Three Australian projects by global architecture studio Woods Bagot won four awards at the World Architecture Festival (WAF), cementing the firm’s reputation as one of the world’s leading design practices.

The winning designs include Meadowbank Schools in western Sydney – Best School and Best Use of Colour; the city-shaping Melbourne CBD development 80 Collins Street – Best Mixed-Use Building; and Sculptform Design Studio – Best (INSIDE) Small Workplace.

The WAF wins come three weeks after Collins Arch, designed by Woods Bagot and SHoP Architects was named Best Tall Building, 100-199 Metres, and the Best Tall Mixed-Use Building at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s (CTBUH) 2022 awards.

“It’s extraordinary. To see us sitting at that level across such different typologies is a credit to the team,” says Domenic Alvaro, Woods Bagot global design leader. “Winning these awards is very rewarding and clearly demonstrates that our designs are globally relevant and significant.”

Woods Bagot CEO Nik Karalis observes that the WAF awards are further recognition of their ‘people first’ design approach, adding that architectural awards juries are increasingly rewarding human-centric projects with strong environmental vision and credentials.

“The themes of sustainability and regeneration appeared again and again across the awards,” says Karalis. “People have always been at the heart of our design credo and it’s gratifying to see that there appears to be a shift in the world of architecture toward that ethos.”

World Architecture Festival – Woods Bagot’s winning projects:

Meadowbank Schools – Best Completed School, Best Use of Colour

Meadowbank Schools

Representing a new generation of education facilities funded by the NSW Government, Meadowbank Schools was selected from a shortlist of 17 completed schools from China, Australia, India, Denmark, United States and Spain.

The project, which incorporates Meadowbank Public School and Marsden High School, was built through COVID-19 and opened earlier this year. The design combines spaces for play, collaboration, connection to nature and learning, with flexibility and adaptability, Woods Bagot principal Ian Lomas explains.

“Contemporary teaching methods commanding an agile and future-focused learning environment informs the overall architectural expression and interior design approach. Creating a sense of scale and diversity of spaces for kids of all ages was important,” he adds.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne – Best Completed Mixed-Use Project

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

80 Collins is the first mixed-use city block introduced to the top-end of Collins Street, Melbourne’s prime corporate address, in more than two decades.   

The project comprises a new commercial tower, a hotel, renovation of an existing commercial tower (Nauru House), and a podium base linking the entire block. Each of the tower foyers has through and through accessibility, ensuring immediate connections for tower occupants.

Woods Bagot collaborated with UNStudio on the new commercial tower and hotel façade.

Retail is drawn through the laneways at multiple levels and tenancies typically have more than one frontage, creating activated nodes within that are rich in discovery and visible from the street.

“The design germinates from the rhythm of Collins’ heritage and resonates upwards through the towers, responding to context at all levels,” explains Woods Bagot principal Peter Miglis.

Sculptform Design Studio – Best (INSIDE) Small Workplace

Sculptform Design Studio

Seamlessly transcending workplace and workshop concepts, Woods Bagot makes Sculptform’s back-of-house central to the experience.

By combining bespoke timber battens, craftsmanship and custom detailing, the design celebrates Sculptform’s own product. The jury commended the project for its “elegant scheme”, which expands the traditional procurement model of architecture and brings the forest to the city.  

“For me, Sculptform set a new paradigm for the reciprocity that can exist between client and architect and showcased the limitless potential when a design team is truly immersed in materiality,” Woods Bagot principal Bruno Mendes said.