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Future architects the big winners at TAS Architecture Awards

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Future architects the big winners at TAS Architecture Awards

A former diesel factory transformed into lecture rooms and studios for student architects, and a school chapel framing Hobart’s magnificent Mount Wellington landscape, are joint winners of Tasmania’s major architecture prize for public buildings.

The Royal Australian Institute of Architects 2007 Tasmanian Architecture Awards were presented by former Tasmanian governor, Sir Guy Green at a ceremony in Hobart on Saturday 19 May.

Sharing the award for Public Architecture are the University of Tasmania’s School of Architecture in Launceston by Melbourne-based Six Degrees Architects, and Hobart’s Dominic College Chapel by DesignInc.

In a night of shared awards and multiple accolades, the UTAS School of Architecture also took out the award for Sustainability Architecture. Its third award, for Heritage Architecture, is shared with Rosny Historic Centre by Morrison & Breytenbach Architects.

Renowned architect and jury chair, Kerstin Thompson, said the UTAS School of Architecture stands out not only for its architectural excellence, but also for its demonstration of best practice in sustainable architectural design. The new works include offices, lecture rooms, a ‘sea of drafting boards,’ informal studios that double as a ‘sky lounge’ and a workshop.

“The UTAS building stands as a working demonstration to the generations of architectural students passing through that environmental sustainability can be achieved without compromise to architectural excellence. I would love to be studying here - and it’s fitting that such splendid design is the site for the making of architects, the people who will design and create our built environments in the future,” said Ms Thompson.

The Dominic College Chapel was additionally honoured with the Colorbond Steel Award for excellence and the innovative use of steel in architectural design, impressing the jury with its “refined use of steel corrugated sheet cladding to create a robust and innovative envelope.”

Mount Wellington forms the altar backdrop of the building’s second chapel, with its profile reflected in a dramatic glass wall. Sliding doors on the third and fourth chapels fold away for an intimate service in a landscaped amphitheatre or to support a service for 1000, using the adjacent courts as seating space and the chapel terrace as the altar.

“The college chapel is a superb and uplifting building,” said Ms Thompson. “Its asymmetry beautifully balances the playful informality of the young students with the traditions of a chapel, providing a contemporary space for spiritual education and worship.”

An outstanding project in the state’s south-east was honoured with the Residential New Architecture Award. The Bonnet Hill House by Preston Lane Architects straddles a ridge, capturing two views. The project also straddles the aspirations for high quality architecture and the constraints of a modest budget.

“This is architecture not often seen,” said Ms Thompson of the Bonnet Hill House.

“Using quite conventional construction methods and materials, the architectural outcome is cost effective and quite exceptional. It’s a terrific example of architects creating a good value for money home, for comfortable everyday living. This project strikes exactly the right tone - simple things done really well.”

The Residential Alterations/Additions Award was presented to Rosevear Architects for the skilful and elegant addition of a new kitchen and living area to a heritage-listed Edwardian villa in South Hobart.

On the island’s north coast, the jury celebrated the Burnie Surf Redevelopment by jawsarchitects with a commendation for Commercial Architecture. The site’s existing structure has been retained and reworked to house surf club meeting rooms, restaurants and cafes, and boat and equipment storage, with added deck areas.

“Extending the public amenity and function well beyond the former building’s traditional use is an excellent example of revitalising an existing facility. Our commendation is equally as much to the local council for involving architects in the redevelopment. The reinvigoration of this site will have a big impact on the vibrant life of the town,” said Ms Thompson.

The standard of this year’s entries was applauded by the jury, which included Leo Schofield, Fred Ward, Stuart Tanner and Bevan Rees. Over a tightly-packed three days, the jury visited each of the 28 projects, benefiting from the heightened understanding that comes from physically experiencing the architecture.

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