BER project dominates NT Architecture Awards

News /
10 June 2011
BER project dominates NT Architecture Awards
Photography: Nicholas Goldhurst

New ‘playful’ outdoor and indoor play and learning spaces for a Darwin school have tonight (Friday 10 June) dominated the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2011 Northern Territory Architecture Awards – securing four of seven awards presented.

Announcing this year’s winners, NT President Richard Layton said the St Mary’s Catholic Primary School New Hall and Library, Reggio Emelia Early Learning Centre and Courtyard by Darwin architecture practice Troppo Architects (NT) had received:

  • The Tracy Memorial Award, the most prestigious architecture prize in the NT;
  • The Reverend John Flynn Award for Public Architecture, the most coveted public architecture award;
  • An Architecture Award for Urban Design; and
  • The COLORBONDÒ Award for Steel Architecture.

Presenting its awards, the jury said: “St Marys Catholic Primary School is part of a precinct, which includes St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral, the Bishops House and the Convent. The ‘E’ Deck, a playful theatrical roof provides shade and opportunity for imaginative play and teaching. Activities range from group readings, dance, Fathers Day breakfasts, and mass, under our beautiful sky. Steps of the timber platform are both seats for passive rest, and edges for active play. This is a place where children observe and are observed. An existing building was converted into an early learning facility which was developed on the philosophies of ‘Reggio Emilia’ with design principles of an ‘architecture for the tropics’ on a very tight budget.

They added: “The final stage of building came unexpectedly soon after with funds from the BER programme. A new dedicated library was a priority and so was a hall. These buildings were developed as one, separated by a breezeway space which provides the entry. The hall was sited to provide community use opportunities as well as maintain a strong relationship with the cathedral. The library allows for the social play and reading of a primary school library as well as the learning through electronic media.”

In a further vote of confidence in Troppo Architects (NT), the jury presented the Territory’s most prestigious residential architecture award- the Burnett Award for Residential Architecture – Houses - to Troppo Architect’s Mortlock Lee House. The Girraween house near Darwin sits in a stringybark scrubland block and is sited to take into consideration a large ironwood tree. In other awards, the Indigenous Community Architecture Award was presented to the Kiwirrkurra Arts Centre by Tangentyere Design.

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