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Sri Lankan house wins at Australian Institute of Architects’ 2018 International Chapter Awards


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The Australian Institute of Architects has announced the winners of the 2018 International Chapter Architecture Awards at a special ceremony officiated by Australian High Commissioner to Singapore Bruce Gosper, on Friday, 20 July. 

The Awards recognise projects located beyond Australia’s borders by members of the Australian Institute of Architects. From a field of 17 entries, the jury honoured six projects sited across Asia and the Pacific, including three in Singapore. 

School-in-a-Box by Stephen Collier Architects was ‘the standout project’ for the jury, taking out the Award for Small Project Architecture. 

“The architects have responded to the challenges of the Papua New Guinea environment by creating an easily transportable pod or box, the contents of which create a pop-up school. Responding to the needs of people who have very little, the box includes a tent for shelter that allows for rainwater to be collected, solar panels to power laptops and a printer and plywood joinery for sitting and working.

“The school in a box is an exemplar of how simple, thoughtful and useful design can positively influence communities and the environment, and have an influence way beyond an intended purpose,” the jury said. 

GreenhilLi Architecture + Design’s New Wings at The Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore received the Award for Public Architecture with the jury noting the relationship of the new works to the existing building. 

“The success of the elegant new architecture, with its soft metallic sheen, airy volumes and crisp titanium detailing, lies in its distinctive yet productive cooperation with the materiality, form and use history of its heritage partner. Notably no part of the heritage building has been erased or obscured, rather it provides a counterpoise to the new.”

BVN’s redevelopment of the Australian Embassy Bangkok won the Award for Interior Architecture with the jury lauding its ‘refined and evocative interior’ along with its connection to Australia’s landscape. 

“From the red sand of the desert to the cities along the coastal fringe, the Australian landscape forms an intrinsic part of our national identity. This connection between land and culture provides the conceptual framework for the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, creating a distinctively Australian space within an urban Thai setting.

The Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) was presented to House 412 by Pulina Ponnamperuma + Robust Architecture Workshop. This home in Colombo, Sri Lanka which ‘positively contributes to the life of the street’ has also revealed ‘the potential for architecture to positively contribute to the social and economic development of a community’. 

‘By being “technologically robust” and pushing for the visible and considered craft of various trades, the building is allowed to act as both a teaching ground and a positive example of technique thereby helping build capacity and understanding of what is possible in the local workforce,’ the jury said. 

The four awarded projects are now in the running for the Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture at the National Architecture Awards to be announced in Melbourne on 1 November 2018. 

In addition to the four awards, the jury bestowed two commendations. One for Commercial Architecture to Kampung Admiralty by WOHA and one for Small Project Architecture which went to Bayshore Park Underpass also by GreenhilLi Architecture + Design. 

At the ceremony, renowned Singaporean architect Dr. Liu Thai Ker was presented with the 2018 William J Mitchell International Chapter Prize, awarded earlier in the year in recognition of significant contribution by an Australia-linked practitioner to architecture globally.

Considered the ‘architect of modern Singapore’, Dr. Liu was born in Malaysia, but grew up and practises in Singapore ‘where he was influential in the conceptualisation and implementation of the urban structure and landscape the city-state’. He received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of New South Wales in 1962 and was later awarded an honorary Doctorate (1995) from UNSW.

“In the last 25 years, Dr. Liu has served as a planning advisor for many municipal governments in China, and master planned more than 30 cities worldwide. His approach is “scientific” with an emphasis on evidence-based provisioning of basic amenities, transport and accommodation but an aspiration to thus enable intellectual and cultural life,” the prize jury said. 

Full list of winners: 

Commercial Architecture 

Commendation – Kampung Admiralty by WOHA (Singapore)

Interior Architecture 

Award – Australian Embassy Bangkok by BVN (Thailand)

Public Architecture 

Award – New Wings at The Asian Civilisations Museum by GreenhilLi Architecture + Design (Singapore)

Residential Architecture – Houses (New) 

Award – House 412 by Pulina Ponnamperuma + Robust Architecture Workshop (Sri Lanka)

Small Project Architecture 

Award – School-in-a-Box by Stephen Collier Architects (Papua New Guinea)

Commendation – Bayshore Park Underpass by GreenhilLi Architecture + Design (Singapore)

William J Mitchell International Chapter Prize

Dr. Liu Thai Ker FRAIA – Morrow (Singapore)


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