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    Tasmanian first as MONA takes top 2012 National Architecture Awards honours

    Tasmania’s unique MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) by Fender Katsalidis has been awarded the Australian Institute of Architects’ most coveted National Architecture Award for 2012.

    The project was given the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture, the first time in the Awards’ 31 year history that a Tasmanian project has received award which is considered the Institute’s highest honour for a project.

    In all, 33 projects were recognised at the 2012 Awards, which were held in the Midland Railway Workshops in Perth.

    The jury called MONA a “powerful and entertaining experience for displaying and engaging with art that theatrically delivers visitors to a sandstone-walled space within a steel container that is already weathering inexorably into the landscape – creating one of the best examples in the country of the benefits of cultural tourism”.

    The Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture: MONA – Museum of Old and New Art by Fender Katsalidis. Image by Leigh Carmichael.

    “A lodging of pure poetry that harmonises completely with its rural setting’ was honoured with The Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture – Houses. The Shearer’s Quarters by John Wardle Architects ‘provides accommodation for travelling shearers as well as rural contractors and JWA staff and has a wonderful sense of spirit, tactility and purpose’.

    The Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture – Houses: The Shearer’s Quarters by John Wardle Architects. Image by Trevor Mein.


    Key award winners include:


    (Click here for a full list of winners).

    Reflecting on the task of identifying the most outstanding projects Jury Chair, Brian Zulaikha noted ‘these projects should embody best practice principles, showcase sustainable solutions and ultimately go on to become part of our architectural history’.

    ‘We travelled the suburbs of Fremantle, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Brisbane, where architects had found a link to their own ideas and created meaningful contributions to the broader community. With poetics of space and materials the winners have enriched our communities, and skilfully advocated for the quality of our profession and our professionalism.’

    The 2012 National Awards jury consisted of Immediate Past President Brian Zulaikha (Jury Chair), Kerry Hill, Richard Johnson, Amy Muir and Juliana Engberg.

    Celebrating excellence in architecture, the National Architecture Awards are the most prestigious awards in the design and construction industry, influencing architects, clients and aspiring designers alike.

    The Institute is also launching an official iPad app that serves both members and the wider community. The Aus Inst Arch iPad app is now available for download at

    This app is free to download and showcases the 2012 National Awards, providing hot off the press news on national winners as the night unfolds, and updates on other Institute news, events and services.

    The app will also host an array of video content, images and resources post awards event.

    A special exhibition showcasing shortlisted projects will be held at the Gallery of Australian Design in Canberra from Thursday 8 November until Saturday 1December. Architects will be exhibiting their projects in a way they have never been seen before - including creative installations, sculptures, finely crafted models, sketches, animations, videos and much more. Also exhibited will be entrants from the National Architecture Awards Short Film competition, Archiflick.

    The Institute will shortly launch the third volume in a series of ten publications that illustrate design excellence, in the form of INSPIRE 2012. This beautifully presented book catalogues the 2012 state, territory and national award-winners and commendations. It celebrates what architects and clients can and do achieve together through tenacious commitment to quality in their projects.

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