Claremont hotel – Image: Supplied
  • Record number of submissions made this year
  • Eco-friendly and adaptive reuse designs in the spotlight
  • High standards observed in government and educational projects

The Australian Institute of Architects‘ annual WA Architecture Awards has seen a sharp increase in the value of projects being submitted.

This year there were a record 88 submissions across 10 major categories, with the awards program showcasing a diverse range of projects that have a combined value of over $1.4 billion.

Across the state, there are some high-profile entries including a number of hospitality venues such as Republic of Fremantle, Ruin Bar, The Claremont Hotel, The Bassendean Hotel and The Old Courthouse. As well as some stunning residential entries and Murdoch University’s breathtaking Boola Katitjin building.

Eco-friendly design

Australian Institute of Architects WA Chapter President, Sandy Anghie, said there has been a focus on environmentally-conscious design across various sectors, including residential dwellings, state-of-the-art educational and government facilities and hospitality and lifestyle destinations.

Examples of eco-friendly design in this year’s awards vary in scale, including, Western Australia’s first large-scale mass-engineered timber building at Murdoch University, Boola Katitjin, by Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, Officer Woods, The Fulcrum Studio, and Aspect Studio. In contrast, smaller-scale homes such as Farrier Lane House by MDC Architects and Celilo Springs House by Andrew Boyne measure only 125 sqm.

Anghie also said the importance of adaptive reuse, which entails repurposing existing buildings for new functions has been a focus this year.

“Adaptive reuse or turning an existing building into a new place serving another purpose, is a global trend and there are some great examples in this year’s architecture awards, including Weeties Warehouse and Republic of Fremantle by Spaceagency,”

Sandy Anghie, Australian Institute of Architects WA Chapter President

“Affordable housing is currently in the spotlight, and architects have a role to play in helping to address the housing crisis.

“Salt Lane Shoreline by Gresley Abas with Development WA Salt Lane is an example of a fresh approach to medium-density in Western Australia, providing flexible housing typologies with strong sustainability features such as solar passive design – reducing operating costs for occupants.”

While adhering to the six-star NatHERS rating is mandatory for new residential dwellings, architects are already pushing the boundaries by aiming for seven-star and even better outcomes. Connection with the community and location, as well as smart design choices, are evident across the submissions Anghie said.

She said Clifton & Central by MJA Studio and CAPA Studio exemplifies a multi-residential project with an over seven-star NatHERS rating.

High standards and benchmarks are observed in state government and educational projects such as the Karla Katitjin Bushfire Centre of Excellence, School of Design & the Built Environment at Curtin University by Wardle, and Airport Central Station, Perth. Another impressive state government project is the Main Roads and Department of Transport, Geraldton Office by TAG Architects.

One Subiaco – Image: Supplied

High profile entries

Several submissions from various categories have already captured attention, including The Claremont Hotel, ONE Subiaco, and MinRes HQ. Anghie anticipates that many other contenders will spark discussion and interest within the built environment community and the general public.

Category winners will advance to the 2023 National Architecture Awards, where they will be judged alongside the nation’s finest architectural works.

The 2023 Architecture Award Launch and exhibition of entries will take place between 3-17 May, while the 2023 Awards Ceremony is on 9 June at Optus Stadium.

The Bassendean Hotel – Image: Supplied

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