Harry Seidler and Associates are the winners of this year's National Enduring Architecture Award for the design of Australia Square while the Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture has been taken out by fjmt + Archimedia (architects in association) for the Auckland Art Gallery. The Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture was won by Allen Jack + Cottier Architects for the Milson Island Indoor Sports Stadium.
The National Enduring Architecture Award
Australia Square — Harry Seidler and Associates
The jury said:
"Australia Square established new principles in the design and construction of commercial buildings through the integration of a large public open space at ground level, technological advances in structure and construction, and its distinctive and elegant form on the Sydney skyline.
The much-loved and well-used public space is formed by a street-level plaza that gives access to the commercial tower, and a lower-level plaza defined by the circular tower and a contrasting rectangular plaza building. The public space carefully and strategically connects the site on all four boundaries and the undercroft of the plaza building is a handsome extension of the plaza to the east. The public area includes cafes, fountains and significant artworks and is one of the earliest examples of a welcoming and comfortable public open space on private land.
The structural system incorporated significant technological advances, including tapered exterior columns in precast concrete as permanent formwork, the elegant coffered ceilings of the foyer and first floor, and lightweight concrete. At the time it was built, 1961-1967, the tower was the world’s tallest lightweight concrete building.
Australia Square is the result of the shared vision of the architect Harry Seidler and Lend Lease founder Dick Dusseldorp. It has timeless aesthetic appeal and continues to be regarded as a landmark building and an icon of Australian architecture."
Photography by Harry Seidler
The Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki — fjmt + Archimedia (architects in association)
The jury said:
"The new Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is an extensive public project that includes the restoration and adaption of heritage buildings, a new building extension that more than doubles the public exhibition areas, extensive basement storage and support areas, and the redesign of adjacent areas of Albert Park. On a lengthy and much-scrutinised project, the architects have held their nerve to realise a civic building that Auckland needed, and which the city needed to be very good. The key issue confronted became a big opportunity that was embraced — the Art Gallery’s relationship with Albert Park. The building’s other relationships, with Kitchener Street and with the wider city, have also been pursued successfully, along with the strategy of using the spaces around the building and views into the interior to invite the public into the Art Gallery.
The new building is characterised by a series of fine tree-like canopies that define and cover the entry forecourt, atrium and gallery areas. These elegant, profiled forms, inspired by the adjacent canopy of pohutukawa trees, hover over the stone walls and terraces that reinterpret the natural topography of the site. The ceilings of the canopies are assembled from carefully selected kauri, profiled into precise geometric patterns and supported on slender and tapering shafts. These emblematic forms give the gallery a unique identity that is inspired by the natural landscape of the site.
Between the stepped stone podium and hovering canopies, an openness and transparency is created to allow views through, into and out of the gallery circulation and display spaces, as well as into the green landscape of Albert Park. In this way the gallery opens to the park and adjoining public spaces in an inviting and engaging gesture of welcome."
Photography by John Gollings
The Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture
Milson Island Indoor Sports Stadium — Allen Jack + Cottier Architects
The jury said:
"Located on Milson Island on the Hawkesbury River, this sports stadium has been designed to cater for a children’s residential camp. Nestled into the bushlands that line the edge of an existing oval, the building is sympathetic to its context. Derived from thermodynamic analysis, the large asymmetrical curved roof form sits gently above the ground line. Low-lying windows run the length of the stadium, allowing for intimately scaled transparency through to the landscape beyond. The building frames the existing campfire place and provides a lantern and focus back to the dense bushland.
Generated by the limitations associated with transporting structural components to the island, the expressed steel structure elegantly provides the framework by which the curved roof forms a canopy for occupation. The corrugated curved roof has negated the need for gutters, providing low-level run-off to the edges of the building into a rock garden. This in turn provides a cooling chamber, allowing for natural ventilation to be drawn up into the interior of the building. As the speckled shadows of the landscape camouflage the building’s facade, this building celebrates the scale of its inhabitants and the focus of the island: to be one with the landscape."
Photography by Nic Bailey