Award-winning architecture is often characterised as the most modern, cutting edge and innovative of the built realm. While these three elements often come together the create highly acclaimed architecture, the Building Designers Australia NSW Chapter has proven that this is not always the case.
Offering their top award to an Australian classic, the building design authority has emphasised the point that great design comes in any form, old or new, with a new spin on a traditional favourite often creating a winning mix.
James Cooper of Sanctum Design’s Manly Beach House, a modernised interpretation of the quintessential 1950s beach house, was selected as the winner of Premier’s Award for Design Excellence for new residential buildings over 450 square metres.
While the classic design creates a strong sense of nostalgia, the modern features peppered throughout the suburban beach side residential dwelling truly allow it to stand out. These include an outdoor shower and ‘sand room’ that act as functional spaces for post-beach activities.
The house itself focuses on optimising natural flow and and natural lighting, creating a space catered to the beach suburban lifestyle and all it has to offer.
Art House One by Kylie Mitchell Designs took home the New Residential Buildings up to 250 square metres award as well as the Penultimate Award or the Paul Dass Memorial Award.
While both of these developments fall into the residential sector, this is as far as their similarities go.
While Manly Beach house focuses on the reinterpretation of a classic design developed in response to a popular local lifestyle, the latter is a design piece that blurs the lines between architecture and artistry.
According to Mitchell, the house simply reflects her own desire to ‘create a living, breathing artwork, an artwork that you can actually live in.’
“For a long time I had wanted to combine the art and the building design, because they operate quite separately,” she says. “With building design, you have a number of regulations and codes that you have to work with whereas with the art I can do whatever I want, whenever I feel like it.”
With award winners varying greatly in their design motivations and interpretations, there is no one key element common to all. If these particular awards exemplify anything, it is that great design does not come in any one distinct form, and that it can be delivered across a wide range of genres.