The new TransGrid Headquarters on 180 Thomas Street, Sydney has been announced the joint-winner of the 2015 World Architecture News (WAN) Commercial Award.

Designed by Bates Smart and completed in 2014, the new TransGrid Headquarters was awarded alongside the new Pearl Izumi North American Corporate Headquarters (PINACH) designed by Arch11 Inc. | ZGF Architects LLP and situated in Louisville, Colorado.

Although completely different on most accounts, both projects were commended for their clever response to site specific challenges and were announced inseparable by the jury.

The PINACH received attention for its immersed response to the surrounding rural landscape, while Bates Smart’s adaptive reuse of the TransGrid’s existing four-storey brick plinth was celebrated as a clever urban repair by the jury.

“The rest of the projects have merits but these two stand out,” said Jury member Jacqueline Beckingham of Benoy Architects (UK).

“I think I would like the PINACH to win just because I think it is a beautiful response to the landscape and it is just so elegant and refined but I think that the Bates Smart TransGrid Headquarters is so clever it’s hard to say it shouldn’t be a winner also.”

More on TransGrid Headquarters, Sydney by Bates Smart

Earle Arney, Director of Arney Fender Katsalis (UK) and WAN jury member, also said that it was difficult to split the two projects.

“It’s quite a challenge isn’t it, I really appreciate the problem solving of the PINACH and I think it’s very clear and I am really taken by the shaping of Bates Smart TransGrid Headquarters spatially and formerly, the interlink of the landscape and the product,” he said.

“It’s quite interesting looking at the PINACH juxtaposed to the Bates Smart TransGrid Headquarters. There is quite a delight to PINACH, there is rusting cladding, open fields, mountains and its almost exotic because it’s so unfamiliar to us yet the Transgrid Headquarters is an urban repair which is a challenge in itself and very well executed indeed.”

The Transgrid and PINACH fought off competition from four other shortlisted which also included Sydney’s 8 Chifley by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Lippmann Partnership.  

Image credits:

  • Pearl Izumi North American Corporate Headquarters Raul J. Garcia
  • TransGrid Headquarters, Sydney, Brett Boardman