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Strong connections win the favour of AIA’s Victorian chapter

With the Victorian Architecture Awards 2021 shortlist revealed, connection to the bigger picture will be what ultimately distinguishes the winners from the rest.

Distilled from an excess of 200 project entries, 117 are named on the shortlist, spanning the usual 14 categories, to progress to the clincher judging round. And based on the inimitable calibre of the shortlisted projects, AIA’s 2021 Victorian awards jurors have countless debatable decisions and their fair share of tough calls ahead of June 18—the date that has been set, for the Victorian awards winners to be revealed via Youtube livestream.

While, at this cliff-hanging moment in the program, we can only wait and speculate on the outcome of judging, we have it on good authority that favour will go to any entries that resound with sense of place, considered connections and transcendence of project’s own scale. This ‘big picture’ lens expected to distinguish the winning projects from the runner-ups comes in retrospect of the pandemic that so decidedly changed life, according to Bill Krotiris, president of the Victorian chapter awards.

 

“Projects will be awarded for their contribution to the bigger picture”

 

An exemplar of space designed for passive activity, Prahran Square by Lyons is shortlisted in three categories: The Melbourne Prize, Public Architecture, and Urban Design. Photo by Peter Bennetts.

An exemplar of space designed for passive activity, Prahran Square by Lyons is shortlisted in three categories: The Melbourne Prize, Public Architecture, and Urban Design. Photo by Peter Bennetts.

“Today, in the context of Covid-19, we see an increased emphasis not just on the creation of a place within public but on the associated active and passive activities of place,” said Krotiris in announcing the shortlist. “Projects will be awarded for their contribution to the bigger picture story around how they benefit people not only at the individual level but also the precinct scale.”

Rosemary Burne—who, as Chair of Juries, speaks on behalf of the jury—has echoed Krotiris’ sentiment, noting how the pandemic forced us to think about being kinder to ourselves, each other, and to the planet. These large scale shifts set a thematic precedent for the shortlist.

Such prevailing themes throughout the 2021 Victorian Architecture Awards shortlist include forging a stronger connection with nature; cultivating wilderness in urban areas; and architecture as a conduit for both connection to and caring for country.

600 Church Street, a progressive mixed use building by Wood Marsh, is shortlisted for the Commercial Architecture award category. Photo by Willem Dirk du Toit.

600 Church Street, a progressive mixed use building by Wood Marsh, is shortlisted for the Commercial Architecture award category. Photo by Willem Dirk du Toit.

The rooftop of 600 Church Street by Wood Marsh gives the commercial building a sense of infinite connection to the nature of its surrounds. Photo by Willem Dirk du Toit.

“What sets the Awards shortlist apart is how entrants have taken innovation to the next level and considered it at all scales – from the single modular unit to a precinct-wide, and indeed a planet-wide perspective,” says Burne.

“Using architecture to enhances people’s connection to nature and their well-being are vitally important across all sectors of the built environment – from home to work to education and health facilities. That theme is evident across all of our shortlisted projects.”

See the shortlist in full here

RMIT Rodda Lane Precinct by Sibling Architecture is on the shortlist for the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture. Photo by Peter Bennetts.

RMIT Rodda Lane Precinct by Sibling Architecture is on the shortlist for the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture. Photo by Peter Bennetts.

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