Local projects lauded in National Architecture Awards
Two outstanding buildings in the Geelong region have received the highest praise in this year’s National Architecture Awards.
Announced earlier this month, the awards run by the Australian Institute of Architects highlight Australia’s most innovative, sustainable and inspirational homes, commercial and community buildings.
The AIA says the 2023 edition of the awards particularly showcases the exemplary work being done in the nation’s regional areas.
This is typified by the National Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) going to Spring Creek Road Farm House, Bannockburn by Architect Brew Koch; and AB House in Barwon Heads by Office Mi-Ji winning the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture.
Built in a paddock in the Golden Plains, Spring Creek Road Farm House was one of three winners in its category.
The judging panels’s citation noted the building was “tucked in among working farmland” and “looks, from a distance, like a piece of farm infrastructure”.
“But as you get closer, it becomes apparent that something else entirely is at play.
“Sitting on a modest, off-grid footprint, this home is a lesson in providing just enough: just enough space, just enoughncomfort, just enough light, and – with its carefully curated views – just enough aspect.
“In one direction, farmland and sky; in another, a pocket of native forest; and westward, a virgin patch of reforestation that one imagines will soon be a wildlife corridor.
“This calm and beautifully simple house represents a triumph of economy of materials and finishes. Details that could easily look unfinished – cement sheeting, unsupported openings, stud walls naked at the ends – do not.
“The architect/client worked closely with the builder, who clearly accepted the challenge with alacrity. From the beautiful screw layouts, to the gutter/spitter gracefully discharging to the water tank, to the myriad of carefully crafted junctions, you can feel the love at every turn.”
For the Colourband Award for Steel Architecture, the judges observed the back streets of Barwon Heads had “become something of a proving ground for adventurous architecture”.
“Beach houses often provide the right mix of freedom and ambition to allow relatively modest budgets to shine.
“They need to be robust enough to deal with sun, wind, sand and salt, but they also need to be adaptable enough to accommodate guests, with spaces that enable people to come together as well as to retreat.
”A perfect example, AB House achieves this with the addition of a guest ‘wing’ at the rear, connected via an inset central deck.
“Striking a wonderful balance between embracing the honest use of simple materials and providing modern amenity, this is a grown-up fibro beach shack.
“Faced with a flood-prone site requiring an elevated floor plate, the architect has taken maximum advantage of the benefits of steel to design a graceful, lightweight structure that sits confidently above the landscape.
“Small-format corrugated steel is interwoven with corrugated fibreglass, all framed in an exposed galvanized frame.
“The result is a consistent, familiar language that still feels innovative. Internally, the galvanized upper-floor frame is pulled back to allow light to wash down the walls and the upstairs bedroom to float above.”
The 47 winners and commendations at this year’s National Architecture Awards were chosen from a shortlist of more than 70 of Australia’s leading architecturral projects by a jury of industry experts.
Chair of the jury, Shannon Battissonm said the winning projects could be seen as a point of inspiration to Australians at a time of environmental and
“Australia is in the depths of a once-in-a-generation housing crisis and a climate crisis.
“We are in dire need of new approachers to our built environment, and this year the jury were united in our desire to seek out and draw attention to the best examples of design innovation in the country.
“There was a shared respect for what we wanted the awards to sa about the broader climate, sustainability and culture situation.
“Our hope was to send a message to all Australians about where our industry should be going in terms of sustainability, learning and listening to Country.”
The Australian Institute of Architects 2023 National Architecture Awards were presented at a gala event at the National Gallery of Australia on October 31.
For a gallery of winners and commendations and more information, head to architecture.com.au/awards/2023-awards