The transformation of the concept of a working shed into a striking crystalline building made from steel and Colorbond materials won the Northern Territory’s top architecture honour for 2019 at the Australian Institute of Architects’ NT Architecture Awards. The project also took home two additional honours for the architect.

Located in an industrial area of Alice Springs, the contemporary office form, MPH HQ was designed by Susan Dugdale & Associates using steel and Colorbond materials to offer practical shading solutions for the difficult site.

MPH HQ won the prestigious Tracy Memorial Award with the jury’s citation reading: “We’ve all seen the big shed, front office typology that proliferates at the verges of our cities. Rather than ordinary, though, MPH HQ is extraordinary.”

Susan Dugdale & Associates also won the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture and the Peter Dermoudy Award for Commercial Architecture.

Full list of winners:

The Tracy Memorial Award, The Peter Dermoudy Award for Commercial Architecture and The Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture

Winner: MPH-HQ by Susan Dugdale & Associates

“We’ve all seen the big shed, front office typology that proliferates at the verges of our cities,” the jury said. “Rather than ordinary, though, MPH HQ is extraordinary.”

The J G Knight Award for Heritage

Winner: Hut 37 by Ajar Architects

The jury found that this was a particularly compelling project combining many important aspects of good architecture, culture and history, which was preserved through passion and pure tenacity.   

The Yali-McNamara Award for Small Project Architecture and The Indigenous Community Architecture Award

Winner: Fish River Accommodation by Design Construct, School of Art Architecture and Design, University of South Australia

“This impressive small project delivers on many fronts; excellent accommodation for the rangers; a potentially viable, sustainable tropical Aboriginal housing model; a good collaborative educational model; and the framework for a great future for Fish River Station and beyond,” says NT Jury Chair Elizabeth Watson Brown.  

The NT Chapter Award for Educational Architecture and The Thorny Devil (Moloch Horridus) Award for Sustainable Architecture

Winner: Braitling Primary School (Stage 2) by Susan Dugdale & Associates.

“This exemplary project achieves important educational and social impact and is a testament that good design here has made a difference,” the jury said. “Because of the design there has been a 67 percent reduction in behaviour referrals; in a cohort where 28 percent of kids have ongoing trauma, the outdoor relief space has reduced issues in the classroom; and attendance has risen 76 percent to 85.9 percent.”

NT Chapter Award recipients included Mazda Dealership by DKJ Architecture Pty Ltd for Commercial Architecture and Mother Teresa Catholic College by Rossi Architects, Bennett Design and Walter Brooke for Educational Architecture. MegaFauna Central by Tangentyere Design received a Commendation for Interior Architecture.

The Enduring Architecture Award was awarded to Cox Architecture for the Ayers Rock Resort (Yulara).

“Ayers Rock resort is a perfect example of great enduring design and how this responds to the environment by following the serpentine shape of the valley,” the jury says. “The building is still a bright light in the desert and surprises many visitors to Uluru through its extraordinary vibrancy.”

The President’s Prize was awarded by NT President Jenny Culgan to Peter Sommerville, Department of Lands Planning and Logistics, Alice Springs with the Student Prize being awarded to Ellen Brand from Charles Darwin University.   

Andrew Broffman from Tangentyere Design and Susan Dugdale, Susan Dugdale & Associates were both presented with a Certificate of Fellowship from the Institute.

Image Credits: Australian Institute of Architects/ Architect: Susan Dugdale & Associates/ Photographer: Peter Barnes