The Australian Institute of Architects is celebrating the depth and talent of architects in regional New South Wales with the announcement of the 2021 NSW Country Division Architecture Awards winners tonight.
As part of Australia’s most prestigious, peer-reviewed architecture awards program, the winners stood out for their broader contribution to their communities.
With its “timeless modernity”, Rosby Wines Cellar Door and Gallery in Mudgee by Cameron Anderson Architects won the James Barnet Award and a Commercial Architecture Award.
The jury highlighted the project’s “social, environmental and economic contribution to the Region” and applauded its “meaningful visual and physical connection to Country and local industry”.
They added: “The holistic site response brings together the drought-resistant landscape design, impressive sustainable infrastructure and sympathetic built form interventions within a coherent Master Plan vision.”
Cameron Anderson Architects also won the Small Project Architecture – Award for Gawthorne’s Hut, a luxury, two-person, off-grid, tourism experience within a working rural property ten minutes from the centre of Mudgee.
With its “unique design which stands out” the owners say the project has greatly increased their profile as a tourism business.
The jury said the Hut’s “42 square metres of compact delight” create “an inviting cocoon-like retreat providing a sustainable, cozy and a calm escape for its guests from day to day life.
“Gawthorne’s Hut rises from the Earth in a dramatic soaring form and yet has a profound sense of calm and tranquillity providing counterpoint and retreat in its earthy-toned backdrop.”
A new community facility, the Urana Aquatic Leisure Centre won the Vision Award and a Public Architecture Commendation with the jury observing that its “built form articulates an example of modest building typology into an outcome that offers so much more for the public than is normally delivered for community buildings of this type”.
The clients also expressed their delight, commending architects Regional Design Service for having “developed the perfect design to suit the locality & environment with water views from every angle”.
In the residential sector, Aphora Architecture won awards for multiple projects.
A masterful renovation, the Caretaker’s in Byron Bay, received both the Timber Award and the Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions) Award.
For the client, the design “benefits our family dynamic and the way we live by creating a nurturing hub of flow and interaction with our children”.
The jury said: “Views of the landscape, intensified by carefully crafted bespoke timber framing, beckons interactions with the outside world and captures the prevailing Bryon Bay breezes.”
A well-considered “honest” new build in Casuarina, Banksia House, also by Aphora Architecture, won the Residential Architecture – Houses (New) Award for a home the owners say brings them “closer to the world around us”.
The owners added: “One year on, there are details and moments that bring us delight and surprise – the house continues to reveal itself and it’s a joy to be a part of.”
The jury applauded the home’s responsiveness to its occupants and its surroundings saying, “this young practice has tactfully created an environment that respects the native ecological systems, while enhancing the lives of its current, and future occupants”.
Harley Graham Architects received a Residential Architecture – Houses (New) Commendation for Wollumbin House in Byron Bay, a project whose “outstanding merit” the jury said lies in “knowing that what seems simple is often the hardest”.
“Wollumbin House demonstrates a new contemporary and its typology is a blueprint to what is required in new suburban developments.”
Jury chair Jasmine Richardson of Ekah Studio said it was both humbling and exciting to see the calibre of work being undertaken throughout regional NSW, especially given the impacts of the global pandemic.
Referencing the significant domestic population transfer to the regions as a result of COVID-19, Richardson said the increased demand for housing, and associated infrastructure, rising construction prices and demand means now was a pertinent time for a discussion of how architects engage with the community and help shape an equitable built future.
She added: “The jury felt that the winning and commended entries were a positive contribution to regional NSW, in this context.”
Regional committee co-chair and jury member Noel Thomson said the awards program played a significant role in recognising the diversity of work completed by members in a regional context.
Thomson continued: “It is a chance to reflect what the challenges and opportunities associated with regional projects and celebrate the diversity and quality of built work throughout regional NSW.”
Richardson was joined on the 2021 jury by Drew Heath, Ashley Dennis, Noel Thomson and The Fifth Estate’s Tina Perinotto.