An introduction to the May/June 2016 issue of Architecture Australia.
This issue of Architecture Australia announces the recipients of the Australian Institute of Architects 2016 Gold Medal – Stephen Ashton, Howard Raggatt and Ian McDougall of ARM Architecture. Our tribute is the centrepiece of Architecture Australia’s presentation of the 2016 Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards. This esteemed group of individuals, contributors to society through architecture and the built environment, was revealed in Adelaide on 29 April.
The Gold Medal recognizes Stephen, Howard and Ian’s individual and collective achievements across the practice and discipline of architecture. The jury citation, insightful essays and personal anecdotes presented in this issue tell the story of ARM Architecture and the influence of the practice’s protagonists and built works on the progress of Australian architecture, culture and urbanity.
The gold medal is used across the arts, sciences and sports to denote distinguished achievement and in each discipline or endeavour this has its own particular designation. A gold medal invokes the ancient meaning and ongoing currency of this prized metal as a metaphor for human accomplishment. In Australian architecture, the Gold Medal is the eclat that comes through practice at the highest level, be that executed through buildings, advancement or advocacy. The rollcall of winners (1960–2016) is a list of practitioners who have excelled across these three mediums. The achievements of Australian architecture’s Gold Medal cohort provides an insight into the relationship between the mediums and messages of architectural practice.
The propinquity between the well delivered and the well argued also has a useful “golden” metaphor – though not as well known as either the Gold Medal for Australian architecture or the Olympic gold medal for the 100 metres freestyle. In Christian tradition John Chrysostom (ca. 349–407), the church father and Archbishop of Constantinople, is known as the “golden mouthed” saint. The name Chrysostom is an epithet translated from Greek and pays tribute to Chrysostom’s eloquent and coherent sermons. The “golden mouth” is an intriguing metaphor that speaks of a compelling coalescence between the medium and the message of a faith, discipline or movement. It is also a useful way of thinking about the mediums of practice (buildings, advancement or advocacy) as the manifestation of a set of personal or collective convictions (about architecture et al). Each year, the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal provides an opportunity to reflect on the way these manifestos shape the built environment.
The May/June issue contains the following peer-reviewed projects:
- Point Lonsdale House. With this house at Point Lonsdale on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, NMBW Architecture Studio has cleverly arranged rooms and non-rooms under a striking roof form. Review by Paul Walker.
- Kempsey Crescent Head Surf Life Saving Club. Neeson Murcutt Architects has designed an approachable building that engages with the public domain for this new surf lifesaving club on New South Wales’ mid-north coast. Review by Katelin Butler.
- Western BACE. Six Degrees Architects references De Stijl and late modernism in its design of this business accelerator for the burgeoning community of Melton, west of Melbourne. Review by Des Smith.
- Novartis Head Office. HDR Rice Daubney’s design for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Macquarie Park, Sydney provides staff and visitors with a complex, layered and dramatic experience. Review by Sing d’Arcy.