Ten projects worth looking at – 2013 edition

vic juries 2013

It’s that time of year again with the 2013 Presentations to Juries for the RAIA Victorian Architecture Awards taking place on the 23rd and 24th March and has been the case I will take the opportunity to compile a list of the projects I believe are worthing having a look at on these days. Again this year the presentations will be held at Monash University’s Faculty of Art and Design Building G.

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Sticking to convention

For the third year in a row, the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter has stuck to convention (pun intended) at its annual awards night by handing the big awards to the biggest project entered, namely the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre by NH Architecture.

Personally, I’m not exactly a big fan of this project which I premise by noting that I only have been inside its foyer. In particular what irks me about the project is its lack of respect to DCM’s Melbourne Exhibition Centre and that your first glimpse of it as you enter the city via the Westgate Freeway is of the DFO outlet.

Also not a fan is Melbourne architect and RMIT adjunct professor of architecture, Norman Day  who stated that it:

”Suffers the weight of trying hard to be up to date and fulfil a giant need for providing space.These two characteristics are not necessarily opposite, but perhaps a less effusive shaping of walls and ceilings so they appear different would have saved many trees.”

Other winners are on the night were Wood Marsh for their Port Phillip Winery and Eastlink Freeway and Lyons for the Lyon HouseMuseum which I visited and was impressed by a few weeks back. idontwearblack favourites, McBride Charles Ryan also picked up an award won for their Fitzroy High School project.

Whilst the usual suspects picked up awards some of the smaller and lesser known practices such as Breathe Architecture, March Studio and another idontwearblack favourite, Multiplicity also were recognised for their work.

Presentation inspiration

Every year I make sure I attend the Presentation to Juries for the Victoria Architecture Awards for the reason that it always provides me with inspiration and also reaffirms my faith in architecture.

So it was with much excitement I headed down to the Sidney Myer Asia Centre today to check out the latest offerings for this year’s awards. Usually with these presentations I just park myself in the Residential category for the afternoon and watch everything that is offer but this year I thought I would do things differently and check out a few different categories.

For the most part I was pretty impressed with what I chose to see being particularly inspired by the Lyon Housemuseum by Lyons and two projects by perennial idon’twearblack favourite McBride Charles Ryan, The Yardmasters Building and Fitzroy High School. Another project that I didn’t get to see but a reliable source said was the best they had seen so far that day was the March Studio by Brent Knoll.

One project that particularly surprising was the work by Cox Architects and Planners and their series of interventions and renovations throughout the University of Melbourne, one of which I only had stumbled on just before the presentation and took some photos, which I have included below. Coincidentally, seeing the presentation by Cox Architects was also a surprise as I walked into the room expecting another presentation.

Before I finish, no visit to the Presenation to Juries would be complete without seeing a presentation by Multiplicity. Not only do I enjoy most of their projects, but their presentations are always fun to watch with the banter between Tim and Sioux Clark being a particularly highlight.

Two state award domination


It was interesting to note that all but one of the award winners at last night’s Australian Institute of Awards came from either New South Wales or Victoria. The exception being the VS1/SA Water Head Office by Hassell which took out the National Award for Sustainable Architecture. To the surprise of many, the night’s host, the Melbourne Recital Centre, was pipped for the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture by the National Portrait Gallery by Johnson Pilton Walker in what many consider the major prize of the night. I haven’t visited either of them so I can’t really compare them. Although the Recital Centre did take out the Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture. In what I would class as a surprise, the Letterbox House by McBride Charles Ryan didn’t get a guernsey with the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture going to Chenchow Little Architects for their Freshwater House, with the National Awards for Residential Architecture went to Neeson Murcutt Architecture for the Whale Beach House in Sydney and Zac’s House at Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula. Also good to see some different names pick up awards this year, hopefully it continues next time around.

For a full list of winners, visit the AIA website.

Are they No.1?

mb_letterbox-420x0With Melbourne-based architects, McBride Charles Ryan taking out the Harold Desbrowe-Annear Award for Residential Architecture at the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter Awards in Melbourne last night for the second year running are they Australia’s No.1 design firm.

Full details and comment on all the winners to follow later.