2022 Victorian Architecture Awards Winners Showcase Sustainable & Community-Centric Design

The winners of the 2022 Victorian Architecture Awards have been announced, honouring the state’s best  architecture. This year’s winners list highlights the integral role architects play in empowering communities and driving the evolution of the built environment, with standout projects responding to key issues of  sustainability, equity, and access.

Across 14 categories, a total of 66 projects were granted named awards, architecture awards and  commendations, drawn from a pool of 125 shortlisted projects – one of the largest ever selected for the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects’ awards program.

The Victorian Architecture Medal, the highest honour awarded each year to the most outstanding project across all categories, was awarded to Grampians Peaks Trail Stage 2 by Noxon Giffen Architects with McGregor Coxall.

Offering a series of diverse hiker shelters lining 160km of track situated in the pristine Gariwerd wilderness of the Grampians National Park, the project also received the Regional Prize. The project was commended for its 18-year process of consultation and site selection by an empowered Traditional Owners group, a modest but powerful design approach that avoided overshadowing the beauty and narrative of the landscape.

Victorian Chapter President Bill Krotiris FRAIA says in what was a list of outstanding contributions to  architecture in Victoria, the Grampians Peaks Trail Stage 2 represents the highest levels of design  accomplishment in the contemporary world we live in.

“Demonstrating an extraordinary level of sensitivity, commitment and collaboration, the project serves as a catalyst for the sensitive exploration of the Gariwerd region and reflects the rich possibilities of architecture in the ongoing development of our collective understanding of Country,” says Krotiris.

Regional projects were strongly represented in this year’s winners list, with the Bendigo TAFE City Campus Revitalisation, Shepparton Art Museum, and Ballarat Gov Hub notable winners celebrated for their thoughtful and considered consultative approaches to design, which saw close engagement with local communities and a rich understanding of the complexities of regional construction.

“The awards program provides us with the opportunity to celebrate the work of our members who endeavour to find creative solutions to important issues of accessibility, sustainability and equality, and continue to set a benchmark for Victoria’s high standard of design with projects that truly contribute to the communities they sit in,” says Krotiris.

Recognising structures that have endured for over 25 years and that continue to remain important in a contemporary context, the Enduring Architecture Award was awarded to St Kilda’s distinctive and recently refurbished Crigan House, announced at the ceremony by Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp.  

“Melbourne is one of the most architecturally exciting cities in Australia – with a seamless mélange of heritage and contemporary architecture. The City of Melbourne is thrilled to again support the Award for Enduring Architecture, and to celebrate the work of those who commit their careers to shaping extraordinary design outcomes in our built environment,” says the Lord Mayor.

Designed in the late 1980s by highly-regarded architect Allan Powell (1945-2022), the Jury praised the project as an exemplar for Victorian residential design – a model of how to build cleverly within a relatively dense urban context, without compromising views, sunlight, air and landscape. 

Powell continues to stamp his legacy on St Kilda and demonstrate the broad influence of his work within the industry, with Brearley Architects & Urbanists (BAU) and Grant Amon Architects, the team behind the Victorian Pride Centre, citing the architect’s influence on their award-winning design for Australia’s first purpose-built  LGBTIQ+ community hub.  

“As one of our ambitions was to create a sense of great welcoming and safety for diverse communities, and with St Kilda’s long history of inclusiveness, we sought a spirit of place, strongly informed by Allan Powell’s deeply reflective local work,” says BAU Director James Brearley. 

This year’s most recognised project was Queen & Collins, taking home four awards: the prestigious Melbourne Prize and as well as Architecture Awards in the Commercial Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Urban Design categories.  

KTA and BVN’s commercial adaptive reuse project breathed life into a cluster of gothic revival icons, unlocking a series of interconnected urban spaces to invite a sense of discovery within a busy CBD precinct. The Jury praised the project for its masterfully orchestrated use of light, space, colours and texture to create a surprising new urban space for Melbourne. 

Kerstin Thompson Architects’ Balfe Park Lane received the top award in the muti-residential category, setting a gold standard for designing healthy communities and embedding genuine liveability among a list of winners that highlighted the importance of housing as an essential social infrastructure. 

Victorian State Manager, Tim Leslie FRAIA said the undeniable quality of this year’s submissions caused significant debate among the Jury. 

“This year’s winners stand as a testament to the vitality of Melbourne’s cultural life, providing world-class venues for sport, the arts, education, community, faith and commerce – it is hugely buoying to see these new additions to our city that that will serve their communities for generations to come,” Leslie said.

The winners list further revealed how architectural processes can be creatively utilised to educate clients and stakeholders in shifting perspectives on how to implement viable structures for economic and social concerns. Recognised for their holistic approaches for modern-day structures, ANZ Breathe, Terrace House, and Shepparton Art Museum were exemplar projects awarded for their innovation and excellence in  environmental sustainability. 

Showcasing the potential of bespoke residential architecture when combined with adventurous client  aspirations, Corner House, Autumn House, and Arcadia also received top awards in the residential categories. 

Emerging practice Prior Barraclough received the newly implemented EmAGN Project Award for their work on Object 07 – a complex multi-residential project in Fitzroy that reflected a generous approach to collaboration and team mentorship. Among other notable winners were 405 Bourke Street, Wesley Place, the Clendon Centre, Yakimono & Society. 

The architecture awards were revealed at an awards ceremony hosted by the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects on Friday 17 June.

Projects that received an Architecture Award or a named award will now progress to compete in the National Architecture Awards program, with the shortlist to be announced by the Australian Institute of Architects in the coming months.

Learn more about the 2022 Winners of the Victorian Architecture Awards.

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