Cocktails by the lawns of the Albert Hall in Canberra for the 2017 National Architecture Awards.
Cocktails by the lawns of the Albert Hall in Canberra for the 2017 National Architecture Awards.

Sunshine Coast lights up architect awards

The impact good design has on a community or an individual was on show at the 2017 National Architecture Awards in Canberra on Thursday, November 2.

And the Sunshine Coast was one of the big winners at the event, held at the Albert Hall on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.

Three of the region's projects were short-listed from an initial field of almost 1000 nominations, and all three were successful.

A tent house, a multi-family holiday home and a $1.8billion hospital were all recognised for the contribution they made to clients and the community.

The Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Birtinya, by Architectus Brisbane and HDR Rice Daubney as Sunshine Coast Architects, took out a national award for public architecture

A Mitti Street house at Little Cove by James Russell Architect also took out a national award for Residential Architecture - Houses (New).

Meanwhile a Noosa hinterland Tent House by Sparks Architects was recognised with the People's Choice Award.

The awards continue a strong history of excellence in architecture on the Sunshine Coast.

Sunshine Coast University Hospital was recognised for demonstrating what the jury said was "the value of patient-centred hospitals, responding here in both form and content to its place in sub-tropical Queensland.''

It is seen as both an intelligent and elegant public building that strives for local use and social engagement through the clearly defined provision of green corridors, public outdoor spaces and community infrastructure.

Consequentially achieving one of Australia's largest constructions on a green-field site crafted into the surrounding coastal landscape genuinely belonging to its place and community.

It has established itself as a major urban facility at the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

While embracing its natural surroundings, the hospital is an exemplary world-class health and educational facility that puts patient experience and well-being at its forefront.

A series of outdoor courtyards offer near and distant views reinforcing its place between mountains and sea.

Mitti Street House in Noosa "offers multi-family accommodation in a spirit reminiscent of camping, with an insect-free central campfire and a pool emulating a tropical forest swimming hole,'' according to the jury.

Situated in the rainforest bordering Noosa National Park, it is a purpose-built semi-enclosed structure designed to experience the elements whilst on holiday.

The architects are seen to be challenging and testing new ideas about how we might live, how much house one really needs and how site-sensitive and climate-responsive design can lead to unexpected and delightful outcomes.

It is regarded as an enjoyable environment for multiple families to gather and encourages activities from playing in the courtyard pool during summer to sitting around an open winter fire - all while being delicately wrapped in a protective shadecloth veil.

Tent House by Sparks Architects defines inside outside living with a site that is flanked on the northern side by a lush tropical wall of tall trees.

The walls and ceilings dissolve into carefully crafted openings, leaving nothing but the fly roof, sky and the surrounding rainforest.

Despite this feeling of a permanent state of camping, the home contains all of the luxuries of a new architecturally-designed home gifted with an efficiently planned scheme and bespoke detailing throughout.

Peter Dawson and Stephen Long of Architectus said it was a great honour for the hospital to be recognised nationally and to accept the award on behalf of their clients Lend Lease and Queensland Health.

Mr Dawson said the Sunshine Coast had an architectural heritage that is nationally recognised.

He was not going to use the word style - that is what happens when you get a number of things right and other people follow you.

"It's hard to identify a style when its happening. It takes history.

"You look back a decade and say that was a style.

"The architectural practices that started that in the '80s and '90s, you can trace their thinking through to new buildings that are being built now and I'd like to think that the Sunshine Coast Hospital is the most conspicuous and recent example of that arch thinking that started with Gabriel Poole, John Mainwaring, Lindsay and Kerry Clare.''

Mr Dawson said that lightness on the ground, using simple materials in an inventive way, those young architects who saw ways of saving money took the beach shack detailing and built a whole architectural style out of it.

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