Page D1.4. 25 January 2012                     
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New Australian Architecture — Australian Architecture Awards 2011

House in Surry HillsInnova21 at the University of AdelaideMagney House by Glenn Murcuttone40william in PerthMixed-Use in SydneyAustralian War Memorial near CanberraState Theatre Centre of Western AustraliaEcosciences Precinct in Brisbane

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The existing cafe facility was replaced with an elegant, accessible new building of concrete and glass. Previously located in a prominent spot just east of the memorial's main entrance, the bus parking was moved to the northeastern edge of the grounds. In its place, a formal, landscaped Memorial Courtyard was constructed, centered on the fountain of the new National Service Memorial.

The awards jury called the new cafe building "understated and beautifully executed, with materials and proportions that respect the AWM," and described the National Service Memorial as "a dignified tribute made from granite, stone and bronze."

However, the jury remarked, "The most important intervention is not what you see, but what you don't. The old car park has been re-sited underground, opening up the entire Eastern Precinct to be liberated and returned to the use for which it was originally intended — reflection and celebration."

The jury added, "The success of this project rests with the architect's elegant and discreet solution which leaves the first time visitor almost unaware that any major intervention has taken place."

 
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The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia contains two main theaters, including the upper, 575-seat Heath Ledger Theatre shown here. Photo: © Robert Frith Extra Large Image

State Theatre Centre of Western Australia

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, located in Northbridge, an inner-city suburb of Perth, is that the building's two performance halls are stacked one atop the other.

A drum-shaped volume on the second level contains the Heath Ledger Theatre, a 575-seat traditional proscenium theater, while below it lies the Studio Underground, a 234-seat black-box theater. This vertical stacking frees up space for a courtyard, which also serves as an outdoor theater-in-the-round.

Around the Heath Ledger Theatre, it seems all is golden: gold screen in the multilevel foyers, warm wood cladding both inside and outside the theater volume, and gold-toned seats for the audience. Passersby can see into the lively foyers through a transparent facade screened by black metal. In contrast to the shining world above, the lower level, located partially below-grade, is dominated by dark brick and plywood panels.

"A restrained materials palette... has been masterfully employed to delineate spaces of seductive atmosphere," remarked the jury, further commending Kerry Hill Architects for the "design alignment of interiors with the building architecture."

 

Ecosciences Precinct

The new Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane, Queensland, brings together scientists from four state agencies and six divisions of CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), Australia's national science agency. Designed by Hassell, the five-story, 50,000-square-meter (540,000-square-foot) facility was previously covered in ArchitectureWeek No. 513.

The awards jury praised the building concept — three north-oriented office wings connected by a north-south pedestrian "street" of common spaces, meeting rooms, and a library — as "simple, powerful and extremely well executed."

"From parti to detail, space planning to atmosphere, this is a carefully and sensitively conceived design," added the jury.

More Award Winners

Other award-winning projects include the School of the Arts in Singapore, designed by WOHA, which was honored in the international award category; the renovation of Wharf Shed 3 to serve as the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal (not pictured) in Cairns, Queensland, by Arkhefield and Total Project Group, architects in association, awarded in the heritage category; the major overhaul of a house in Castlecrag, New South Wales, by Neeson Murcutt Architects, recognized in the single-family residential category; and The Hangar, a vintage-aircraft museum in Cessnock, New South Wales, by Peter Stutchbury Architecture, which received the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture.

The jury for the Australian Institute of Architects 2011 National Architecture Awards was chaired by the immediate past president of the institute, Karl Fender of Fender Katsalidis, Melbourne, and also included Richard Nugent of Conybeare Morrison, Sydney; Leanne Tritton of ING Media, London; Mel Dodd of RMIT University, Melbourne, and muf architecture-art collaborative; and Philip Follent, government architect, State of Queensland.

 

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The National Service Memorial fountain stands in a formal garden enclosed on two sides by stone walls.
Photo: © Brett Boardman Extra Large Image

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The sober formal geometry present in the landscaping and exterior compositions of the new buildings in the Australian War Memorial's eastern precinct is also present inside the main memorial building's Hall of Valour, which was refurbished in an earlier phase of the redevelopment.
Photo: © Brett Boardman Extra Large Image

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Recognition in the interior architecture category was given to the new State Theatre Centre of Western Australia in Northbridge, Perth, designed by Kerry Hill Architects.
Photo: © Adrian Lambert Extra Large Image

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State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ground-floor plan drawing.
Image: Kerry Hill Architects Extra Large Image

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Located in Brisbane, Queensland, the Ecosciences Precinct is a 50,000-square-meter (540,000-square-foot) development that provides collaborative research facilities for more than 1,000 scientists from state and national science agencies.
Photo: © Christopher Frederick Jones Extra Large Image

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Designed by Hassell, the Ecosciences Precinct comprises three extensively glazed buildings separated by vegetated outdoor courtyards. Several multistory interior volumes overlook the courtyards.
Photo: © Christopher Frederick Jones Extra Large Image

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The School of the Arts in Singapore is a 53,000-square-meter (570,000-square-foot) high school building designed by WOHA.
Photo: © Patrick Bingham Hall Extra Large Image

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Neeson Murcutt Architects designed a renovation of a home they call the Castlecrag House, a three-story 1960s home on a sloping waterfront site in Castlecrag, a suburb of Sydney.
Photo: © Brett Boardman Extra Large Image

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The Hangar, a steel-clad museum and gallery at the Cessnock Airport, New South Wales, was designed by Peter Stutchbury Architecture.
Photo: © Michael Nicholson Extra Large Image

 

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