2023 Victorian Architecture Awards Shortlist Revealed

The Australian Institute of Architects has today announced the shortlist for the 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards, with a total of 130 projects shortlisted across 15 categories of Public Architecture, Sustainable Architecture, Interior Architecture and more.

A joint multi-residential submission by six of Australia’s leading architects (Nightingale Village), Australia’s first Passive House-certified community building (Glenroy Community Hub), and the southern hemisphere’s first dedicated cardiac hospital (Victorian Heart Hospital) are among the many significant projects.

Run annually by the Victorian Chapter of the Institute, the Victorian Architecture Awards celebrate the best architecture across the state, collectively showcasing the positive impacts of architects in shaping the built landscape for all Victorians. This year’s shortlist has been selected by 15 independent juries following a rigorous entry and presentation process.

Victorian State President, David Wagner FRAIA said this year’s standard of submitted projects appeared to be ever higher with sophisticated responses to context, form, space, materiality, technology and sustainability.

“Shortlisting entries is an unenviable task undertaken by a select jury in response to in-person presentations and the quality of projects not shortlisted speaks volumes for those that have been. Those shortlisted are commonly amazing projects that have been thoroughly considered, designed and have come together to create a special outcome for the client,” Wagner said.

Chair of Juries, Ingrid Bakker LFRAIA said there were some consistent themes among the diverse range of shortlisted projects: “The overall quality is really high, and this is a real credit to the industry as many of the projects were both designed and realised during the pandemic. There is a focus on place – many of the buildings strongly relate to the context they are in, both through how they are sited and in the materiality. There is also an increase in First Nations engagement which is creating a real richness to the projects.”

Jury Chair Sustainability Award, Jane Caught RAIA, Heliotope, said the Institute’s introduction of a mandatory sustainability checklist for all award entries to all categories encouraged a baseline level of meaningful sustainable design for all projects, while helping filter projects for consideration in the Sustainable Architecture award.

“The shortlisted projects this year exhibited both large and small initiatives, all equality valuable. We wanted to celebrate those projects where architects drove the sustainability agenda and strived for a beyond business-as-usual approach. The selected projects support the context of site, innovate the program, and look to reduce their footprint – both operational and embodied – while enhancing their social and educational impacts,” Caught said.

A total of 249 entries were accepted for consideration across 10 direct categories in the 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards, the highest number of entries in the country. The Public Architecture, Residential Architecture – Houses (New), and Interior Architecture categories had the highest number of shortlisted projects with 12 projects shortlisted in each category. This was followed closely by Educational Architecture and Heritage Architecture with 11 shortlisted projects each.

Regional Prize Jury Chair, Justin Noxon RAIA, NOXON, said this year’s Regional Architecture category showcased a rich variety of commendable projects from around Victoria. 

“Acknowledging their regional communities and contexts, these projects demonstrate outstanding architectural solutions, each delivering highly considered and well-executed responses to their own unique circumstance. With an enormous diversity in scale, typology and setting, the shortlisted projects share a common commitment to architectural excellence in regional Victoria,” Noxon said.

Many regional projects including Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, Bendigo Law Courts and the Queenscliff Ferry Terminal shortlisted for multiple categories, a reflection of the continued diversity and quality of Victoria’s regional architecture.

In the Public Architecture category, the jury shortlisted 12 projects from 27 entries, with several community centres including Dianella Community Centre and Nunawading Community Hub selected for their efforts to support healthy, inclusive, and diverse communities.

Public Architecture Jury Chair, Veryan Curnow RAIA, Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, said: ‘‘Those that have stood out in the field have demonstrated excellence in embedding social, cultural and environmental sustainability into high-quality design outcomes, provided significant public benefit to the health, care and connection of communities, and enriched public life and activity through unique and engaging spaces.”

The Interior Architecture category captured a wide range of typologies, ranging from cutting-edge cultural and educational spaces (Science Gallery Melbourne, Darebin Intercultural Centre, Wurun Senior Campus) to small-scale residential designs (Glen Iris House, Bass Coast Farmhouse).

Interior Architecture Jury Chair Tim O’Sullivan RAIA, Multiplicity, said the jury looked for projects with a voice that truly sings: “These are the projects that go that extra distance, aim a little higher, push a little harder, and embrace the brief with a little more vigour.”

In the next stage of the awards program, juries will visit the shortlisted entries to understand how the presentations align with the physical experience of being in and around the projects and then work through which entries are to be selected as winners.

The Victorian Chapter is delighted to be partnering with Polestar as Major Partner of the 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards Evening on Friday 16 June, where winners will be revealed.

Winners of each category for each state and territory will then be eligible for recognition in the National Architecture Awards program – Australia’s highest honours for architecture – set to be announced in November.

A full list of shortlisted projects can be found here: architecture.com.au/vic-awards

More green updates