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Victorian Architecture Awards 2023: Your comprehensive wrap

The 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards winners have been announced, spotlighting creative collaborations and a sustainable ethos in architecture. This year’s honours underscore the instrumental role of architectural design in shaping our everyday experiences across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Victorian Architecture Awards 2023: Your comprehensive wrap

University of Melbourne Student Precinct, photograph by Peter Bennetts.

The winners epitomise the influential role of architecture in moulding the spaces where we live, work, and play across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. A total of 64 awards, including 16 named awards, 23 architecture awards, and 25 commendations were bestowed from an impressive array of 130 shortlisted projects.

The University of Melbourne Student Precinct emerged as one of the most lauded projects, attesting to the virtues of collaborative design, sustainability and community engagement. It garnered the coveted Victorian Architecture Medal, the most prestigious honour of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. Victorian State President, David Wagner FRAIA, highlighted the project’s co-design process, underscoring the transformative power of architecture and its pivotal role in shaping outstanding design outcomes.

Nightingale Village, photograph by Tom Ross.

Nightingale Village, another standout project, earned the inaugural Dimity Reed Melbourne Prize, among other accolades. This innovative project challenges and reinforces the evolving growth of Melbourne, testifying to the power of architecture in shaping how urban development influences human experiences.

Two newly named awards were introduced this year in a fitting tribute to the valuable contributions of female architects Dimity Reed and Maggie Redmond. The Maggie Edmond Enduring Architecture Award was accorded to Brambuk: The National Park and Cultural Centre, a vital cultural hub for the Gariwerd (Grampians) National Park. This remarkable project encapsulates how architecture can serve as a potent tool for reconciliation.

Related: Questions of housing density at the Victoria awards

Brambuk by Gregory Burgess Architects, photograph by Trevor Mein.

The winners of the Heritage Architecture category displayed a spectrum of impressive achievements in preserving Victoria’s history. The crowning recognition was granted to Queen Victoria Markets Shed Restoration A – D, H – I, which pays homage to pre-colonial heritage.

Queen Victoria Sheds photograph by Dianna Snape.

This year’s awards also brought into sharp focus the architectural prowess evident in Victoria’s regional areas. The Warrnambool Library and Learning Centre, winner of the Regional Prize, was celebrated for its impactful contribution to the local community.

Warrnambool Library and Learning Centre photograph by Derek Swalwell.

The Delatite Cellar Door by Lucy Clemenger Architects received the highest honour in Commercial Architecture. The project captivated the jury with its focus on immersive experiences and understated detailing, showcasing local craftsmanship and locally sourced materials.

Delatite Cellar Door by Lucy Clemenger Architects, photograph by Derek Swalwell.

In the public realm, the William Wardell Award for Public Architecture recipient Bendigo Law Courts set a new benchmark for environmental sustainability and reconciliation. The project shines as a beacon of longevity in collaboration with Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners and local trades.

Bendigo Law Courts by Wardle, photograph by Tim Griffith.

This year also marked the second iteration of the EmAGN Project Award, aimed at recognising early-career designers. Office Mi—Ji’s AB House, the 2023 winner, impressed the jury with its thoughtful and technically meticulous detailing, which imbued an industrialised steel aesthetic with a confident sensitivity.

Office Mi—Ji’s AB House, photograph by Ben Hosking.

Finally, the residential categories celebrated projects that explored innovative possibilities for living spaces. Standouts such as Sunday by Architecture Architecture and spring creek road farm house by architect brew koch introduced new norms of flexibility and openness to living arrangements.

Sunday House by Architecture Architecture, photograph by Tom Ross.
Spring Creek Farmhouse by Architect Brew Koch, photograph by Thurston Empson.

The 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards were unveiled at a ceremony hosted by the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects on 16 June. The award winners are now eligible to compete in the National Architecture Awards programme, which will be announced in November.

Australian Institute of Architects


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