As the state architecture awards come to a close, industry Australia has a lot to be proud of. The works presented and recognised throughout the entire awards season have been of the highest calibre, with the entire sector showing off its incredible growth and ambition for the future.
As one of the last awards ceremonies, the Western Australian chapter awards had a lot to live up to given the plethora of architectural feats presented this year.
Moving away from the modern flashiness of other national prize winners, the common thread running through a majority of the top winning developments in Australia’s west is their subtlety. In true WA style, function and a connection to the outdoors have taken priority over highly complex and ostentatious design and the architecture has been recognised both for its craftsmanship and positive community effects.
Earning the highest achievement is the Hilton Community Centre by architectural firm Bernard Seeber Architects, which won both the George Temple Poole Award and the John Septimus Roe Award for Urban Design. The project exemplifies simplistic design ideology, reinvigorating community spaces in a way that does not overpower the local built and natural environments.
“The architects have artfully crafted and executed a contemporary layer of organisation and design upon a set of tired facilities, restoring them where appropriate and carefully inserting new elements,” says the jury. “This is quiet architecture, and an architecture that makes a difference to the Hilton community, making people’s lives better by its accommodation of the diverse needs of a maturing community with clarity and a robust elegance.”
Taking the focus away from flashy design features seemed to really impress jury members, who commented on the strong community focus, as well the designers’ strong attention to detail.
“Humble in origin and limited in means this project masterfully draws neglected and modest but dignified public buildings into a new ensemble. The new buildings are a delight and clearly the result of patient and dedicated practice,” says the jury. “The result is a truly civic neighbourhood environment- inner, peripheral and landscape.”
Other top winners include the Augusta Margaret River Shire Civic and Administration Centre by the Bollig Design Group, which took out the Public Architecture Award and 167 Westralia Plaza by JCY Architects and Urban Designers which won the Ross Chisholm Award for Commercial Architecture.
With such varying design priorities in each of the state awards, the national awards this coming November will certainly be a difficult contest to judge.