RAIA Awards 2000

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of projects now taking environmental issues as key motivating factors - a university building, childcare facilities at Darwin Hospital, an hotel in rural South Australia and the Lighting Towers at Homebush.
The large number of houses present in the awards list (one third of all awards) proves yet again that the single detached house is alive and well as a site of innovation and excellence. Denton Corker Marshall have won the Robin Boyd Award for the second consecutive year, this time for the Emery Residence at Cape Schanck. The jury made four housing commendations,and the awards for Interior and Recycling also go to domestic projects - in both cases for the architect’s own residence. Would the results have been any different had not Field Associates’ overtly experimental Holyoake Cottage, unanimous winner of both the Victorian Architecture Medal and the Harold Desbrowe-Annear Award, been withdrawn by the architects? Tangentyere Design’s Lolly Houses, which address complex social and cultural issues and won the Northern Territory’s Tracey Memorial Award and President’s Award, are also absent from the national awards list.
In addition to the twenty-one honours within established categories, the jury made two special awards, both to multiple housing projects. Harry Seidler received a Special Jury Award for International Practice for his Wohnpark Neue Donau public housing, sited over an eight-lane autobahn in Vienna. In addition to recognising the power of the Viennese project, the award marks Seidler’s ongoing international contribution to architecture, and the "tenacity and commitment" with which he pursues his work.
The Newington Apartments at Homebush also received a Special Jury Award.In its verdict, the jury makes a case for establishing a new named award, to be known as the Romberg Award. This would complement the Robin Boyd Award, which invariably goes to a detached, single- family house. The Romberg award would recognise excellence in multiple housing, a major growth area, and would acknowledge Australia’s history in this area - epitomised by the work of Frederick Romberg. We shall see whether the RAIA takes the jury up on this idea.

If the state of Australian architecture can be measured by the experiences of this year’s national awards jury, then the profession is in good heart. With "senses fully charged", John Mainwaring, Bob Nation, Nigel Shaw and Peter Ward visited thirty buildings. They were not disappointed. Nigel Shaw, the jury chair comments that all the projects were of an outstanding quality, and all tested boundaries and resolved complex architectural issues. For the jury the "incredibly high" standard also reaffirmed the importance and value of the state award programs. With so many projects fulfilling - indeed exceeding - standard judging criteria, the jury turned to the experiential, to the architecture’s "sensual effect" to discriminate. In the end twenty-three awards were made, Shaw describes all honoured projects as, "very, very refined, very well considered".
The jury were "more than impressed" by the way the larger work went beyond often-complex locations to explore the "feeling" of the projects. They felt that the public and commercial work clearly fulfilled the ambitions and opportunities given to them. On four occasions these opportunities were provide by universities, demonstrating the continuing contribution made by educational institutions to architectural excellence in the public realm. Two projects for the University of New South Wales picked up awards: the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for MGT’s Scientia and the ESD /EED Award for the Languages Institute.RMIT’s Urban Spaces Project by Peter Elliott received the Walter Burley Griffin Award, while John Wardle’s Printing Facility at the same institution was one of two commendations for public buildings.
The work submitted in the EED and ESD category elicited a special jury comment. "The need for energy efficiency and ecologically sustainable development is increasingly determining planning and design strategies world wide and such imperatives are becoming more urgent and insistent in all climatic zones,environments and economic orders.This year’s named award and the three commendations illustrate just how imaginative,lateral and varied Australian ESD /EED approaches can be." All four projects visited in this category received awards. They reflect the wide range



Published online: 1 Nov 2000


Architecture Australia, November 2000

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