Morinda residential aged care facility designed to increase the privacy of its occupants has won Building of the Year at the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2009 Far North Queensland Regional Architecture Awards.

The Morinda residential aged care facility in Cairns was announced as the region’s top project. According to Queensland State Awards, Jury Director, Justin O’Neill, the award for Morinda residential aged care facility will provide amenities to their occupants. The ‘H’ shaped plan maximises access to the landscape and natural light, while reducing the bulk of the building within its neighbourhood. Morinda residential aged care facility has personalised space for the occupants.

Regional Awards saw the entry of 18 projects ranging from Cassowary near Port Douglas, east to Mareeba, south to Innisfail and west to Willis Island in the Coral Sea. A total of seven projects were awarded commendations, including two that jointly share the 2009 House of the Year, Alalia by Wolveridge Architects and Studio 197 by Studio Mango.

According to O’Neill, Alalia is situated on a beachfront property at Port Douglas. The boundaries between inside and out are blurred. Vistas through the house to the surrounding environment are available from all positions. Overhangs, materials selection and proportioned spaces create a relaxing tropical environment in the Alalia house.

O’Neil notes that Studio 197 in Cairns is a compact studio house, which is a quality exemplar for small scale infill housing. The project is the result of collaboration between owner/builder and architect. The house is a simple and compact structure which explores the opportunities of urban dwelling in a tropical city.

Other regional commendation winners include Cairns North Substation by Clarke and Prince, Tinaroo Studio by CA Architects, Cassowary Estate by Charles Wright Architects, Redlynch Valley Residence by edgearchitecture. O’Neil observes that a long-term relationship between Ergon and Clarke and Prince has resulted in a habitable substation. Cairns North Substation offers scope for good urban design.

Tinaroo Studio by CA Architects overlooks Lake Tinaroo. The house is planned with the main living space as the focal point. Large expanses of glass maximise the view while the outdoor covered area creates an intimate link with the landscape.

Cassowary Estate by Charles Wright Architects house is perched halfway up a north-facing slope looking towards the Daintree National Park. The house interprets notions of shed with a roof structure sheltering a line of spaces below. These spaces have a concrete and masonry base. Movement between the spaces is through the north-facing verandah. Cassowary Estate was built with the use of masonry structures in the tropics.

Redlynch Valley Residence by edgearchitecture is suitable for the provision of low-cost housing within the suburbs. Living and sleeping areas are fronted by a semi enclosed verandah that curves around a central courtyard. The one-room-deep plan maximises cross-flow ventilation and the broad verandah space provides the necessary rain protection.