Smart plans win national architecture awards with design for their own studio



Neeson Murcutt + Neille also won the Daryl Jackson Award for Educational Architecture for the Barker College Rosewood Center, with the jury admiring the way he humanized a large sports building.

Sydney firm architects lahznimmo and Aspect Studios received the Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design for Sub Base Platypus in North Sydney.

Night Sky, a house in the Blue Mountains designed for mathematician and astronomer Basil Borun, by Peter Stutchbury Architecture, won the Robin Boyd Prize for Residential Architecture.

Night Sky was designed so that the now wheelchair dependent Mr. Borun could travel from the garage to the garden and living room – where he could see the stars through a large skylight – with barely a turn or a door to navigate.

The jury said they originally viewed Night Sky’s design as “naive and even underrated”. They realized that the result was “skillfully orchestrated”, and that it respected “the desires of a person with a disability to connect to the universe and the galaxy.”

Basil Borun in his Blackheath home designed by architect Peter Stutchbury. Credit:Wolter peeters

Two other homes in NSW won residential awards. James Stockwell’s Bunkeren just south of Newcastle and inspired by Danish WWII bunkers has been hailed as a ‘superb essay on concrete craftsmanship’.

Polly Harbison Design’s Pearl Beach House was rated exceptional by the jury and transformational by its Sydney owners.

The AIA also announced that Federal House in North New South Wales by the Melbourne Architects Publishing Office won the People’s Prize, which was decided by popular vote. Surrounded by verandas, the house is built on a hill around a tropical interior courtyard and above a swimming pool which ventilates and cools the house.

For Mr. Smart, one of the biggest challenges was to make the studio durable and built to last at least three decades.

He decided to give up air conditioning. Instead, the large workshop uses passive fans, cooling and heating from a massive slab under the building and layers of insulation in the floors and walls, ceiling fans, windows and windows. opening doors to encourage cross ventilation. Outside, trees have been planted.

Architect James Stockwell in Bunkeren.

Architect James Stockwell in Bunkeren.Credit:Nick moir

Inside, going green was a bit trickier. His mechanical engineer feared Mr Smart would take legal action once the summer triggered a heat wave.

“The guy who was doing all of this, he got very nervous and wrote to me and said, ‘Look, I’m just afraid you’ll chase me at the end because it doesn’t work'”, a- he declared.

Mr. Smart responded, promising he would not sue. “I push harder than you for this,” he wrote. “I said ‘if it’s warmer we’ll wear shorts and flip flops to work’.”

“I said if it’s warmer, ‘We’ll wear shorts and flip flops to work.'”

William Smart explains how to handle heat if passive cooling designs don’t work


The engineer wanted to include a backup air conditioning unit, but Mr. Smart and his team voted. Everyone voted against, thinking that if they got it wrong one of them could be installed later. A year later, it was not necessary.

Mr Smart said he started drawing, designing and inventing when he grew up on a dairy farm in Western Australia, surrounded by industrial and farm buildings.

He originally wanted to design motor cars and continued to design and refine, a practice he continues with an eye for detail.

“I’ll be obsessed with all the doors and windows lining up perfectly,” said Mr. Smart, who said he rarely had a good design on the first try.

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