Best of South Australian architecture announced as 2023 award winners named

Image Credit: Wayikuu Brown, Falconer Bash

The cream of South Australia’s architecture has been recognised at the 2023 SA Architecture Awards, with the Monarto Safari Park Visitor Centre taking out the top honour.

Eco-tourism, hospitality and community recreation hubs featured strongly among the winners announced by the Australian Institute of Architects (SA) on Friday, July 7 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The new Monarto Safari Park Visitor Centre aims to connect people to the environment through education and history and was recognised as this year’s most significant contribution to architecture, earning architecture practices Intro and studio gram the prestigious 2023 SA Architecture Medal.

The project also won the Keith Neighbour Award for Commercial Architecture (SA) and the COLORBOND© Commendation for Steel Architecture.

Grieve Gillett Architects’ 9 years of conservation work on the Adelaide Botanic Gardens’ Goodman Building on Hackney Road was honoured with the David Saunders Award for Heritage Architecture (SA).

The John S Chappel Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) went to Enzo Caroscio Architecture for a three-level city home that skilfully maximises its small site to create a generous, family-friendly, light-filled home with city and hills views and introspective courtyards. The home also received a Commendation for Interior Architecture (SA).

These Named Awards highlight the diversity of project types and scales that architects engage in and the specialist knowledge that they provide to clients and the community who interact with their work.

Meanwhile, Stallard Meek Flightpath Architects won the EmAGN Project Award, recognising the outstanding work of an architect within 15 years of graduation, and Commendation for Commercial Architecture (SA) for the addition of a cellar door to Anvers Wines in Kangarilla. The cellar door celebrates the winery’s picturesque setting where visitors can sample wine varieties while enjoying curated views over Mt Lofty and the estate.

The Awards for Public Architecture (SA) were presented to DesignInc for the Wulanda Recreation & Convention Centre in Mount Gambier, and Brown Falconer for the Wayikuu, Max Amber Sportsfield in Paradise.

The Wulanda Recreation & Convention Centre is a flexible hub for aquatic, fitness, conferences, local community groups and large-scale events. The design celebrates the community with residents’ input and prioritises local materials and labour and was also recognised with a Commendation for Sustainable Architecture (SA).

This is the second year in a row that a Mount Gambier project has received accolades (with the Mount Gambier Regional Airport receiving top accolades in 2022), a reflection of the community’s investment in quality design.

The City of Adelaide Prize was awarded to Convic for the Adelaide City Skatepark, which activates a Park Lands site to create an inclusive space for skaters and competitions. In its 50th year, the Adelaide Festival Centre has been celebrated with the Jack Cheesman Award for Enduring Architecture, awarded to a building that has stood the test of time. Designed by Hassell and Partners, the geometric concrete shells remain a much-loved feature of the Adelaide riverbank precinct.

SA Architecture Awards Director Anne Taylor said many of the projects entered this year were designed and built amidst the challenges of the pandemic which limited collaboration and uncertainty about how the end users of projects would resume pre-COVID behaviours.

“As projects moved into construction a new set of challenges emerged as supply chain issues with building materials required architects to use creative means to continue to pursue excellence,” she said.

“Despite these obstacles, the overwhelming feedback from clients was that the experience of working with an architect exceeded their expectations.

“Tonight’s winners chart the achievements and direction of architecture and design in South Australia and celebrate the best of our profession.”

Winners will now progress to the National Architecture Awards, to be announced at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra on Tuesday, October 31.

SA Architecture Medal

Monarto Safari Park Visitor Centre – Intro with Studio Gram

The 2023 SA Architecture Medal recognises the project that has made the most significant contribution to South Australian architecture this year. Monarto Safari Park Visitor Centre combines an astute conceptual approach with a well-realised visitor experience, making it an outstanding example of the ways that good design can lift the profile of an important not- for-profit organisation and serve the broader South Australian community.

Situated in the expansive Mallee plains, the form establishes a harmonious relationship with site, while also fostering a deeper connection between people and the environment. Monarto Safari Park Visitor Centre also received the highest honour in the Commercial Architecture category and a COLORBOND© Commendation for Steel Architecture.

Sir James Irwin President’s Medal

Josephine Evans – JPE Design Studio

Josephine Evans has shown unwavering commitment to the elevation of architecture and design across South Australia. In her 14 years at JPE Design Studio, Jo has navigated architectural challenges with proficiency and creativity. She has worked on projects of varying sizes across sectors including education, commercial, public buildings, and master planning.

Her outstanding career achievements and her tireless efforts to create a built environment that is both functional and inspiring have had a profound impact on the architectural landscape of South Australia.

Emerging Architect Prize

Chris Morley – Echelon Studio

An inspiring figure within the architecture community, Chris has made significant contributions to the profession as an architecture and interior architecture tutor and lecturer at the University of South Australia and through his involvement with the Australian Institute of Architects SA Chapter, where he has recently been elected State President.

Through his commitment to mentorship, guidance, and education, Chris has nurtured a new wave of talent, empowering them to challenge conventions and push boundaries. With his unique perspective, and profound understanding of the built environment, Chris is poised to reshape the future of architecture.

City of Adelaide Prize

Adelaide City Skatepark – Convic

Faced with a seven-year absence, high community expectations and a challenging site, the Adelaide City Skatepark has delivered a remarkable urban place for a diverse range of users. Anchored around a central plaza, it provides opportunities for casual observation, building a sense of community. With input from user groups, the park includes design references to other parts of the city and replicates much-loved features from the skatepark it replaced. Already loved by the community, the park demonstrates excellence in developing the public realm of the City of Adelaide.

83 Pirie Street 
– Woods Bagot

City of Adelaide Prize – People’s Choice

Dymocks Heritage Store – Grieve Gillett Architects

The People’s Choice gives the public the opportunity to choose the project they feel best enhances the City of Adelaide.

More than a third of the votes went to the new Dymocks Adelaide Store, which reactivates a long-vacant heritage cinema space.

Jack Cheesman Award for Enduring Architecture

Adelaide Festival Centre – Architects: John Morphett | Hassell Architects

The Adelaide Festival Centre boasts a bold, modernist form that has stood the test of time. From the beginning, the theatre was designed from the inside out to accommodate complex technical requirements. This has not prevented the geometric concrete shells from becoming a loved feature of the Adelaide riverbank precinct. Now marking its 50th anniversary,the Adelaide Festival Centre is not only instantly recognisable, it is integral to our identity as the Festival State.

EmAGN Project Award

Anvers Wines Cellar Door – Stallard Meek Flightpath Architects

Anvers Wines Cellar Door demonstrates a carefully considered approach to scale while simultaneously providing a coherent design narrative for an emerging architect-led project. Working with an existing building, deliberate design moves establish a contemporary response to the site while forging a meaningful connection to the existing building.

The architect began work on this project when she was still a student and has seen it through to completion as she graduated and completed her architectural registration. The jury was particularly impressed by the project’s highly responsive adaptation to various changes made on-site during construction.

Keith Neighbour Award for Commercial Architecture (SA)

Monarto Safari Park Visitor Centre – INTRO with Studio Gram

Anvers Wines Cellar Door – Stallard Meek Flightpath Architects

Award for Public Architecture (SA)

Wayikuu, Max Amber Sportsfield – Brown Falconer

Wayikuu, Max Amber Sportsfield is an exceptional architectural development that combines outstanding specialist sports facilities and a unique community destination. The design creates positive experiences for spectators and offers opportunities for growth for resident clubs, promoting social inclusivity and equality.

Wulanda Recreation + Convention Centre – DesignInc

Set within the Mount Gambier township, Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre intrinsically demonstrates how architecture can serve a community. Externally, Wulanda encapsulates the local Limestone Coast, with a sweeping form and gentle curves casting shadows that imitate the hills beyond. Users are welcomed into a calming space that evokes sinkholes and caves with use of layered form and colour. DesignInc have provided an exceptional response to a complex brief, with multiple generations to benefit from the architecture of Wulanda.

Award for Educational Architecture (SA) – joint winners

Westminster School Forder Centre, Michael Murray Centre Foyer Extension and Westminster Green – Brown Falconer with Hayball Architects

The new development at Westminster School successfully anchors a central green space, forms a permeable edge to the main oval, and connects to and extends the impressive main theatre to the formal driveway entry. Located close to sporting facilities, the ground floor cafe connects to the campus and has become an important meeting place for the school community. Earth-toned external materials and warm internal timber elements integrate well with the existing school buildings. With a high level of amenity for students, staff and the broader community, this project creates a strong and cohesive school identity.

Seaton High School Learning Centre – JPE Design Studio

The new Learning Centre at Seaton High School invigorates the campus and enhances its distinctiveness by providing a contemporary learning environment that elevates the school’s educational offering to public students in the western suburbs.

The architects are to be commended for delivering a holistic and well considered outcome, particularly given the constrained budget. This new building integrates clever design decisions that exceed the brief and respond well to the site and outdoor environment.

Cardijn College Centre of Innovation and Creativity 
– Tridente Boyce Tarrkarri, St Andrew’s School – Swanbury Penglase

David Saunders Award for Heritage Architecture (SA)

Goodman Building Conservation – Grieve Gillett Architects

Constructed in 1908, the Goodman Building was built as the administrative centre for the Municipal Tramways Trust as part of the new Hackney Tram Depot precinct. The building is an imposing landmark facing Hackney Road and is an excellent example of Edwardian architecture with Arts and Crafts influences. The three-storey building features high quality pointed brickwork on a stone base, rendered detailing and slate roofing with terracotta capping tiles.

Grieve Gillett Architects have been involved with the Goodman Building for 14 years, working on both the interior and exterior over that time. The dedication and persistence has resulted in a completed conservation project that is a testimony to the effort of the architects, client and trades. The quality and thoroughness of the work is evident on close inspection, with the attention to detail, patience and thoroughness seen on all restored surfaces.

Award for Heritage Architecture (SA) joint winners

Adelaide Railway Station Façade and Ramp Restoration – Stallard Meek Flightpath Architects

Designed by the well-known architects Garlick and Jackman, the Adelaide Railway Station was constructed in 1924. It is the largest example of a building designed in the Free Classical – Beaux-Arts style in South Australia and is a well-recognised landmark along North Terrace, Adelaide’s cultural boulevard. Externally the building has also received a lighting makeover with significant LED lighting bringing the building to life at night. This project exemplifies the Burra Charter principle of doing as much as necessary, but as little as possible. The Railway Station Building now looks like it always should have.

Rocky River Recovery – Hosking Willis Architecture Pty Ltd

Rocky River was settled as farming land at the western end of Kangaroo Island in the late 1800s. May’s Cottage, the larger of the two buildings, was constructed around 1880. Following the devastating 2019 Kangaroo Island bushfires, this State Heritage listed former farming complex has been reconstructed from just the remaining burnt out shells.

The two humble buildings have been faithfully reconstructed with well-considered modern additions, upgrades and fitout to ensure they can be used as comfortable holiday accommodation in the middle of Flinders Chase National Park. The design team and the client have managed to make the best of the bushfire disaster. By taking the opportunity to upgrade these historically significant structures, their heritage values have been reinforced and their ongoing use guaranteed.

Commendation for Heritage Architecture (SA)
The Switch – Adelaide Central – Brown Falconer

Award for Interior Architecture (SA)

Billabong House – Architects Ink

The interiors of the Billabong House showcase the exceptional skills of the designers in creating a functional and minimalistic space that seamlessly integrates with its architectural exteriors. The level of resolution and attention to detail in the Billabong House is incredibly refined. The minimalist and functional approach to the design ensures that each element serves a purpose, while adding warmth to the space. Billabong House’s interior design is a remarkable achievement that demonstrates the skill and control of the designers. The attention to detail and high level of resolution creates a harmonious and seamless experience that enhances the appreciation of the natural environment and sets a high standard for contemporary interior design.

Commendations for Interior Architecture (SA)
SHAPE Fitout – JPE Design Studio
Residence 264 – Enzo Caroscio Architecture 
Kicco Marion – Tridente Boyce

John S Chappel Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) (SA)

Residence 264 – Enzo Caroscio Architecture

Seen through the ‘hit-and-miss’ brick wall to Wright Street, Residence 264 intrigues. Nestled in inner-city Adelaide like it was always meant to be there, the building seamlessly integrates with the existing streetscape. A project of true passion and skill, the property offers tranquility and a feeling of abundant space across the three levels.

Flooded with natural daylight and well-ventilated, walls of sliding glazed doors allow connection to the sights and sounds of the city. All spaces are carefully considered, right down to the smallest of details. There is an abundance of technical skill usually reserved for commercial building. This allows the small site to be maximized to its fullest potential, resulting in a generous, flexible, family-friendly home that is a true credit to the skill of the architect.

Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) (SA)

Frangipani House – Architects Ink

Sited in heritage-rich North Adelaide, Frangipani House feels very at home in its location. A striking panoramic vista to the Park Lands doubles as a nod to its mid-century neighbour. Well-resolved volumes help to manage the delicate relationship between public and private. Detail through the home is unblemished.

The care taken by the architects in materiality and resolution of its functionality feels successfully complete, amplifying the home’s calming ambience. Frangipani House is a highly resolved piece of architecture. This home demonstrates architectural excellence carefully considered to the nth detail. A wonderful celebration of client and architect collaboration to be enjoyed for many years to come.

Commendation for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) (SA)
Billabong House – Architects Ink

Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing (SA)

Nightingale Bowden – Breathe

As a flag bearer for early adopters and innovative thinking, Nightingale Bowden is a no-frills expression of exceptional sustainable outcomes and affordable living that wears its intentions and credentials on its sleeve. The shared guest house offering facilitates internal-community building. Opportunities for greening have been carefully knitted into the various facades and will only enhance the building moving forward.

As adjacent sites are developed at similar scales, the success of this street level interface will mature, and the more challenging high-level external form will become more settled in context – at which point the jury feels that the robust detailing and simplicity of form can be fully appreciated.

Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations + Additions) (SA)

Mount Mac – Williams Burton Leopardi

The legacy of an original Barossa cottage has been thoughtfully retained and honoured with the recrafting of Mount Mac. With original cottage rooms restored, the main walkway follows the outline of the original L-shaped cottage, allowing users to experience the intersection of old and new, underlined by terracotta flooring, stone and rough plastered walls.

Mount Mac has an artisanal touch, with well-crafted and carefully selected materials. The dark and broody palette ensures eyes are drawn past green-toned walls to the colours of the landscape. Mount Mac has embodied a sense of nostalgia and created a contemporary addition to ensure the home will be celebrated into the next generation.

Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture

Aldinga Payinthi College – Swanbury Penglase

Aldinga Payinthi College serves a wide range of age groups engaged in formal learning and social activities, and is designed to expand with the growing community. The buildings are ordered to provide clear entry and community spaces, flanked by learning areas. Early learning and primary areas of the campus are more articulated and smaller in scale, with the middle school and secondary facilities housed in larger buildings.

Monarto Safari Park Visitor Centre 
– INTRO with Studio Gram

Commendation for Sustainable Architecture (SA)

Wulanda Recreation + Convention Centre – DesignInc 
Commendation for Small Project Architecture (SA)
Teppanyaki Pavillion – RADS Commendation for Urban Design
Aldinga Payinthi College – Swanbury Penglase

More News

To Top