Seaspray Resort and Spa by Donovan Hill won the Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture at the AIA's 2010 National Architecture Awards.
Located in an extremely hot climate and in an area of increasing development pressure, Seaspray at Zilzie is a masterful response to a specific locale and program while also positing an adaptable, broadly applicable multi-residential model.
The planning maximizes shared natural landscape by compacting the building to a sinuous edge mirroring the course of the natural creek. The building seems so right it is almost visually absorbed into its place – low slung and modest, the colours natural and shadowy, settling into the vegetation and land forms. While the building politely defers to its neighbours, it has strong individual architectural character and offers real comfort and delight.
Architectural joy is extracted from a modest budget through the application of crafted detail to create the most human enjoyment. Good judgments have been made about resource expenditure, such as prioritizing social space over expensive car accommodation.
In this very hot and dry climate, the narrow townhouses planned tightly on a four-metre-wide grid offer great amenity. Porous ends north-east and south-west offer protected external living zones at both upper and lower levels. A soaring central atrium provides architectural interest and cooling natural cross-ventilation on even the hottest of summer days. Upper-level bedrooms, some of which in these long narrow plans would be internal, open like mezzanines onto the atrium court. The clever spatial configuration encourages flexibility and could allow work from home or residential/commercial opportunities.
The Seaspray apartments are highly successful and popular, have increased the understanding of and desire for the benefits of good architecture, and offer a model for tight, economical and ecologically responsible housing development.
– Jury citation