SA Architecture Awards 2014

This year’s South Australian Architecture Awards were held at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on July 4.

This year’s South Australian Architecture Awards were held at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on July 4, where the state’s finest projects received recognition across 13 different categories. In what came as no surprise to anyone, the major winner at this year’s South Australian Architecture Awards was the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). The Woods Bagot-designed building has come to symbolise the growth and development currently taking place in the state and also sets a new benchmark for public architecture across the country. With its monumental form, the building has divided opinion, but this year’s juries deemed it worthy of awards in five different categories, including the Derrick Kendrick Award for Sustainable Architecture and the Jack McConnell Award for Public Architecture. Praise for SAHMRI came thick and fast at the awards presentation dinner, held on Friday, July 4 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre (AEC), and the majority of the night’s Tweets made note of its winning streak. Although the juries’ citations in each of the respected five categories focused specifically on the architecture, the team involved inSAHM RI’s design cannot be overlooked. In fact, it would be hard to do so, considering they almost spilled over the stage when accepting each of the five awards. The impact of their multiple wins not only resonates within the Woods Bagot South Australia office, but also filters throughout the practice at both national and international levels. As Administration Manager Mel Hunter states, “SAHMRI was a collaborative effort, not only within our practice, but with our clients, consultants, contractors and stakeholders. For the Woods Bagot team itself, the project is an example of how our global studio model allows for contributions from outstanding team members across the world in order to achieve an international, quality outcome.” Another notable winner on the night was Architects Ink, taking out the SA Chapter Award in the inaugural Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations & Additions) category for Residence R. The jury (chaired by Sean Humphries) welcomed this new category and praised the winning project for its “formal simplicity that successfully pays its respects to the Californian case study houses of the mid-century, whilst stamping its own mark on& the style”. For Architects Ink, the win was a significant one, Marco Spinelli explains, “We were very pleased to hear about the new category because in the past it’s been difficult for juries to judge alterations and additions against new houses, so to win the inaugural named award is just fantastic.” A highlight of the program was the six prizes that were also awarded, including the 2014 James Irwin President’s Medal presented to Susan Phillips & Michael Pilkington, co-founders and directors of Phillips Pilkington. SA Chapter President Steve Grieve concedes that choosing a worthy recipient for the Medal is always a difficult task because there’s an unlimited field of outstanding practitioners to choose from; on the other hand, this year’s choice was easy. “One of the main criteria I focus on is whether recipients have been true to their values,” he explains. “And I think it’s fair to say Phillips Pilkington have demonstrated that. I also like the fact they are not simply producing buildings, but also have a broader role as teachers as well as involvement with community issues.” The South Australian Architecture Awards may not have received the same amount of entries as the eastern states, but the mood at the presentation dinner was lively and overwhelmingly positive. Adelaide’s finest were treated to a lavish share-platter dinner and the audience was noticeably bigger than the year before, which suggests support for local industry is growing. A total of 28 awards and commendations were presented across 13 categories this year, with category winners proceeding to the National Awards, to be held in Darwin on Thursday, November 6. It will be the first time South Australia has been represented so convincingly by one project at the nationals; Woods Bagot may very well be the big winner yet again. wp.architecture.com.au/voice Photographer: Peter Clarke

Steve Grieve – Director, Grieve Gillett Dimitty Andersen Architects

The Australian Institute of Architects’ SA Chapter President speaks to Leanne Amodeo about this year’s major awards winner. How do SAHMRI’s multiple award wins reflect the growth and development currently taking place in South Australia? SAHMRI reflects the government’s interest in creating a ‘world-class’ health science precinct. And its multiple award wins reflect the very good investment the government has made in this sector, so that South Australia can attract the best in health professionals and researchers. Does SAHMRI set a new benchmark for architecture in South Australia? It’s raised the bar for public buildings, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s also elevated the discussion about the importance of good architecture in the public domain, which has been a great outcome of this project. How does our representation at the National Awards look this year? It’s certainly the best representation we’ve ever had at the National Awards with one project. SAHMRI is short-listed in five national categories and it’s the first time we’ve had a South Australian project compete in that many categories in the one year. I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t win something; it might even win more than one award, which would be fantastic. What major architectural shifts will we see in the state within the next five years? The last five years have involved the most intensive public infrastructure development that Adelaide has seen in a long time and the next three or four years will see the completion of a lot of that work. There’s no doubt the existing Royal Adelaide Hospital site will get some attention within the next 12 months and then there’s the Convention Centre nearing completion of its Stage One development. The landscape will change with the building of major University of South Australia and Adelaide University projects in the new health science precinct and I think these two projects will respond to the standard set by SAHMRI. I also think the private sector will respond with development on the south side of North Terrace. There’s generally a better appreciation for design in the community and projects like SAHMRI have assisted this.

Matt Davis – Director, Davis + Davis Architects and Principal Urban Designer, Renewal SA

Matt Davis won the 204 Emerging Architect Prize. What does it mean to win the Emerging Architect Prize? I’ve been practicing in one way or another for the past 15 years, so it reminds me that architecture is a long game and the best is yet to come. Winning the award provides me with a boost for the next phase in my career, while validating my work in practice, education and government. What motivates you professionally? I’m interested in how architecture and design can make people’s lives better, drive economic outcomes, and be equitable, sustainable and joyful. This still means producing beautiful places and spaces, but it’s also about developing strategy and building relationships. Who has been your major inspiration? I’ve learnt a lot about architecture from many people I’ve worked with, but the most influential figure has been a former Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Professor Laura Lee. My involvement in her residency marks a shift in my career, from someone hoping for change to someone actively working to make it happen. What does the next five years hold for you professionally? In my role at Renewal SA my primary focus is to contribute to major urban renewal projects around Adelaide. I’ll also continue supporting my partner Sally in building Davis + Davis Architects. davisanddavis.com.au Photo credit: Troppo

Phil Harris and Cary Duffield – Directors, Troppo Architects

Troppo Architects won the City of Adelaide Prize People’s Choice Award for the Foods for Lifeparklet in Gawler Place, as well as the 2014 City of Adelaide Prize for Café Troppo. Were you surprised by your People’s Choice Award win? PH: It’s humbling to win a peer-reviewed award, but even more humbling to win a people’s choice award. After all, it’s for ‘the people’ that we get up out of bed everyday; the City of Adelaide Prize People’s Choice Award might just be the best award we’ve ever won. How do the Foods for Life parklet and Café Troppo contribute to Adelaide’s CBD? CD: Both projects respond to the Adelaide City Council’s goal to enliven the city centre and acknowledge Council’s support of an active public realm. Café Troppo and the Foods for Life parklet hopefully give modest family ventures the confidence to take a punt on the planning and construction process, which eventually gives small footprints such as these a strong public presence. Can we expect to see another Cafe Troppo open? PH: No… Cafe Troppo is Cafe Troppo; it’s very much a product of all who work and create there and you can’t replicate that. But look out for Hotel Ivaritji – and at this time of year you’ll need to get your possum skin coats on for that! www.troppo.com.au

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