From the very small to the monumental, architecture at all scales celebrated at National Awards

The 2015 winners of the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards have been announced at a special ceremony in Brisbane on Thursday 5 November.

42 projects shared a total of 46 national honours in the coveted Awards program spanning 14 diverse categories. The jury, chaired by the Institute’s Immediate Past President David Karotkin, selected the winners after creating a shortlist from the 185 eligible projects following the Chapter Architecture Awards held earlier in the year.

ARM Architecture’s Shrine of Remembrance – Galleries of Remembrance, the culmination of a masterplan for the Melbourne monument that was established 15 years ago, won the 2015 Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture.

The sought-after distinction was presented by the jury for the ‘masterstroke’ of cutting courtyards into the historic grassed mound, resolving ‘the programmatic challenges of turning a landmark monument into a major museum and gallery building while keeping intact the original urban design concept’.

‘This outstanding final stage reinstates the symmetry of the four quadrants of the Shrine’s original 1927 layout. What is remarkable about these latest additions is that they enhance the appreciation of the existing monument while confidently creating a new and intriguing visitor experience,’ the jury said.

At the other end of the scale, a ‘very small, neglected barn’ in Hobart has been successfully re-envisioned as a home by emerging architects Liz Walsh and Alex Nielsen (workbylizandalex). #thebarnTAS thoroughly impressed the jury taking out the top prize for Small Project Architecture, the Nicholas Murcutt Award and an Award for Heritage for the ‘brilliant solution’ that ‘overwhelmingly demonstrates that less can be much more’.

‘The historic structure has been lovingly retained – even its original shingles have been scrupulously cleaned and now form a ceiling to the upper mezzanine bedroom. This is an excellent example of how the limits and challenges of heritage and conservation can encourage inventive solutions. Regulatory, technical and structural requirements have not been seen as impediments but rather as creative possibilities,’ the jury stated.

Planchonella House, a Cairns home nestled in the treetops of the surrounding rainforest, by Jesse Bennett Architect Builder won the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New).

‘Here is an architect/builder/inventor and an interior innovator at their combined best.

‘The house often appears raw because of the directness of its materials but it is highly sophisticated and inventive in its detailing. The combination is surprising and confident and it is this that sets this house apart,’ the jury noted.

The National Architecture Awards program has been held annually since 1981 and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. In 2015, there were 861 entries (753 projects) from around the country and abroad for the 14 national categories. Entries progress through Regional and Chapter Awards, with projects receiving awards and Named Awards at Chapter level being eligible for the National Awards.

Full list of winning projects:

Commercial Architecture

Harry Seidler Award – 50 Martin Place by JPW (NSW)
National Award – The GPT Group’s Wollongong Central by HDR Rice Daubney (NSW)
National Commendation – Equestrian Centre, Merricks by Seth Stein Architects (London) in association with Watson Architecture + Design (Melbourne) (Vic)

Educational Architecture

Daryl Jackson Award – Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects & NADAAA in collaboration (Vic)
National Award – UTS Science Faculty, Building 7 by Durbach Block Jaggers Architects & BVN (NSW)
National Commendation – Camperdown Childcare by CO-AP (Architects) (NSW)
National Commendation – Jeffrey Smart Building, University of South Australia by John Wardle Architects in association with Phillips/Pilkington Architects (SA)

Enduring Architecture

National Enduring Architecture Award – Council House by Howlett & Bailey Architects (WA)


Lachlan Macquarie Award – Irving Street Brewery by Tzannes Associates (NSW)
National Award – The Abbey, Johnston Street, Annandale by Design 5 – Architects (NSW)
National Award – Coriyule by Bryce Raworth & Trethowan Architecture (Vic)
National Award – #thebarnTAS by workbylizandalex (Tas)

Interior Architecture

Emil Sodersten Award – Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (NSW)
National Award – The University of Queensland Global Change Institute by HASSELL (Qld)
National Commendation – Medibank by HASSELL (Vic)

International Architecture

Jørn Utzon Award – Pico Branch Library by Koning Eizenberg Architecture Inc. (United States)
Australian Award – Aman, Tokyo by Kerry Hill Architects (Japan)
Australian Award – Gloucestershire Garden Room by robert grace architecture (United Kingdom)

Public Architecture

Sir Zelman Cowen Award – Shrine of Remembrance – Galleries of Remembrance by ARM Architecture (Vic)
National Award – Adelaide Oval Redevelopment by Cox Architecture, Walter Brooke and Hames Sharley (SA)
National Commendation – Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital by Conrad Gargett Lyons (Qld)
National Commendation – Fiona Stanley Hospital – Main Hospital Building by The Fiona Stanley Hospital Design Collaboration (comprising HASSELL, Hames Sharley and Silver Thomas Hanley) (WA)
National Commendation – Margaret Court Arena by NH Architecture + Populous (Vic)

Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)

Eleanor Cullis-Hill Award – Tower House by Andrew Maynard Architects (Vic)
National Award – Local House by MAKE Architecture (Vic)
National Award – Orama by Smart Design Studio (NSW)
National Commendation – Walter Street Terrace by David Boyle Architect (NSW)

Residential Architecture – Houses (New)

Robin Boyd Award – Planchonella House by Jesse Bennett Architect Builder (Qld)
National Award – Light House by Peter Stutchbury Architecture (NSW)
National Award – Sawmill House by Archier (Vic)
National Award – Villa Marittima, St Andrews Beach by Robin Williams Architect (Vic)
National Award – Balmoral House by Clinton Murray + Polly Harbison (NSW)

Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing

Frederick Romberg Award – Upper House by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects (Vic)
National Award – Studios 54 by Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects (NSW)

Small Project Architecture

Nicholas Murcutt Award – #thebarnTAS by workbylizandalex (Tas)
National Commendation – LOVESTORY shop by MORQ (WA)
National Commendation – Moonlight Cabin by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects (Vic)

Sustainable Architecture

David Oppenheim Award – The University of Queensland Global Change Institute by HASSELL (Qld)
National Award – Bethanga House by tUG workshop (Vic)
National Award – Library at The Dock by Clare Design + Hayball (Architect of Record) (Vic)
National Commendation – Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) – University of Wollongong by COX Richardson (NSW)
National Commendation – Cameraygal (formerly Dunbar building) by NSW Government Architect’s Office (NSW)

Urban Design

Walter Burley Griffin Award – NewActon Precinct by Fender Katsalidis Architects (ACT)
National Award – Monash University North West Precinct by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects in collaboration with MGS Architects (masterplan) (Vic)

COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture

Award – Adelaide Oval Redevelopment by Cox Architecture, Walter Brooke and Hames Sharley (SA)
Commendation – 50 Martin Place by JPW (NSW)


View the gallery of winning projects here.