You probably couldn’t find a more fitting representative for Australian architecture on the international stage than this one from PHAB Architects.

The firm’s recent renovation of a 1920s packing shed in Toogoolawah, Queensland is the sole Australian project among 80 shortlisted for the Archdaily 2017 Building of the Year Awards.

PHAB’s ‘The Condensery – Somerset Regional Art Gallery’ will also be taking on four other practices in the Refurbishment category, which includes projects from the United States, Portugal, China and Japan.

The Archdaily 2017 Building of the Year Awards is a reader evaluated program which received over 3,000 nominations. 

Readers will now once again vote for their favourite shortlisted projects and decide which will win the Building of the Year Award.

You can vote for The Condensery until 6 February, 2017 here.

In 2015 two Australian projects were shortlisted in the awards, and in 2016 Luigi Rosselli's 'The Great Wall of WA' took out the Housing category


From the architect

The 1920s packing shed is the only building remaining from the once prosperous Nestle condensed milk factory—an important centre of Toogoolawah’s economic and social life until the factory was destroyed by fire in 1951.

The art gallery and workshop opened in December 2015, positioning the building as a catalyst for the ongoing cultural life of the region. Fundamentally, the design was conceived to preserve the building and its architectural qualities “as found,”—the interior of exposed roofing iron and stained concrete floor and walls, remain largely unchanged. 


The collapse of the western third of the building due to termite damage provided an opportunity to re-compose this elevation, subverting the symmetry of the gable, and creating a contrast to the eastern entry. The complex palette of pinks, reds and browns produce a vibrant effect, and make the building’s history legible. 


From afar, the project reinstates the original building form, and is perceived as a simple red shed in the landscape. The design takes advantage of the existing outdoor terraces (remnants of other factory buildings) that broaden the building’s potential for public events and private functions. New concrete elements double as stages, allowing these external spaces to be utilised for performance.




Images: Manson Images