Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp has won top gong in the interior architecture category at the 2015 National Architecture Awards, pipping two projects from Hassell architects to win the Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture.

The Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre by FJMT was placed first by the jury ahead of The University of Queensland Global Change Institute and the Medibank building in Victoria, both by HASSELL and both commended by the jury in their own right.

FJMT was awarded the prize at the 2015 National Architecture Awards ceremony held in Brisbane on 5 November.

View the full list of winning projects from the 2015 National Architecture Awards here.

Read the full jury citation for Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre by FJMT and see the other awarded projects in the Interior Architecture category below:

Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture – Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (NSW)

2015024583_0_FrancisJonesMorehenThorp_BankstownLibraryandKnowledg_ChristianMushenko.jpgPhotography by Christian Mushenko

Jury Citation: The Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre successfully combines a vibrant community meeting place, a cafe, IT labs and a 300-seat theatre with an excellent library service. The architects have also designed a highly sustainable interior environment without compromising core functional requirements. The atmosphere within the library is enhanced by a substantial green wall installation, which is fundamental to the interior design and to the operation of mechanical systems to actively purify, oxygenate and cool the reading room spaces. The spaces have been organised to provide progression from a welcoming and lively introduction to more restrained and quieter spaces conducive to learning and study.

The architects have celebrated the major features and materials of the existing 1960s Bankstown Town Hall, which has been renovated and extended with the addition of the library. While there is extensive use of a range of salvaged Australian hardwood timbers internally, the design of the library’s external folded plate steel sunscreens reflects the forms of the town hall’s original precast concrete cladding. The library’s reading spaces are enriched by soft, filtered southern light and panoramic views across the aquatic sculpture garden toward Paul Keating Park and the podium forecourt. A highlight of the library interior – spatially – is two soaring architectural ‘trees’ that act as sculptural light diffusers, while the building’s outer skin of steel ‘leaves’ acts as a further canopy of shade.

The book stacks have been cleverly integrated into the fabric of the building so as to create intimate spaces for quiet contemplation. At the same time these small spaces are open-ended to provide sightlines across the main atrium spaces. Such visual connections add to the cohesiveness of the interior. This densely programmed building offers Bankstown’s strong multicultural community a rich and comprehensive range of interiors in which to meet, learn, reflect and celebrate.


  • Award for Interior Architecture – The University of Queensland Global Change Institute by HASSELL (Qld)

2015048937_1_HASSELL_TheUniversityofQueenslandG_AngusMartin-AngusMartin__MG_6834.jpgPhotography by Christian Mushenko

  • Commendation for Interior Architecture – Medibank by HASSELL (Vic)

2015039051_6_HASSELL_Medibank_EarlCarter.jpgPhotography by Earl Carter