect. He is a designer of consummate skill, whose works, from the smallest intricate piece of joinery to complex high-rise buildings receive detailed attention and conscientious formal experiment. His works celebrate both individual craft and the broader production processes of making a building. His works re-position the role of the architect as chief designer in the process of making a building. His works are the outcome of a studio-based collaborative practice.

find out more

The 2019 David Oppenheim Award | Parliament of Victoria Members’ Annexe | Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design | Vic | Photographer: John Gollings

This Award is made in recognition of most distinguished services by an individual architect.

The 2019 National Award for Public Architecture | HOTA Outdoor Stage | ARM Architecture | Queensland | Photographer: John Gollings

Nominations are considered by the Gold Medal Committee

Joynton Avenue Creative Centre and Precinct | Peter Stutchbury Architecture in association with Design 5 - Architects for City of Sydney | Photographer: Michael Nicholson

Nominations are directed to the CEO and must provide the name, biography, general history of the career and distinguished work of the nominee with evidence of their work.

The 2019 Harry Seidler Award | Dangrove | Tzannes | NSW | Photographer: Ben Guthrie

Find out more about previous Gold Medallists from 2018-1960

Eligibility

The 2019 David Oppenheim Award | Parliament of Victoria Members’ Annexe | Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design | Vic | Photographer: John Gollings

Who can participate

The Gold Medal is the highest honour the Institute may bestow.

The Award is made in recognition of most distinguished services by an individual architect who has designed or executed structures of high merit or produced work of great distinction to promote or facilitate the knowledge of architecture, or by work which has endowed the profession of architecture in such an exceptional or distinguished way as to merit the award.

In exceptional circumstances, the Gold Medal may be awarded to a group of individual architects who  demonstrate that they have collectively met the above criteria.

ENTRIES FOR THE 2021 GOLD MEDAL ARE NOW CLOSED!

Judging criteria

Participation requirements / What we look for

The Gold Medal may be awarded to an Australian or foreign architect.

Not more than one Gold Medal shall be awarded in any year, and the honour need not necessarily be given each year.

Nominations are sought for excellence in the achievement of the following:

  • Excellence in architectural practice, research or education
  • Involvement in Australian Institute of Architects’ activities and/or forums of similar professional bodies
  • Contribution to architecture through leadership within the profession
  • Contribution to community activities such as charity and voluntary work related to the profession

Nominations must be made electronically and provide:

  1. Comprehensive biographical details
  2. Career history
  3. Evidence of distinguished work
  4. Australian Institute of Architects Service
  5. Chapter President’s citation supporting the nomination
It is at the discretion of the nominator to keep the nomination confidential.
The 2019 National Award for Public Architecture | HOTA Outdoor Stage | ARM Architecture | Queensland | Photographer: John Gollings

How to nominate

Joynton Avenue Creative Centre and Precinct | Peter Stutchbury Architecture in association with Design 5 - Architects for City of Sydney | Photographer: Michael Nicholson

The Nomination process

The Gold Medal is the highest honour the Institute may bestow.

Nominations
Annually the CEO will call for nominations for the Gold Medal. 

The CEO (or delegate) shall keep a record of Gold Medal nominations including the original date received. Nominations will be considered by the Gold Medal Committee and, if considered worthy, will be added to the Gold Medal Register. Once on the register, nominations will be considered each year for five consecutive years, after which the nomination will lapse. Previous nominees may be re-nominated. The Gold Medal Register will be kept confidential. Those nominated are not guaranteed a place on the Register.

To suggest a Gold Medal nominee please contact your local Chapter. Entries are closed for 2021 Gold Medal. Entries for 2022 Gold Medal will open February 2021.

Gold Medal nominations are submitted to the National Awards and Prizes Manager by:

  1. National Council – signed by the President
  2. National Executive – signed by the President
  3. Chapter Council – signed by the Chapter President
  4. National Committee – signed by the Committee Chair
  5. The National President
  6. A National Councilor
  7. A Chapter President
  8. A Chairperson of a National Committee
  9. An Area Committee – signed by the Chair

2020 Gold Medal

Congratulations John Wardle

Since the formation of his Melbourne-based practice in 1986, John Wardle has devoted his energies to maintaining the design ethos of the small office to ever larger institutional and commercial projects across the country.  His early practice was built upon the design of single-family houses such as the Kitamura house, Kew (1995) and Isaacson-Davis house, Balnarring (1997) whose external forms, interiors and joinery rejoiced in the pleasures of creating place, spatial delight and exquisitely resolved detail.  At the same time, Wardle commenced a long and productive association with institutional clients, CSIRO and the Salvation Army, designing, on the one hand, laboratories and research facilities and on the other, low-budget low-income residential accommodation.  As a result, Wardle and his office developed considerable expertise in responding to programs and client bodies of considerable complexity, while at the still delivering projects of considerable architectural design integrity.  

More than three decades of honing skills to address often competing agendas, purposefully and cogently, with the ongoing support and development of a studio-based office of committed staff at every level, has meant that John Wardle has created a practice of national stature and international repute; a practice where design excellence takes the prime position in every single project and at every scale. 

In the last decade, Wardle’s institutional and commercial buildings have reasserted architecture form at the city scale.  The Urban Workshop (2000-07) and the Nigel Peck Centre for Learning and Leadership (2004-2007) in Melbourne, the Kaurna Building (2002-05) in Adelaide, and the Queensland Brain Institute (2004-2007) in Brisbane, and the Jane Foss Russell Building in Sydney (2009) exemplify the national impact of Wardle’s personal project of raising the public status of architectural design.  His public buildings have become exemplars of quality for institutional and commercial patrons.  

Wardle’s domestic projects too are of note, continuing the great Australian tradition of the single-family house as the architect’s laboratory for experiment and innovation.  His iterative design process is an exemplar for students of architecture.  His collaborations with artists and craftspeople comprise a practice of mutual enrichment not only for the built environment but also for each contributing discipline. 

Evidence of consistent peer recognition over more than 30 years reinforces the view of John Wardle as an architect whose contribution to the development of Australian architecture has been distinguished and substantial.  His practice has been the recipient of numerous state Institute awards for architectural excellence in Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland as well as numerous awards at the national level. 

In Victoria, Wardle is a two-time winner of the Victorian Architecture Medal (1997 and 2008), the state’s highest accolade.  He has won the Harold Desbrowe-Annear Award for residential architecture three times (1995, 1997 and 2004), the Sir Osborn McCutcheon Award for commercial architecture twice (1997 and 2006), and the William Wardell Award for public buildings twice (2000 and 2008).  

At a national level, he has twice been the recipient of the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings (2002 and 2006), the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture twice (2012 and 2013) as well as the inaugural Daryl Jackson Award for Educational Architecture (2015).  Such acknowledgement of design excellence demonstrated across a range of building types and geographic locations is further evidence of the deserved peer respect for the dexterity of his formal compositions, his programmatic innovations as well as his engagement with residential, institutional and commercial clients.

John Wardle is an outstanding Australian architect who maintains an exemplary practice. Across the nation he has restored faith in what architects do best – the design of buildings that function well and please hand and eye.  He is a most worthy candidate for the award of the Gold Medal, the highest accolade of the Australian Institute of Architects.

2020 Australian Institute of Architects' Gold Medal winner | John Wardle

Gold medallists 1960-2019

YearGold MedallistYear (1960-89)Gold Medallist
2019Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg1989Robin Findlay Gibson
2018Alec Tzannes1988Romaldo Giurgola
2017Peter Elliot1987Daryl Sanders Jackson
2016Stephen Ashton, Howard Raggatt and Ian McDougall1986Richard Butterworth
2015Peter Stutchbury1985Richard Norman Johnson
2014Phil Harris and Adrian Welke, Troppo1984Philip Sutton Cox
2013Peter Wilson1983Gilbert Ridgway Nicol and Ross Kingsley Chisholm
2012Lawrence Nield1982Sir John Wallace Overall
2011Graeme Gunn1981Colin Frederick Madigan
2010Lindsay and Kerry Clare1980John Hamilton Andrews
2009Ken Maher1979Harold Bryce Mortlock
2008Richard Johnson1978Mervyn Henry Parry
2007Enrico Taglietti1977Ronald Andrew Gilling
2006Kerry Hill1976Harry Seidler
2005James Birrell1975Sydney Edward Ancher
2004 Gregory Burgess1974Raymond Berg
2003Peter Corrigan1973Jørn Utzon
2002Brit Andresen1972Edward Herbert Farmer
2001Keith Eric Cottier1971Frederick Bruce Lucas
2000John Neville Morphett1970Jack Hobbs McConnell
1999Richard Leplastrier1969Robin Boyd
1998Gabriel Poole1968Sir Roy Grounds
1997Roy McCowan Simpson1967William Purves Race Godfrey
1996John Denton, William Corker, Barrington Marshall1966Wiliam Rae Laurie
1995no award1965Sir Osborn McCutcheon
1994Neville Quarry1964Cobden Parkes
1993Kenneth Frank Woolley1963Sir Arthur Stephenson
1992Glenn Marcus Murcutt1962Joseph Charles Fowell
1991Donald Campbell Rupert Bailey1961Louis Laybourne Smith
1990Professor Peter McIntyre1960Leslie Wilkinson