Building Designers and Architects stood shoulder to shoulder (virtually) in Melbourne this month at the Design Matters National 2020 Building Design Awards, with the traditionally rival groups both reaping rewards for taking building design to the next level. 

“Our Awards provide a rare opportunity for Architects and Building Designers to compete against each other on a completely level playing field and the results this year, with Building Designer Sven Maxa winning the major award, are truly remarkable,” Design Matters National’s CEO, Peta Anderson says. 

“Our Architect and Building Designer Members respect each other’s incredible work and therefore happily ‘step into the ring’ against each other for the Annual Building Design Awards.” 

“It is remarkable that, as professionals capable of award-winning building design, Architects and Building Designers don’t compete for the same awards more often because the healthy competition is clearly good for raising the bar in Australian building design,” Anderson says. 

The Building Design of the Year Award this year went to Sven Maxa, of Maxa Design, for Earth House, a residential property in Donvale. 

The winning entry exhibited great environmentally sustainable Passive House design, as well as being a house ‘you’d love to live in’. 

Simple and sustainable, Earth House is an example of the growing demand in the Victorian market for more energy-efficient homes. 

The project also won awards for Residential Design – New Houses: $1M-$3M construction cost; and Best Environmentally Sustainable Design. 

Maxa Design, based in Blackburn, has been operating for more than 16 years, designing high-level eco and energy efficient homes. 

Twenty-eight other Building Design Awards, one Commendation, and seven Emerging Designer Student Awards were also announced during a COVID-safe, virtual Awards where 170 watched the announcement then carried on the celebrations at an After Party on Zoom. 

James Hardie, AWS and Webber Insurance sponsored the event. The annual Awards are a showcase of Victorian building design talent in the market right now, as well as the talent emerging from our TAFEs. 

The quality of the entries showed the breadth of advantages to using a qualified Building Designer or Architect and exhibited good design, combined with aesthetics, great function and high levels of sustainability. 

This year’s Awards were given to residential and non-residential entrants located in the metropolitan Melbourne suburbs of Brunswick, Coburg, Donvale, Heidelberg West, Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe East, Prahran, Richmond, Ringwood, Somerville, South Melbourne, Springvale, Surrey Hills, and Werribee South. 

Building design projects from Victoria’s regional towns of Portarlington, Ocean Grove, Inverloch and Trentham also featured among the Award winners.