Architecture Award season is well underway, hosting the country’s best in architecture and design. Following the success of major Victorian winners, the New South Wales Architecture Awards honoured ground-breaking state of the art state design.
The theme that seemed to run through the winning designs was that of social sustainability, with major winners incorporating this ideal into their architecture and design processes.
Top winners of the night were BVN Architecture’s Brain and Mind Research Institute (BRMI) in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney. They were awarded with the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Sulman Award.
The architecture gem, which was completed in 2009, has been cited by the AIA as being “a standout project in Public Architecture”. The facility is used to study health issues connected to the brain, especially in regard to youth mental health.
It is the complexity of design that makes the building so appealing. The original façade has been retained with a slide over “glass box” added to the top of the building, which houses the laboratories, in a statement making fusion of traditional and modern forms.
The major appeal of BRMI is the fluidity of the buildings “scientific and social agendas”. Its overall exposure also gives the building a feeling of light, environmental and social sustainability. The project has been cited as having a feeling of “humanness” rather than institutional, that facilities of these nature often over look in terms of style.
Following the style of well-being through design is that of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer’s National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern NSW.
The AIA describes the 2010 building as a “facility (that) provides an important community hub for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal users alike”.
It is through architecture features such as bold colours and simply used strong materials like steel, glass timber and concrete for the most part used in an organic formation. It is the simplicity that is so appealing, leaving a major focus on facility itself.
The heritage aspects of the building have also been painstakingly maintained in order to create a stylised high quality building that incorporates the best of the traditional and the importance of the new.
This string of social sustainability is that thread that has run through these architecture and design award processes. It is so positive to see that architecture excellence can have a social conscience. It is clear that Australia is holding its place on the global architecture stage, bringing with it the accolades of such excellence.