Allen Jack+Cottier (AJ+C) has overcome an international field of contenders to win the Sport in Architecture Award at the 2018 World Architecture News (WAN) Awards in London.   

AJ+C's winning project, the Judith Poole Sports Hall and playing fields at Abbotsleigh School in Sydney's leafy Wahroonga beat five other finalists vying for the prestigious award. 

Already a multi-award winner, the project comprises a new multi-purpose sports hall, elevated sports field, fitness room, large flexible teaching/dance studio spaces, tiered spectator seating, amenities, viewing areas, and two large undercover car parks. Its location adjacent to the existing aquatic centre and sports oval consolidates the sporting precinct of the School.

Image: AJ+C

Principal architect and CEO of AJ+C Michael Heenan attended the award presentation in London accompanied by the building's namesake Abbotsleigh retired headmistress Judith Poole.

"To see our sensitive building that sits lightly in its native Australian environment up against internationally acclaimed buildings such as the mega San Mames Stadium in Bilbao was incredible, so it was almost overwhelming when it was announced as the winner," says Heenan.

Heenan accepted the award on behalf of the AJ+C team who started working on the building in 2012 following a three-year master planning phase. The building was completed in 2015.

During the shortlisting process the judging panel commented:  

"It's scale is appropriate within the context. It's got large volumed spaces that have been particularly well handled," says Tom Jones, senior principal, Populous, while Rasti Bartek , partner at Cundall says that "It's well placed in the landscape and so well considered." 

The other finalists included the Golden 1 Centre in Sacramento USA by AECOM, City Football Academy in Manchester UK by Rafael Vinoly Architects and the Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France by Populous.