A new administration building at a state high school, a food and drink venue that challenges conventional drive-through models and a non-traditional arts-themed aged care facility are among the winners announced at the Australian Institute of Architects Central Queensland Regional Architecture Awards in Rockhampton last week.

The Awards Jury celebrated the innovative and thoughtful work of architects, selected from multiple categories including Education, Commercial, and Interior Architecture.

While Gin Gin State High School won Building of the Year for their new administration building, the Cocobrew Express Drive Thru in Yeppoon took home Regional Project of the Year, and Benevolent Living in Rockhampton received the People’s Choice Award.

Gin Gin State High School – New Administration Building

Designed by Giarola Architects, the Gin Gin State High School – New Administration Building was presented the J W Wilson Award for Building of the Year. More than just an administrative hub, the building is now the main point of entry for the school community. A new foyer, reception, conference room, and staff area are flanked by green spaces and classrooms. The design has also improved access for vehicles and pedestrians. The jury commended the project as “a facility that addresses the needs of the broader school community”. The project also received a Regional Commendation for Educational Architecture.

Cocobrew Express Drive Thru

Designed by DESIGNANDARCHITECTURE, Cocobrew Express Drive Thru received Regional Project of the Year and a Regional Commendation for Commercial Architecture. Located on the outskirts of Yeppoon, the design establishes the new food and drink venue as a prominent landmark, challenging conventional drive-through models. The jury commented that the building itself becomes “the platform for the branding”.

Benevolent Living

Designed by Deicke Richards, Benevolent Living received the People’s Choice Award and a Regional Commendation for Interior Architecture. As an alternative to traditional models, the design of this residential aged care building in Rockhampton features light-filled living areas, self-serve kitchens and suites with space for couples to live together. The public is welcomed by an art gallery and café. The jury acknowledged the design as “successfully moving away from clinical environments, and towards a more social mode of living”.

Maryborough Forge and Advanced Manufacturing Facility

The Maryborough Forge and Advanced Manufacturing Facility, designed by KIRK, received a Regional Commendation for Commercial Architecture. The architects worked closely with staff and specialist equipment suppliers to create a fully integrated and functional facility. Locally produced Mass Engineered Timber (MET) is a standout feature of the design, displaying a “depth of character and warmth uncommon to facilities of this type”. The jury continued, stating that the design is “an exemplar for sustainable industrial and office facilities, particularly in a regional context”.

All commended projects have now been shortlisted for the Australian Institute of Architects’ Queensland Architecture Awards. The state awards will be judged and awarded in June 2024.