ACT Architecture Awards prove sustainable home design is the future


Many of Canberra’s best architects won prizes at the ACT Architecture Awards tonight, but there was one clear and overall winner of the night – sustainability.

This year Priceheld on Friday 3 June, celebrated the innovation of Canberra architecture and highlighted key designs recognized as ‘the most prestigious and rigorous of their kind’.

Demonstrating the Australian Institute of Architects’ commitment to sustainable building and design, the ACT President’s Medal was awarded to Dr Melinda Dodson, a well-known community advocate, researcher and architect.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Dodson has demonstrated his commitment to sustainable cities through public outreach, research, industry leadership and architectural practice.

Showcasing his groundbreaking sustainable building and construction, Dr. Dodson’s Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge (CLCHC), which was awarded the Clem Cummings Medal. The CLCHC highlights low-carbon strategies and efficiencies that can be used to reduce not only home energy efficiency, but overall carbon emissions as well.

ACT President Jane Cassidy said: “The Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge team is to be commended for raising public awareness through the competition and face-to-face digital public displays.”

“The team has achieved excellent results in its short life and has already developed an ambitious program of research projects, peer education and exhibitions to extend its reach from individual housing to developments at more large scale.”

“Melinda embodies what it is to be a professional who acts in the public interest to improve community outcomes with a passion for providing inclusive sustainable built environments,” said Ms. Cassidy.

“She strongly believes that architecture holds the key to solving many of our cities’ frustrations. His research informs the development of strategies to improve housing choice and affordability and reduce carbon emissions from housing, relative to the ACT 2045 net zero goals.”

The preeminent award for architecture, the Canberra Medallion, is the awards’ highest honor and was awarded this year to ANU’s Birch Building Refurbishment by Hassell.

The thoughtful reinterpretation of the 1968 heritage-listed building also received the JS Murdoch Award for Heritage, the Enrico Taglietti Award for Educational Architecture and the W Hayward Morris Award for Interior Design.

Noted for its ingenious standard roof inversion, light-enhancing design, and connection between the dwelling and the south-facing rear garden, Rob Henry Architect’s Blue Sky House was awarded the Robert Foster Award for Light in Architecture .

Canberra Weekly recently presented Blue Sky House when it was just nominated for the award, and saw a lot of time, love and thoughtful planning that went into the revitalization.

Designed by Rob Henry Architects in Canberra, Blue Sky House has won an ACT Architecture Awards for its innovative renovation of an original 1960s house. Photos: Ben King Photography

The owners of the house said: ‘Rob nailed the case. It delivered, in a small space, something beautiful and incredibly functional for our family.”

“We love the bright living room, we love the connection to the garden and the kitchen is perfect. It’s not a big house, but all the spaces work. From the street it’s still the same cottage that drew us here, but inside Rob has transformed it into something unexpected and special.”

The Derek Wrigley Award for Sustainable Architecture went to The House with Old Roots by The Mill: Architecture & Design, which has successfully conceptualized functionality in a family home while achieving high levels of passive solar design.

The landmark Constitution Place building won the Sir John Overall Award for Urban Design, while its architectural firm, Bates Smart, won two other accolades: the John Andrews Award for Commercial Architecture and an Award for Interior Architecture.

These outstanding ACT architecture projects and firms are now progressing to compete in the upcoming National Architecture Awards.

2022 ACT Architecture Award Winners

Canberra Medallion

▪ Renovation of the Birch building of the ANU | hazel | Canberra Medallion

Art in architecture

▪ Secret garden house | CCJ Architects | The Pamille Berg Prize for Art in Architecture

Commercial architecture

▪ Constitution Square | Smart Bates | The John Andrews Prize for Commercial Architecture

Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture

▪ Finn Street House | Ben Walker Architects | Award

Pedagogical architecture

▪ Renovation of the Birch building of the ANU | hazel | The Enrico Taglietti Prize for Educational Architecture

▪ Radford College – Morrison Center | Stewart Architecture | Award

Sustainable architecture

▪ Manning Clark House | Robin Boyd | The Sir Roy Grounds Award for Sustainable Architecture

Heritage architecture

▪ Renovation of the Birch building of the ANU | hazel | The JS Murdoch Prize for Heritage

Interior architecture

▪ Renovation of the Birch building of the ANU | hazel | The W Hayward Morris Interior Award


▪ Constitution Square | Smart Bates | Award

▪ Fluid yoga | Craig Tan Architects | Award

▪ BLOCK desktop | Mathieson Architects | Recommendation

▪ 15 Moore Street – Renovation | Mathieson Architects | Recommendation

light in architecture

▪ Blue Sky House | Rob Henry Architects | The Robert Foster Award for Light in Architecture

Public architecture

▪ National Jewish Memorial Center | Philip Leeson Architects | Recommendation

Residential Architecture – Houses (modifications and additions)

▪ Secret garden house | CCJ Architects | The Gene Willsford Award for Residential Architecture

▪ Ziwa House | of Rome Architects | Award

▪ Smithon House | COX architecture | Recommendation

Residential Architecture – Houses (New)

▪ Jingston House | Rob Henry Architects | The Malcolm Moir and Heather Sutherland Award for Residential Architecture

▪ McPhee Place House | Hugh Gordon Architects | Recommendation

▪ SALO | Thursday Architecture | Recommendation

Residential Architecture – Multiple Dwellings

• Alexandre & Albemarle | COX architecture | The Sydney Ancher Award for Residential Architecture

• MICA | COX architecture | Stewart Architecture | Award

• Domain | Collins Pennington Architects | Award

• The Bradfield, Downer | Architecture AMC | Recommendation

Sustainable architecture

• The house with old roots | The Mill: Architecture + Design | The Derek Wrigley Award for Sustainable Architecture

Urban Design

▪ Constitution Square | Smart Bates | The Sir John Overall Prize for Urban Design

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