Think Brick Australia has announced the winners of its 2011 awards, with architects ARM (Ashton Raggatt McDougall) taking the top prize.

The awards team encouraged Australian architects, builders and students to begin a journey of creativity with brick as the basis for their inspiration.

The 2011 About Face competition invited six architectural practices renowned for their commitment to research and innovation to use brick to re-imagine the Australian suburban space as a sustainable interface between public and private, in an effort to recover the potential amenities lost in the disappearance of the suburban backyard.

Melbourne and Perth Architects ARM (Ashton Raggatt McDougall) won for their design ‘which translated brick as a social metaphor for an integrated, well ordered, and whole society’.

Inspired by the idea that brick should somehow embody a civic quality, their winning submission sought to rediscover those forgotten spaces in suburbia and recreate them as a public place. Called “In a Roundabout way…”, the conceptual project design takes the humble suburban roundabout, often a blackhole of useless space, and converts it into a community centre.

The Think Brick Horbury Hunt Awards celebrate the use of brick in built projects, including residential, commercial, outdoor, and reuse projects.

The awards celebrate the amazing things that can happen when architectural vision combines with engineers, landscape architects, builders, masonry contractors, and brick manufacturers working together as a team.

This year’s winners include:

  • The Residential and Reuse category which was won by Matthew Gribben (Matthew Gribben Architects) for his clever re-visioning of a former builder’s yard into a 21st century home.

  • McBride Charles Ryan Architects won the Commercial award with an imaginative extension to the Federation surroundings of Penleigh and Essendon Junior Boys School in Victoria (pictured below).

  • The judges awarded the Outdoor category to Adrian Spence and Ingrid Richards of Richards and Spence Architects’ ‘The Corner Shop’ in Toowong QLD, an innovative public outdoor space that employed brick in surprisingly integrative ways.

This year also saw the introduction of the Open Face Award for conceptual design — welcoming submissions for a model dwelling that met the sustainable suburbia brief.

The judges awarded joint winners: Andrew Burgess’ fascinating Rosebery suburban design features a low scale, intensive footprint, hybrid block as a theoretical model for alternate patterns of housing, while Rana Aboud’s Vault House uses brick to rethink the suburban lot as a private, environmentally responsible space for the future.

The About Face Student Award aims to support and encourage excellent conceptual design from a new generation of architectural visionaries.

This year’s theme required students to conceptualise architectural projects that would engage with the suburban by envisioning a future that embraces increased densities while also accepting our established desire to engage with suburban life.

Special commendations went to:

  • Joshua Mulford and Sheng Qiang’s (UNSW) “15 Degrees” concept design
  • Seung Hyuk Choi’s (University of Melbourne) “The Market Home.”

The University competition — instigated by Curtin & RMIT University saw top students from each university compete against each other using their major projects brief created by their lectures as the competition platform.

The Winner was Hugo Woaye-Hune’s (Curtin University) imaginative conceptual design, “The Vestige”.

Special commendations went to:

  • Euterpe Platritis’ (Curtin University) poetic design — “Portraits of a Constructed Landscape”
  • Quang Duy Dang’s (RMIT)

Elizabeth McIntyre, CEO, Think Brick Australia said: “The Think Brick Awards have become the centerpiece of our campaign to encourage Australian architects to re-think brick.

In 2011 the awards evolved to include the new Open Face Award, a conceptual design competition for all architects. 2011 has seen a record number of entries in every category and I am thrilled that the architectural community is embracing the awards explains.

It is especially promising to see such exceptional new talent emerging from our universities and it is our aim to encourage not only established architects to see the versatility and design potential of brick but also to foster the architects of the future.”