Design Marvels at the 2012 Victorian Architecture Awards: Urban Landscapes, Sustainability and Outdoor Synthesis
Some exciting houses have recently received accolades at the 2012 Victorian Architecture Awards. The residential buildings (which are my chief concern) celebrated by the ceremony highlight the fact that contemporary houses must do more than look pretty in order to gain recognition; they must be designed to complement modern lifestyle standards, with the the aim of synthesising the property with the urban landscape while still retaining a striking aesthetic quality.
The most prestigious residential award, the Harold Desbrowe-Annear Award, went to the above Queensberry Street House by Robert Simeoni Architects. The Australian Institute of Architects described the home as “a comprehensively unique and exciting project that is ‘about privacy and shared spaces; seclusion and connectedness with the city and exploring how light and ventilation can be brought into an inner city courtyard house’.” The house’s facade is imposing, with the dark, patterned brick work capturing a historic edge. The reflective glass allows privacy, but is also used to mirror the streetscape, creating cohesiveness.
The Awards acknowledged both the sustainability and impressive design features of Heller Street Park and Residences, pictured above, by architecture outfit Six Degrees. The medium-density development was built on the contaminated site of a former tip, making it’s environmental choos especially impressive, and is striking as it sits distinctly from the flat surrounding landscape. Angles and texture are used to create visual interest (as you can see!). The terraces and their communal areas were constructed to blur the private/public boundary, creating a sense of shared space. The project won Best Overend Award for Multiple Residential Architecture and the 2012 Sustainable Architecture Award.
The last award I’m going to mention is a particularly interesting one, as I’ve formed a bit of a love for outdoor spaces recently. The Small Project Architecture Award was given to Baracco + Wright Architecture for its Garage + Deck + Landscape project. The finished product is breathtaking – while ostensibly simple, it creates a perfect synthesis between the eye-catching landscaping and slanted garage, which is the first attractive garage I believe I’ve ever seen.
Each of the residential projects praised at the awards show imagination as well as fundamental design ethos, which is what renders them so significant. Homes like these will retain their appeal in the future due to both the lifestyle they offer the resident and their immense visual impact.