ACT Northbourne Avenue
Northbourne Avenue. Image – Peter Clarke
  • This year's ACT Architecture Awards has been held remotely
  • A sustainable focus was evident among award winners
  • All winners are through to the national awards program

Our country’s capital did not disappoint in the 2021 ACT Architecture Awards. The finest designs and structures were appreciated and awarded at this year’s remotely held awards night.

Strong sentiments of sustainability and community were present amongst the winners of the 24 project awards and commendations.

Jury Chair Cassandra Keller explained that the designs highlighted the value architects bring to their clients and the wider community.

“The COVID-19 pandemic puts the quality of our lived spaces into the spotlight like never before,” Ms Keller said.

“Architects apply their skill, creativity and expertise to transform where we live, where we work, where we learn into places of enjoyment and comfort that also continue to push the boundaries of a built environment that is better for our planet.

Cassandra Keller, Jury Chair

“With these awards, we celebrate the relationship between architects and their clients, as well as the broader community, that helps deliver projects which constantly raise the bar in terms of responsive, considered and sustainable design.”

The highest award possible for the territory is the Canberra Medallion. This was awarded to House for Hiroko by Anthony Knobel Architect.

House for Hiroko
House for Hiroko. Image: Regina Seelig

This house was described by the jury as “…a delightful and modest response to a couple’s life-long ambition to commission a home that celebrates and encapsulates a culturally rich life lived abroad.”

House for Hiroko
House for Hiroko. Image: Regina Seelig

The home also won the prestigious Malcolm Moir and Heather Sutherland Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New).

House for Hiroko
House for Hiroko. Image: Regina Seelig

Among the most highly awarded designs is the light and vibrant Little Loft House which was adapted from an early 80’s brick structure.

Little Loft House
Little Loft House. Image – Ben Wrigley

The house received both The Gene Willsford Award for Residential Architecture (Alterations & Additions) and The Derek Wrigley Award for Sustainable Architecture.

The light-filled roomed gives this house a unique uplifting atmosphere. The jury praised the architects from Light House Architecture and Science for transforming “… a dark and unremarkable home into one that feels contemporary and light-filled.”

Little Loft House
Little Loft House. Image – Ben Wrigley

This project is particularly remarkable for its modest budget and its energy efficiency. As the jury noted, the house “…promotes the application of practical energy efficiency measures to a common building typology synonymous with poor performance.”

This has mutual benefits for the environment and for occupants as it results in up to 80% energy savings compared to a typical Canberra home.

Little Loft House
Little Loft House. Image – Ben Wrigley

Even 1970’s bus concrete shelters were recognised in this year’s awards. These shelters were designed by architect Clem Cummings, and have become a unique feature in Canberra with 480 scattered across the city.

The shelters were recognised for their lasting mark on the character of the city and received The Sir Roy Grounds Award for Enduring Architecture.

Canberra’s Concrete Bus Shelters
Canberra’s Concrete Bus Shelters. Image – Ken Charlton

The Jury highlighted that “… the architectural integrity and enduring quality of the design is evident through its simplicity, functionality, and materiality.”

Canberra’s Concrete Bus Shelters
Canberra’s concrete bus shelters. Image – Ken Charlton

Winners of all the ACT awards can be found on the Australian Institute of Architects website. All ACT award winners will be considered in the National Awards program.

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