A shortlist of 117 entries from 15 categories have progressed to the next stage of the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2021 Victorian Architecture Awards, with projects designed for a post-covid world a common feature of many of the entrants.

Winners of the Victorian Architecture Awards will progress to the National Architecture Awards program, where they will compete with the winners of the other states. 

Victorian Chapter President, Bill Krotiris, says the projects selected for the shortlist continue to set new standards of excellence in architectural design and practice.

“The practice of architecture in Australia is changing in ways that deliver even greater benefit to the individuals and communities who interact daily with the built environment,” he says.

“This trend is particularly apparent in the architectural responses to the evolving ‘Covid normal’ world in which we find ourselves.

“Today, in the context of Covid-19, we see an increased emphasis not just on the creation of a place within public but on the associated active and passive activities of place.”

Krotiris says Victorian buildings are using every inch of space in an attempt to ensure people are able to find a place to relax amongst their commercial spaces.

“Rooftops in Melbourne are no longer just the location for the building’s plant. They are the fifth elevation of a building not only important for the building’s occupants but for the surrounding buildings that look onto it. They are being activated as valuable spaces for office workers and or residents to reconnect with the immediate environment.

“Whether that’s participating in exercise activity or sitting in a comfortable place to eat their lunch in the fresh air and read a book.

“Projects will be awarded for their contribution to the bigger picture story around how they benefit people not only at the individual level but also the precinct scale.”

Chair of Juries Rosemary Burne agrees with Krotiris’ sentiments.

“Covid-19 has made us think about being kinder to ourselves and to the planet and we’ve seen that in a very strong field of entries for the Sustainability Award category,” she says.

“Architecture is a long time in the making, but with this year’s award entries we are already seeing new ways of practicing come to the fore.

“What sets the Awards shortlist apart is how entrants have taken innovation to the next level and considered it at all scales – from the single modular unit to a precinct-wide, and indeed a planet-wide perspective.

“Shortlisted entries range from modest pavilions to mega-projects, but common themes are running through them all. Themes like facilitating a stronger connection with nature that is critically important and enduring for design in these times. How we ‘rewild’ our cities, how architecture can enable connection to country and caring for country. 
“Using architecture to enhance people’s connection to nature and their well-being are vitally important across all sectors of the built environment – from home to work to education and health facilities. That theme is evident across all of our shortlisted projects.” 

The categories include the Bates Smart Award for Architecture in Media, the Melbourne Prize, Sustainable Architecture and Educational Architecture, as well as various others.

The winners of the Victorian awards will be announced via livestream on the Institute’s YouTube channel on Friday 18 June 2021. To view the shortlist in full, click here