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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1899 ..


Architecture—sustainability

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (4.46): I rise today to reflect that on 4 June I had the pleasure of attending—virtually this time, though I look forward to attending in person next year—the ACT Architecture Awards and announcing the winner of the prestigious 2021 Canberra Medallion. I was excited to see such a strong theme of sustainable architecture in most of the projects throughout the night.

One stand-out example, which won the Derek Wrigley Award for Sustainable Architecture, was the Little Loft House by Light House Architecture and Science. This house was extended by only 13 square metres to 136 square metres to create a comfortable energy and space-efficient home which consumes just 20 per cent of the total energy of a typical Canberra family home. Given that in 2019 the average house size in Canberra was 250 square metres, this house reminds us that bigger is not better. It is about the quality of space.

Architects know that good building design can positively shape our mood and work culture. This is why I was really happy to see the Northbourne Avenue ACT government office building, which now houses EPSDD staff, was awarded the John Andrews Award for Commercial Architecture. This building, which was also Canberra’s first net zero carbon office building, features curved, swooping balconies that wrap around an internal atrium with a glass roof. It can really lift your mood to walk in there and creates a place for people to interact as well as a work culture of connection. I had the pleasure of experiencing a beautiful moment in this building when the Wiradjuri Echoes performed to the EPSDD staff in this atrium to mark the start of Reconciliation Week. The acoustics were amazing and it was really special to look up and see all the staff on the balconies.

I was pleased to see the Sir Roy Grounds Award for Enduring Architecture was given to Clem Cummings for his design of approximately 480 of Canberra’s concrete bus shelters that were installed from 1975 to 1995. It was great to see these bus shelters being recognised for their lasting mark on the character of Canberra.

I was delighted to announce the winner of the Canberra Medallion, which went to architect Anthony Knobel for the design of House for Hiroko. This modest private home is an exemplary project which balances the client’s heritage with a sense of place.

The Canberra Medallion is awarded to architecture which is designed to stand the test of time. It does sadden me to reflect that, while the Anzac Hall received the 2005 Canberra Medallion, it is set to be demolished against the wishes of the Canberra community and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, to make space for the War Memorial expansion.

My final congratulations from the night and directly related go to architect Clare Cousins, who was awarded the 2021 President’s medal at the ACT Architecture


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