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Far North Queensland Awards honour architectural innovation and community impact

The annual Far North Queensland Regional Architecture Awards recently lauded innovative designs characterised by the positive impact of considerate architecture.

Far North Queensland Awards honour architectural innovation and community impact

Cairns Convention Centre, photography by Christopher Frederick Jones.

The annual Far North Queensland Regional Architecture Awards were hosted on May 17th, where architectural designs set to improve the Cairns and wider community through innovative and functional spaces were celebrated. The Far North Queensland Regional Architecture Awards highlight architectural quality and the positive impact thoughtful design can have on communities. While the acclaimed Cairns Convention Centre and Cairns State High School Multipurpose Hall were lauded for their innovative design, the Atherton Hospital Redevelopment, designed by Peddle Thorp, won the audience’s hearts with the People’s Choice Award.

Atherton Hospital Redevelopment, Andrew Watson photography.

The Cairns Convention Centre, designed by Cox Architecture and CA Architects, was awarded the Eddie Oribin Building of the Year. This expansion earned the top honour and received a regional commendation for Public Architecture. The new flexible spaces are expected to draw larger events and boost tourism in the region. The design ingeniously integrates the surrounding landscape, with expansive windows offering panoramic views of the World Heritage tropical rainforests. Sea-grass carpets, Cape York hardwood, and a botanical colour palette reflect the local environment.

Cairns Convention Centre, photography by Christopher Frederick Jones.

Jury Co-Chair Sandy Cavill praised the design as “a clever response to the place and identity of tropical Far North Queensland,” noting its ability to enrich the venue’s performance and attractiveness as a convention centre.

The Cairns State High School Multipurpose Hall, Bou-wa, designed by TPG Architects, was honoured as Project of the Year. This design received a regional commendation in Educational Architecture. The hall accommodates various school programs simultaneously, featuring three new courts, a stage for a 70-piece orchestra and an assembly hall.

Related: 2024 Brisbane Regional Architecture Awards

Principal Chris Zilm lauded the design for its functionality and adaptability, allowing educators to reconfigure the space as needed. The design addresses Cairns’ summer heat and monsoonal rains, extending the school’s sports timetable. TPG Architects collaborated closely with First Nations students, staff and community members, creating a design that Principal Zilm described as establishing “a new aesthetic for State School buildings, sensitive to the story of the local people and environment.”

All commended projects from this event will now compete in the Australian Institute of Architects Queensland Architecture Awards, scheduled for June 2024.

AIA
architecture.com.au

Cairns Convention Centre, photography by Christopher Frederick Jones.
Atherton Hospital Redevelopment, Andrew Watson photography.

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