The University of Newcastle’s NeW Space building in the epicentre of Newcastle has emerged with a swathe of honours from the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2018 Newcastle Architecture Awards.
The result of a successful collaboration between Melbourne practice Lyons and locally-based EJE Architecture, the building was recognised not only with the most prestigious award presented, the Newcastle Jury Prize, but also Awards in the Educational Architecture, Interior Architecture and Urban Design categories.
The jury was highly impressed by this vertical university campus observing that it is an exemplar of design for new generation learning, urban renewal, and of civic place making, drawing together a complex brief of interlocking educational and public spaces.
They also noted that “the University’s strategy of buying prime urban sites in the civic heart of Newcastle has been suitably matched and rewarded by the architects detailed site analysis, historical and cultural research and embrace of innovation in education at a global level”.
The city of Maitland also featured in the awards with Jury Chair, Sam Crawford, observing that “it was especially exciting to witness councils like Maitland City Council actively and imaginatively pursuing meaningful improvements to their town”. A new grandstand at Maitland No.1 Sportsground, a collaborative effort between the Maitland City Council, NSW Government Architect’s Office and CKDS, was recognised with the Award for Public Architecture.
Another civic project, the refurbishment of the Auditorium of the Maitland Town Hall was recognised with a Commendation in the Heritage category.
The best new house in the Newcastle region was awarded to Brass House by Anthrosite, a house intimately situated within its context of the Glenrock State Conservation Area, while the Award for Alterations & Additions went to Welsh + Major for their subtle but meaningful improvements to the Blue House, formerly a 2000 Menkens Award-winning project.
Three Piece House by Sydney-based TRIAS picked up both the Award for Sustainable Architecture and a Commendation in the Residential Architecture – Houses (New) category, and the tiny elevated platform of the North Avoca Studio by Matt Thitchener Architect was the recipient of both the COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture and a Commendation in the Small Project Architecture category.
With a record number of entries, this year’s program showcased the breadth of work undertaken with the increased number of entries in the Educational, Multiple Housing, and Public Architecture categories reflecting the Hunter’s growth, changing demographics and community needs.
Sam said there was a lot of pride held by local architects for Newcastle’s unique spaces.
“Architects are contributing to providing better environments in Newcastle across all spheres – and Newcastle seems to have an abundance of refreshingly down to earth, friendly, welcoming architects and supportive, happy, enlightened clients who are immensely proud of their projects,” Sam said.
“All of this bodes well for the future.”
The award winners were announced at a presentation held at the Merewether Surfhouse in late March. Awarded projects are now eligible for the NSW Architecture Awards which will be announced on Friday 6 July.
IMAGE | The University of Newcastle’s award-winning NeW Space.19