• Great Southern Land – A Continent’s Finest Architecture

    15 February 2011

    The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) 2010 National Architecture Awards were announced in the closing stages of 2010. PRC magazine is proud to have entered into agreement with AIA to showcase the best of this country’s architectural achievements on an annual basis to our readership in China and throughout the Asia Pacific.

    Across the length and breadth of this vast land and even deep into the international domain, Australian architects have once again pushed the envelope in terms of what can be achieved with vision and determination to bring to the community projects which address the diverse needs of an urban population, aware of it’s colourful past but mindful of the many challenges that lie ahead, for a society and their architects.

    AIA’s Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture was presented to The Met, a 66-storey apartment building in Bangkok by Singapore-based practice WOHA, a young Singapore-based architecture practice, founded by design architects Richard Hassell and Wong Mun Summ. In an outstanding triple win for WOHA, the practice also received a National Award for the Bras Basah Mass Rapid Transit Station in Singapore and a National Commendation for the Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia.

    Announcing the award jury chair and leading architect Melinda Dodson said, “The Met in Bangkok, is a seminal project representing major advances towards a possible future vision of ecologically responsible highly dense urban housing.” The jury noted, “It is often claimed that high rise buildings, particularly in hot climates, cannot be naturally ventilated, and that if we are to intensify urban density we are therefore doomed to inhabit closed, air conditioned glass boxes.  The Met proves that claim wrong, by creating tropical houses in the sky, with breezeways, outdoor living areas, planters, gardens, and communal facilities on open-air terraces. Here, innovation and brilliant architectural strategic thinking answer extremely challenging climatic conditions.”

    An extraordinary house ‘of rare beauty and serenity’ in Japan, the Wall House by Sydney-based architects Peter Stutchbury Architecture with Keiji Ashizawa Design – received a National Award for International Architecture, with the jury saying, “From a country with an ancient tradition of exquisite refined landscapes and architecture, it is perhaps surprising that an Australian architect would be asked to add to that culture. The Wall House doesn’t disappoint.”

    A home and community centre with education, social, and health facilities for 80 women, children, orphans and the wider remote rural community of Sinon in Tanzania, the Kesho Leo Children’s Home by Watson architecture + design  also received a National Award. The jury noted the project’s extremely limited budget, site configuration restraints, the tropical climate and and poor availability of often inferior materials as major challenges. Despite this, they said, “As is often with good architecture, adversity inspired true innovation throughout the project. This was a project literally conceived and built from the ground up, created from absolutely minimal means in almost impossible conditions.”

    Around 20 projects from as far afield as Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Tanzania were entered in this year’s Jorn Utzon International Award.  All international projects entered must be submitted by members of the Australian Institute of Architects.

    The AIA’s Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings, is widely recognised as Australia’s leading annual award for new public buildings. Launched in 1981, past recipients include the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, St.Patrick’s Cathedral in Sydney, New Parliament House in Canberra, Melbourne Museum, Sydney’s Olympic Park Railway Station and Adelaide Botanic Gardens Conservatory. Architects to receive the award include Australia’s only Pritzker Prize winner, Glenn Murcutt, who has received the Sir Zelman Cowen award or commendation three times since the prize’s establishment. Melbourne-based practice Denton Corker Marshall has picked up four mentions in the past 11 years.

    HASSELL, who win for the third time, received the award for the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link Intermediate Stations in Sydney with the jury noting, “The lasting memory of the Rail Link project is the clever movement through powerful contiguous space. Elegant glass rooms at streetscape give no indication as to the experiential nature of the journey to follow. These stations are designed to prioritise the efficient movement of people while maintaining an evocative architectural environment.”

    National Awards for public architecture were also presented to the joint venture of Woods Bagot and NH Architecture for The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp for the Surry Hills Library and Community Centre in Sydney.

    Set adjacent to the Yarra River and adjoining the existing Melbourne Exhibition Centre, the New Melbourne Convention Centre establishes a critical link with the inner city’s fabric. The elaborate array of internal finishes is a constant source of stimulation and decoration throughout the building offering a unique artistic license rarely found to this extent within the fit-out of a large public building. Located on a busy inner city street front, the Surry Hills Library cleverly accommodates a variety of functions with relative ease and remarkable spatial accuracy. Planning is driven ‘off the back’ of an innovative glazed thermal green wall. The building employs this southern façade to provide soft light and aspect over a small formalised park on all levels above ground.

    The Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture was awarded to Durbach Block Architects for 5-9 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross, Sydney. A tight 92 square meter site, the building has a spacious quality created through its simple, elegant palette, column free space and good daylight penetration. A national award for commercial architecture was also presented to Wood/Marsh Pty Ltd Architecture for Port Philip Estate in Mornington Peninsular, Victoria. 

    The Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage was awarded to Brian Hooper Architect and m3architecture, Architects in Association for the Barcaldine Tree of Knowledge Memorial, in Barcaldine Queensland. In 1891, a small outback Queensland town was the site of an event that shaped Australian history – the great shearers strike which ultimately gave rise to the formation of the Australian Labour Party.  The shearers met under a huge ghost gum in the main street of Barcaldine, the so-called ‘Tree of Knowledge’, which became a symbol of the worker’s struggle. Here architecture rescues the object and preserves, explains and honours the memory in a powerful, haunting, enigmatic structure. This important work demonstrates the transformative power of architecture and the pivotal role good architects can play in public advocacy and community contribution. 

    A National Award for Heritage was presented to architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer with JMD Design and the City of Sydney for their work at Paddington Reservoir Gardens. The original damaged reservoir structures have been stabilized and re-imagined as a much needed and clearly loved urban park and community venue in inner city Paddington. Riddel Architecture also received a National Award for Heritage for the Former West’s Furniture Showroom in Brisbane, a rare example of the restoration of a mid century modernist commercial building.  Designed in 1953 by Karl Langer, the influential Viennese émigré credited for introducing modernism to the sub tropical city. 

    The 2010 Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture was awarded to the Trial Bay House in Tasmania by HBV Architects. It is the first Robin Boyd win for the Hobart-based practice and the first time the award goes to Tasmania.  Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects/Aspect Studios/CAB were awarded The Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Designfor Pirrama Park in Pyrmont Hill, Sydney where a vast, flat harbour-side platform that was most recently the home of the Water Police has been remade as a public park. HASSELL are the 2010 winners of the The Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture for the ANZ Centre in Melbourne, a dynamic workplace and community for 6,000 people at Docklands. Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp was awarded a National Award for Sustainable Architecture for the Surry Hills Library and Community Centre in Sydney. 

    The Australian Pavilion at the 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai, China earned Wood/Marsh Pty Ltd Architecture The Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture. And in one of the most prestigious and meaningful awards, The National 25 Year Award for Enduring Architecturewas awarded to the Department of Public Works/Peter Partridge for the Supreme Court Complex in Hobart, Tasmania. 

    Images and information supplied by Australian Institute of Architects.


    Natural and Organic: Red Dunes Playtopia Video credit: CHENIN Studio

    World Architecture Festival 2022 took place in Lisbon, the 2023 edition will be held from 29 Nov - 1 Dec at Singapore.


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