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Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design. Image – Michael Kai
  • The 2021 Victorian Architecture Awards were announced last week
  • A single project walked away with five awards
  • Outdoor spaces were particularly spotlighted in light of COVID19

Last week the Australian Institute of Architects announced the winners of their 2021 Victorian Architecture Awards via a special online broadcast.

These were derived from a shortlist of 117 entries across 14 categories.

Choosing the winner in each category was an expert jury, chaired by Rosemary Burne. She said all the winning projects are a reflection of the wider societal issues including placemaking, sustainability, universal access, health and wellbeing, and new technologies.

“We are delighted to take the opportunity during these difficult times to celebrate a rapidly evolving practice of architecture that seeks to better support the communities we serve,” Ms Burne said.

“As our cities become denser and the nature of work changes, projects in the commercial category were consistently optimistic and future focused, often with elements of fun, freshness and flexibility.”

Rosemary Burne, Chair of Juries

“Similarly, in the always highly competitive residential field, we saw architectural responses evolving to adapt to our ‘new normal.’ Accessibility emerged as a real concern, as well as integration of sustainability-focused technologies that have until recently been the preserve of larger building typologies.”

One project was particularly outstanding as the most awarded project of the evening. Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design by Grimshaw in collaboration with Monash University walked away with the Victorian Architecture Medal, along with The Melbourne Prize, the COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture and an Architecture Award in both the Sustainability and Educational Architecture categories.

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Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design. Image – Rory Gardiner

The jury praised this architectural piece as a profound reminder of “the fundamental role of architects in creating humanist structures that last for generations.”

“Data and research led, Grimshaw in collaboration with Monash University has created a future-focused, sustainable, education machine that never forgets human scale or human experience.”

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Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design. Image – Rory Gardiner
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Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design. Image – Michael Kai

“A key theme among this year’s award winners was excellence at the precinct scale, underscoring that great architecture is about people and the creation of places that best enhance their daily lives”.

Bill Krotiris, Victorian Chapter President

“With a COVID lens, it was not surprising to see how outdoor social gathering areas, trees, plants and play areas were also valued by the public,” said Mr Krotiris

Mr Krotis’ point is illustrated in the award winner for the Urban Design category, Carrum Station and Foreshore Precinct by COX Architecture.

The jury praised the “…extraordinary offer of civic generosity, elevating the commuter experience through the gift of a panoramic Port Phillip Bay view”.

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Carrum Station and Foreshore Precinct. Image – Peter Clarke

Continuing theme of architecture valued by the public, Springvale Community Hub by Lyons won The William Wardell Award for Public Architecture. 

The jury said this piece “balances charming Australian irreverence with evident respect for the importance of representing people and place.”

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Springvale Community Hub. Image – John Gollings
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Springvale Community Hub. Image – John Gollings

The Victorian Emerging Architect Prize was awarded jointly to Jacqui Alexander and Ben Sheridan for exhibiting the “remarkable contributions emerging architects make to the culture of architecture in Australia.”

The full list of Victoria’s architectural award winners can be found on the Australian Institute of Architecture website.

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