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Adaptive reuse prevails in 2020 Victorian Architecture Awards

Just when Australia’s beloved state of Victoria could well do with a ‘good news’ story, the 2020 Victorian Architecture Awards have delivered.

Officially announced on Friday, 10 July – via a virtual ceremony no less – the 2020 Victorian Architecture Awards winners list showcases the best architectural projects to come out of the state over the past year. The Australian Institute of Architects awarded a total of 63 accolades (narrowed down from a shortlist of 108 entries), across 15 categories, with the winners’ list aptly rewarding adaptive reuse projects and those with excellent community outcomes.

One particularly notable project was the redevelopment of the State Library of Victoria by Architectus in collaboration with Schmidt Hammer Lassen, which home the esteemed Melbourne Prize, as well as awards in the Heritage – Conservation and Public Architecture categories. Opening up 40 percent more public access space, the transformation of the much-loved institution decidedly leads the way with its contribution to the public as well as its considered treatment of architectural heritage.

State Library of Victoria by Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen. Photography by Trevor Mein

State Library of Victoria by Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen. Photography by Trevor Mein

“Projects such as the State Library offer a major benefit to Melburnians and the way it has been brought back to life is a real gift to the city,” says Ingrid Bakker, the event’s chair of juries. “This landmark is something that can be enjoyed for generations to come and is an exemplar of the enhancement of existing buildings. It demonstrates the important consideration that needs to be championed by clients, architects, consultants and contractors in understanding the projects inherent value and impact of that building will have over time.”

Another highlight on the winners’ list for 2020 is Monash University, with both its Chancellery building, designed ARM Architecture, and Gillies Hall, designed by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, receiving recognition across multiple categories.

Gillies Hall, Monash University, by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects. Photography by Peter Clarke

To namedrop just a few more noteworthy public projects on the winners’ list are the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre by TERROIR and RMIT Capitol Theatre by Six Degrees Architects. In addition, the Ian Potter Southbank Centre University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects received The Marion Mahony Award for Interior Architecture. Bakker continues, “The Ian Potter Southbank Centre is an excellent example of public architecture that strives for longevity and legacy. The project has actively sort to give back to the public realm.

“Outstanding design, as showcased by the projects recognised in these awards, is about much more than simple aesthetics. It is about creating resilient, sustainable and adaptive places, sensitive to their context that will be fit for purpose and serve our communities not just today, but for decades to come.” Hear, hear. Congratulations to all who received recognition!

Ian Potter Southbank Centre University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects. Photography by Trevor Mein.


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