National Architecture Awards Finalists Announced

Launching the largest awards program of its kind in the world, the National Architecture Festival – run by the Australian Institute of Architects – has announced its shortlist of 60 architectural projects from around Australia and the world.

Shortlisted by an eminent jury headed by past AIA president Shelley Penn and including Richard Hassell and Hannah Tribe, projects fall under the categories of urban, commercial, heritage, interior, public, international, residential (houses or multiple housing), small project, sustainable and the sponsored Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture. Below, we detail some extraordinary examples of Australian and international architecture.

Synchrotron Monash University Clayton Australia
Commercial Architecture

The Commercial category varies widely, including anything from office buildings like Brisbane’s One One One Eagle Street to Mountain Retreat Medical Centre in Tasmania. One of our favourites is the National Centre for Synchrotron Science (NCSS) at Melbourne’s Monash University in Clayton (above), built to represent the Australian face of the Synchrotron, a 3GeV light machine used to create an electron beam that travels close to the speed of light. The centre’s pearlescent polycarbonite facade and glowing, light-filled interior were designed by Sydney firm Bates Smart who kept in mind the concept of a structure built to house revolutionary science.linebreak

McIntyre Drive
Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing

Affordable and social housing has a strong presence in the shortlist, with the Constance Street Affordable Housing project by Cox Raynor and McIntyre Drive Social Housing Altona (above) by MGS Architecture making it into the top five. MGS received The Best Overend Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing at this year’s Victorian Architecture Awards for the project, with the jury noting that “social sustainability has been deeply considered… resulting in a non-institutional response that provides an exemplar for social housing and homes for many clearly happy residents.”
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Lilyfield Warehouse
Interior Architecture

This transformed warehouse space in Lilyfield (above) made the interiors shortlist for the creative solutions taken by Virginia Kerridge to transform the 200m+ space into a family home. Other notable finalists were the Hamer Hall redevelopment by ARM Architecture (also a finalist in the Heritage Architecture category) and the Meeting Room St Mary’s Cathedral Centre by Circa Morris-Nunn in Tasmania.linebreak

Silverhouse
International Architecture

We don’t envy the jury’s having to choose the seven finalists in the International Architecture category. Though it must’ve been tough, they managed to narrow the list down to lauded projects like Sydney architect Andrew Burns’ Australia House in Japan and Ian Moore Architects 387 Tamaki Drive residence in Auckland, which are up against the likes of Singapore luxury building Martin No.38 and sustainable family home the Sobieski House by Konig Eizenberg Architects. One of the most interesting of the shortlisted is the prototype Silver House (above) in the town of Cherepovets, Russia, that finds sustainable solutions to energy consumption, such as an internal thermal wall that acts as a heat bank.linebreak

Swanston Academic Building
Public Architecture

The Swanston Academic Building (above) by Lyons was a necessary inclusion to the lineup for its palpable impact on the Melbourne CBD skyline. Other noteworthy finalists include the Perth Arena by ARM Architecture and Camron Chisolm Nichol, designed for crowds of up to 12,000, and  Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School’s Infinity Centre, which, along with being aesthetically compelling, is rich with cultural metaphor.

Ballmain House
Residential Architecture – Houses

Reuse and redesign dominate the residential houses category, with a repurposed cowshed in Sydney, adapted prewar Brisbane home, and beach house made of recycled materials all making it to the shortlist. Similarly, the light-filled Balmain House by Fox Johnson (above) built upon an existing structure, developing a light-filled family home around an original workers’ cottage with glass and faceted timber.linebreak

Thirdwave Kiosk
Small Project Architecture

Tony Hobba Architects crafted a uniquely Australian piece of architecture in their Third Wave Kiosk (above), a finalist in the Small Project category. Inspired by the eroding force of the ocean, the kiosk has a skin of rusting steel whose oxidising patina camouflages the sculptural form into the landscape. The Keperra House by Atelier Chen Hung – a loving reinterpretation of the traditional granny flat – and the Abbortsford Convent Breezeway by Jackson Clements Burrows also made it into the shortlist.linebreak

Glebe Cowshed
Sustainable Architecture

The Cowshed House by Caterwilliamson Architects in Sydney’s Glebe (above) was awarded a spot in the sustainability category for its imaginative reworking of a 19th-century cowshed in timber and corrugated metal. Sydney’s sweeping Darling Quarter complex also made the list, as did Charles Wrightson Architects’ (-) Glass House, which is a “re-presentation” of Phillip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan Conneticut, USA.linebreak

Flinders Street Revitalisation
Urban Design

Perth’s Brookfield Place building by Hassell, which has made an obvious impact on the city’s skyline, was a clear choice for the urban category. Also included were the redevelopment of Townsville’s Flinders Street (above) – a project that transformed an ineffective pedestrian mall developed in the 1980s into a once-again trafficable street. linebreak

West Kimberley Regional Prison
Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture

The West Kimberley Regional Prison (above) is not just well designed for a building of its particular use, but was impressive enough to be shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival Awards. Other significant projects include RMIT’s new Design Hub by Sean Godsell Architects, which was built for students and the general public to engage with design through exhibitions and creative projects.

Sydney Opera House will host the National Architecture Awards ceremony on Thursday 7 November following a range of public events celebrating the landmark’s 40th anniversary

Words: Dijana Kumurdian
Photography: John Gollings (Hamer Hall), Peter Bennetts (NCAA, West Kimberley), Trevor Mein (McIntyre Drive), Michael Nicholson (Lilyfield), Peter Stutchbury (Silver House), John Gollings (Swanston Academic Building), Brett Boardman (Balmain, Cowshed), Rory Gardiner (Third Wave Kiosk), Angus Martin (Flinders Street).

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