Philip Hopkins July 02, 2012
The Ormond College academic centre.
REGIONAL projects received their fair share of the spoils at the 2012 Victorian Architecture Awards, when 65 prizes were awarded from 260 entries.
The new Royal Children's Hospital was the clear winner, taking out three of the top prizes. All the winners will now progress to the National Architecture Awards to be held in Perth on November 1.
Regional projects were among the big winners. This year's Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture, which honours the creative, innovative use of steel in architecture, was awarded to The Annexe, Art Gallery of Ballarat, by Searle and Waldron.
The judges said the pavilion engaged directly with the sculpture plaza; when closed it provided protection from the climate. ''Searle and Waldron's small intelligent architecture is a skilful study in design with steel which achieves a transformation of the urban environment to create a sophisticated sense of place,'' they said.
The New Hammond Fellowship Centre in Warrnambool, designed by Harmer Architecture, took out this year's Regional Prize, with the jury describing the project as ''a new reason to turn to religion''.
The building was an architectural gem, ''sculpted from the colours, textures and materials of history as it sits elegantly against the historic Anglican Christ Church''. ''Harmer Architecture has created an architecture that is as relevant now as it will be in the future. Weddings, parties, anything, are what this brave new building is all about,'' the judges said.
The Sir Osborn McCutcheon Award for Commercial Architecture again went to NHArchitecture, this year for their Saltwater Coast Lifestyle Centre, a ''sophisticated and welcoming building that uses materials and forms immediately at home'' in the coastal landscape of Melbourne's west.
Setting new standards in education design at Ormond College Academic Centre, McGlashan Everist took home both the 2012 Marion Mahony Award for Interior Architecture and the 2012 John George Knight Award for Heritage Architecture.
''The project is an outstanding piece of architecture which improves the already highly valued original 1961 Frederick Romberg octagonal design of the MacFarland Library,'' the jury said.
''Through a deep understanding of structure, materiality and context, every part of the building has been skilfully reworked to make a dynamic, light-filled and thoroughly beautiful, even playful space.''
In the interior design category, the jury said Ormond College was a thoroughly contemporary learning space, ''flexible and transformable, supporting a variety of learning modes in an exquisite, truly uplifting space''. The project had set a new standard in education design, the judges said.
Architecture awards in the Urban Design category went to Six Degrees Architects for the Boatbuilders Yard. The jury said the reconstructed Boat Builders Shed 4, South Wharf, seamlessly integrated with the maritime precinct at the Yarra's edge.
''Pavilions, pedestrian permeability and varied deck levels reflect an urban design strategy of delivering intimacy within this highly exposed site,'' the judges said.
Peter Elliott Architecture and Urban Design also won an award for the RMIT University Lawn Precinct, which the jury said transformed a forgotten space into a richly layered urban realm, providing a moment of calm and delight in the heart of the city.
In Commercial Architecture, the architecture award winners included:
■ Hassell for the Dandenong Government Services Office. Humanising the environment had created a ''hybrid commercial/institutional structure with a series of feature-rich interior environments''.
■ Folk Architects for Medhurst Winery, a ''sensitive and delightful'' design.
In Public Architecture, the awards included:
■ Lyons for the Melbourne Brain Centre, ''a visible and memorable expression of scientific endeavour'', where ''the brain is adopted as an abstract metaphor for the inventive architecture - layers of facade and structure allude to layers of skin, bone and grey matter''.
■ Minifie van Schaik for the Edithvale Discovery Centre, which ''appears … like a strange creature perched above the swamp grass''. ''The deep patterned concrete, eccentric window forms and blasts of colour add to the sense of discovery.''
■ BVN Architecture for the Narbethong Community Hall, rebuilt after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, ''an enduring and positive legacy for its community''.