Monday, November 2, 2009

Australian Institute of Architects 2009 National Architecture Awards

Australia’s major new arts, theatre and ‘culture palaces’ from Canberra to Melbourne to New York, and the architects who designed them, are among major winners at this year’s top architecture awards.

The Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards are the country’s most prestigious annual architecture prizes. The 2009 awards were presented to the nation’s most inspiring recent architectural projects and architects, at a special ceremony in Melbourne on Thursday. A total of 32 awards and commendations across 12 categories were awarded to projects in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT, NSW, Western Australia, South Australia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Presenting the awards and commenting on this year’s winners, Jury Chair and award-winning architect Howard Tanner said: “2009 represented a strong year for architecture, with new benchmarks set in a number of key categories – such as commercial architecture. In public architecture, educational projects spanning primary to tertiary facilities were also outstanding, with many Australian universities now comprehending the need for world class facilities to attract students.”

LEFT: The National Portrait Gallery - Johnson Pilton Walker. Photography: Brett Boardman

Topping the list of winners, is the recipient of Australia’s top annual national architecture award - the 2009 Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture, awarded this year to the National Portrait Gallery in the ACT by Sydney-based practice Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW). In a double win for the firm, the gallery also received a National Architecture Award for Interior Architecture. The gallery is the most recent in a long list of major arts facilities designed by JPW, including the New Asian Galleries at the AGNSW and the Museum of Sydney, and is their first Sir Zelman Cowen Award.


Mr Tanner said: “The monumental concrete edifices of the National Gallery and the High Court dominate this precinct, to which the National Portrait Gallery is the new family member. Smaller, more precious, it seeks to resolve a public presence and public gallery with the intimate, often domestic-scaled nature of portraiture. He added: “The building, while a triumph in cultural terms and popular appreciation, is clearly too small for its public role and purpose – a reflection of contemporary governments’ aspirations and budgets. Government probably never foresaw that this would be an attraction to rival the National Gallery and the War Memorial.” Accordingly, the architects have designed the building for extension to the west in a series of pavilions.

National Awards for Public Architecture were also presented to educational facilities in Sydney and Melbourne - the All Saints Primary School at Belmore in NSW by Angelo Candalepas Associates and the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy by Architectus Melbourne.












Melbourne Recital Centre - Ashton Raggatt McDougall
Photography: John Gollings

Melbourne’s newest and iconic centre for the performing arts – the Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Theatre Project by ARM – was awarded the Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture, with the jury saying “all three performing arts venues achieve a very high standard of architecture in terms of excellent functionality within distinctive and memorable interiors”. They said the complex contains the most significant new performing arts venues in Melbourne, with easy access and effective egress being givens, along with sizeable lobbies and public areas, and a functional back of house. “The most important aspect of the development is the performing arts spaces, their adequacy, sightlines and acoustics. All three are effectively boxes within boxes, isolated from the outside world and the ground to minimise noise and vibration transfer.”


TKTS Booth/Redevelopment of DuffySquare, New York
Choi Ropiha, with Perkins Eastman, PKSB
Photography: John Saeyong Ra

Australia’s top award for international architecture, the Jorn Utzøn Award for International Architecture, was awarded to a small project in one of the ‘largest’, most iconic theatre locations in the world, New York’s Times Square – being awarded to the ‘red steps’ TKTS Booth/Redevelopment of Duffy Square, New York by young Sydney firm Choi Ropiha, with Perkins Eastman, PKSB.







The jury noted the particular strength of this year’s Commercial Architecture, which set new benchmarks in terms of providing exemplary ‘social’ spaces, adaptive re-use, regional architecture and staff accommodation where ‘happiness’ is acknowledged as a business asset.




Ivy | Woods Bagot with Merivale Group and
Hecker Phelan & Guthrie
Photography: Trevor Mein












The Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture was presented to ivy on Sydney’s busy George Street by Woods Bagot, in collaboration with Merivale Group and Hecker Phelan & Guthrie. In a double win, the project also received a National Award for Urban Design, with the jury saying: “The popular palaces of culture – the cinemas, stadia, and pubs and clubs – have, in recent years, rarely presented themselves as high architecture. ivy is a remarkable exception. Part Roman baths, part smart restaurants, part urbane gathering place, it has been fused into the city’s fabric in a presentable and ingenious way.” They added: “Ash Street and Palings Lane (now relocated to advantage) have become vibrant pedestrian thoroughfares, lined with shops, bars and cafes.”

National Awards for Commercial Architecture were also presented to Headquarter Sussan Sportsgirl in Melbourne’s Cremorne by Sydney practice Durbach Block Architects and Bendigo Bank Headquarters in regional Victoria by BVN Architecture + Gray Puksand – with the jury noting that both achieved new benchmarks. Sussan Sportsgirl set new precedents for workplaces, being designed to provide “one place for the client’s family of businesses, her art collection and her love of gardens, where happiness is a business asset, gained through a combination of light, openness, views, art and gardens”.

For the first time in four years, Australia’s most prestigious residential award returned to the nation’s biggest housing market – with the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture - Houses, going to an innovative house on Sydney’s northern beaches – the Freshwater House by young Sydney husband and wife team Tony Chenchow and Stephanie Little of Chenchow Little Architects. In describing the project, a four-bedroom home for a young family of five on a small 332 sq m site, the jury said: “The design provides an outstanding solution for an elevated site, and achieves a private compound, screened from the neighbours, yet open and expansive towards an outdoor lawn terrace, the beach and sea.”




Above left and right: Freshwater House by Chenchow Little
Photography: JohnGollings


In a second major win for the couple, Chenchow Little Architects shared the National Award for Small Project Architecture for the Ang House in Sydney’s Mosman, with young Victorian firm Bellemo & Cat for their Polygreen House in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote.


In a double scoop for fellow young Sydney-based husband and wife team Rachel Neeson and Nick Murcutt of Neeson Murcutt Architecture, the couple received National Awards for Residential Architecture for two strikingly unique houses in NSW and Victoria - the Whale Beach House at Whale Beach in Sydney and Zac’s House at Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsular.





Left and right: Whale Beach House -
Neesun Murcutt Architects
Photography: Brett Boardman











The Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing was presented to Melbourne-based practice Wood Marsh for the 22-storey Balencia Apartments on St Kilda Road in Melbourne. The jury said: “St Kilda Road, conceived as Melbourne’s grand boulevarde, was once lined by imposing houses, now largely replaced by dull high rise buildings. Balencea counters this trend, recognising the importance of its position on a corner site, and the opportunity to achieve intrigue through its fluted form and slenderness, when viewed from certain positions. The architects have demonstrated sensitivity, skill and experience in negotiating an impressive balance between the commercial interests of the client, the comfort and amenity of the occupants and architecture’s responsibility to the public domain. They have created an exemplary model for sophisticated multiple housing in an urban setting.”

The prestigious Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage was this year awarded to the St.Paul’s Cathedral, Conservation of the Fabric, by Falkinger and Andronas, Architects, Heritage Consultants. The jury said: “Gothic cathedrals are complex structures and constructions, requiring careful management and maintenance if they are to survive in good order and serve changing patterns of use. Falkinger and Andronas have been responsible for the conservation of both of Melbourne’s major cathedrals, and at St Paul’s have been involved for over nine years. The decay of the building has been slowed, stormwater failures have been addressed and the building surfaces cleansed, so that we can more readily appreciate the visual qualities of the cathedral as its designers intended.”

An iconic venue in Melbourne, The Sidney Myer Music Bowl by Yuncken, Freeman Brothers, Griffiths and Simpson, received the National 25 Year Award for Enduring Architecture, being described by the jury as “one of the great tent-like suspension structures of the world”, and “a clear indicator of the vibrant creative forces active in Australia circa 1960, that were allowed realisation to great acclaim”. Conserved and upgraded in 2000 by Gregory Burgess Architects, the venue is a “much-loved icon, and part of the social fabric of Melbourne and the nation”.

The Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design has been awarded to the Armory Wharf Precinct at Sydney Olympic Park by Hargreaves Associates, Lahz Nimmo Architects and Lacoste + Stevenson Architects. “The Armory Wharf Precinct is a remarkably attractive park precinct with much-enjoyed, well-designed public facilities. It is a most agreeable place to visit, uncluttered, well resolved, and in harmony with the natural and man-modified landscape.”

The new headquarters for a state water agency in Adelaide - VS1/SA Water Head Office by HASSELL – has received the National Award for Sustainable Architecture. “VS1/SA Water is the first building in South Australia to achieve a GBCA 6 Star Green Star design rating, delivered at competitive market rental. It sets a new benchmark in ESD, promoting best practice for a healthy office environment, with reduced energy usage, waste, and harmful emissions.”

The Colorbond® Award for Steel Architecture was presented to young Sydney-based architect James Stockwell for the Snowy Mountains House overlooking Lake Jindabyne. “James Stockwell’s commission to create a robust, economical house for an extended family carefully addresses issues of climatic extremes, simple maintenance, and sustainable objectives. It has its origins in alpine huts and ski lodges, but here delivered with a straightforward finesse. The house combines autonomy with reasonable construction cost, minimum maintenance, and good longevity, achieving excellent sustainable credentials.”

Complete list of winners
A record 893 projects vied for Australian Institute of Architects state and territory Architecture Awards, with 144 rewarded. Of these, 32 projects and practices have been awarded 2009 National Architecture Awards or Commendations. This year’s winners are:
Public Architecture
The Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture
National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT - Johnson Pilton Walker
National Award for Public Architecture
All Saints Primary School, Belmore, NSW - Candalepas Associates
National Award for Public Architecture
Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy, Monash Uni, VIC – Architectus Melbourne
National Commendation for Public Architecture
Faculty of Law, Library and Teaching Complex, University of Sydney, NSW - Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (fjmt)

Residential Architecture - Houses
The Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture - Houses
Freshwater House, Harbord, NSW - Chenchow Little Architects
National Architecture Award for Residential Architecture – Houses
Zac’s House, Sorrento, Victoria - Neeson Murcutt Architects
National Architecture Award for Residential Architecture – Houses
Whale Beach House, Whale Beach, NSW - Neeson Murcutt Architects
National Commendation for Residential Architecture – Houses
Arm End House, Opossum Bay, Tasmania - Stuart Tanner Architects

Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
The Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing
Balencea Apartments, St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria - Wood Marsh Architecture in association with Sunland Design
National Architecture Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
Pindari, Kensington, NSW - Candalepas Associates
National Commendation for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
Apartments in Cottesloe, Cottesloe, Western Australia - Blane Brackenridge

Commercial Architecture
The Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture
ivy, George Street, Sydney, NSW - Woods Bagot, in collaboration with Merivale Group and Hecker Phelan & Guthrie
National Award for Commercial Architecture
Headquarter Sussan Sportsgirl, Cremorne, Victoria - Durbach Block Architects
National Award for Commercial Architecture
Bendigo Bank Headquarters, Bendigo, Victoria - BVN Architecture + Gray Puksand
National Commendation for Commercial Architecture
HASSELL Warry Street Studio, Fortitude Valley, Queensland - HASSELL

International Architecture
The Jorn Utzøn Award for International Architecture
TKTS Booth/Redevelopment of Duffy Square, New York - Choi Ropiha, Perkins Eastman, PKSB
Award for International Architecture
Qatar Science and Technology Park, Qatar, United Arab Emirates - Woods Bagot
Sustainable Architecture
National Award for Sustainable Architecture
VS1/SA Water Head Office, Adelaide, South Australia - HASSELL
National Commendation for Sustainable Architecture
Bendigo Bank Headquarters, Bendigo, Victoria - BVN Architecture + Gray Puksand
National Commendation for Sustainable Architecture
Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) Headquarters, Ultimo, NSW - Smart Design Studio

Heritage Architecture
The Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage
St Paul’s Cathedral, Conservation of the Fabric, Melbourne, VIC - Falkinger Andronas Architects Heritage Consultants
National Award for Heritage
Wiston Gardens House, Double Bay, NSW - Luigi Rosselli

Urban Design
The Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design
Armory Wharf Precinct, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW – Hargreaves Associates, Lahz Nimmo Architects and Lacoste + Stevenson Architects
National Architecture Award for Urban Design
ivy, Sydney - Woods Bagot in collaboration with Merivale Group and Hecker Phelan & Guthrie
National Commendation for Urban Design
Rundle Lantern, Adelaide, South Australia - BB Architects

Small Project Architecture
National Award for Small Project Architecture
Polygreen, Northcote, Victoria - Bellemo & Cat
National Award for Small Project Architecture
Ang House, Mosman, NSW - Chenchow Little Architects

Interior Architecture
The Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture
Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Theatre Project, Southbank, Victoria - ARM
National Award for Interior Architecture
National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT - Johnson Pilton Walker
National Commendation for Interior Architecture
Jane Foss Russell Building, University of Sydney, NSW - John Wardle Architects in association with Wilson Architects and GHD

National 25 Year Award for Enduring Architecture
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Victoria - Yuncken, Freeman Brothers, Griffiths and Simpson

Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture
Snowy Mountains House, Snowy Mountains, NSW - James Stockwell Architect:



For more information visit www.architecture.com.au

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