1999 RAIA National Awards

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting

 




TWENTY HONOURS – AN UNUSUALLY GENEROUS NUMBER – HAVE BEEN BESTOWED BY THIS YEAR’S RAIA NATIONAL AWARDS JUDGES, DESPITE ROBUST DEBATE BEHIND THE SCENES BEFORE THE DINNER PRESENTATION IN MELBOURNE ON OCTOBER 15.
  AS WIDELY PREDICTED, MURCUTT LEWIN LARK’S BOYD CENTRE AT RIVERSDALE, NSW, WON THE SIR ZELMAN COWEN AWARD FOR PUBLIC BUILDINGS: BELIEVED TO BE A UNANIMOUS CHOICE.
  BUT THE ROBIN BOYD HOUSING CATEGORY PRODUCED SURPRISES. ALL THE NAMED HOUSING AWARDS AT STATE LEVEL WERE TOPPED BY TWO SCHEMES WHICH HAD EARLIER MERELY WON MERITS: DENTON CORKER MARSHALL’S SHEEP FARM HOUSE IN THE HILLS OF KYNETON, VICTORIA, AND JAHN ASSOCIATES’ GRANT HOUSE RENOVATIONS IN SURRY HILLS, SYDNEY.
  ONE COMMENDATION WAS GIVEN TO TROPPO’S THIEL HOUSE (WINNER OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY’S TRACY AND BURNETT AWARDS) BUT HARRY SEIDLER’S HORIZON TOWER IN SYDNEY, KERSTIN THOMPSON’S BEACH HOUSE AT APOLLO BAY, VICTORIA, DONALDSON & WARN’S PERTH TOWNHOUSES AND PHILLIP FOLLENT’S HOME OFFICE IN QUEENSLAND WERE OVERLOOKED BY THE NATIONAL JURY.
  JUDGES GRAHAM HUMPHRIES (CHAIR), JENNIFER TAYLOR, KERRY CLARE AND MARK WAKELY SEEM TO HAVE SOUGHT TO MEND WOUNDS AND PERCEPTIONS OF UNGENEROSITY BY SOME STATE JURIES – BUT CURRENT AWARDS POLICIES OFFICIALLY RESTRAINED THEM FROM SEEING PROJECTS WHICH DIDN’T GET TO THE TOP STATE LEVELS.
   NEVERTHELESS, THE JURY BATTLED THROUGH ONE PROJECT WHICH IT THOUGHT WAS UNFAIRLY DIMINISHED IN MELBOURNE: DENTON CORKER MARSHALL’S CITY LINK FREEWAY. AFTER SOME BUZZY PHONE HOOK-UPS TO DISCUSS RAIA RULES VERSUS JURY INDEPENDENCE, CITY LINK WAS GIVEN A SPECIAL JURY AWARD – WHICH PERHAPS CAN BE INTERPRETED IN COINCIDENCE WITH THE ABSENCE OF A WALTER BURLEY GRIFFIN AWARD FOR CIVIC DESIGN. (A COMMENDATION FOR CIVIC DESIGN WAS AWARDED TO THE ELIZABETH STREET PIER REFURBISHMENT IN HOBART BY HEFFERNAN BUTTON VOSS.)
OTHER NOTABLE POINTS ABOUT THIS YEAR’S AWARDS: • TASMANIA WON TWO HONOURS AND QUEENSLAND BUILDINGS WON FOUR, BUT NOTHING GOES TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA OR WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
• PERTH’S HACKETT HALL REFURBISHMENT, BY COX
HOWLETT & BAILEY WOODLAND, WAS HELD OVER FOR JUDGING NEXT YEAR BECAUSE JURY CHAIR GRAHAM HUMPHRIES DID NOT WANT TO EXPLOIT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST WITH HIS WORK AT COX HUMPHRIES MOSS IN CANBERRA.
• MELBOURNE’S DENTON CORKER MARSHALL AND DARYL JACKSON WON THREE HONOURS EACH.
• ALTHOUGH SYDNEY RECENTLY HAS BEEN THE FOCUS OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT BUILDING BOOM IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY, ITS STATE JURIES OF THE 1990s HAVE REGULARLY REFUSED TO HONOUR THE ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY OF MAJOR CIVIC BUILDINGS AND UP-MARKET RESIDENCES. AGAIN THIS YEAR, THE NATIONAL JURY WAS OFFERED ONLY A FEW ELIGIBLE WORKS IN SYDNEY.
• TWO INTERNATIONAL AWARDS GO TO A SINGAPORE SHOPHOUSE CONVERSION BY WOHA DESIGN WITH WH ARCHITECTS AND 20 YEARS OF WORK IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA BY DAVID WEEK, KEN COSTIGAN AND IAIN STEVENSON.
• ESD PRINCIPLES ARE BEING APPLIED CONVINCINGLY IN MANY AWARDS PROJECTS, BUT MOST DEVELOPERS ARE CONTINUING TO INSTALL AIR-CON.
• ALL AWARD-WINNERS IN THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS CATEGORY ARE EDUCATION-RELATED. THREE OF THE FOUR HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED BY UNIVERSITIES.
• THE RAIA AGAIN HAS AVOIDED USING THE PROFESSIONAL TERM ‘ENGINEER’ IN ITS AWARDS CREDITS: INSTEAD DESCRIBING THESE PROJECT COLLEAGUES AS SPECIALIST ‘CONSULTANTS’. THIS MIGHT SET AN AGENDA FOR FUTURE INDUSTRY REFERENCE TO ‘ARCHITECTURAL CONSULTANTS’ IN LINE WITH STRUCTURAL, MECHANICAL, ACOUSTIC AND ELECTRICAL CONSULTANTS. IT ALSO SIGNALS INSTITUTE RECOGNITION OF MULTI-DISCIPLINE DESIGN TEAMS AND EQUAL-PARTNER ALLIANCES.
  ALL THE NATIONAL AWARDS, DATING BACK TO 1981, ARE ACCESSIBLE ON THE RAIA WEB SITE – ARCHITECTURE.COM.AU – A REMARKABLY GOOD RESOURCE FOR BOTH CONTENT AND DESIGN. THE INSTITUTE HAS APPOINTED KEN MILNE, SA PAST PRESIDENT, TO CHAIR A GROUP TO REVIEW NATIONAL JUDGING PROCESSES, WITH RECOMMENDATIONS TO BE APPLIED FROM 2001. AT RAIA.COM.AU, A POLL OF SITE VISITORS’ VIEWS ON JUDGING CRITERIA CONCLUDED THAT 59% SUPPORT DESIGN EXCELLENCE AND 35% WANT EXCELLENCE CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO THE STANDARD OF THE BEST ENTRIES RECEIVED EACH YEAR.
–DAVINA JACKSON

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Published online: 1 Nov 1999

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Architecture Australia, November 1999

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