The Minister’s Award for Urban Design

The Minister’s Award for Urban Design is an important initiative that recognises quality design in urban projects – more specifically, it aims to highlight:

  • The critical role of good urban design in shaping Queensland
  • How collaborative relationships can lead to the successful development of the built environment

This year the award and its two new subcategories, garnered 29 nominations. Our very own Brisbane Open House Chair and former Queensland Government Architect for ten years, Malcolm Middleton OAM LFRAIA, is the namesake of one of the new categories – the Malcolm Middleton Award for Outstanding Liveable Design. The second new category is the Movement and Place Award in partnership with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

The coveted Minister’s Award for Urban Design was awarded to BVN with the Department of Education for Brisbane South State Secondary College

The design is inspired by local place, character, and form on a site historically used for camping, weaving and the making of tools by the local First Nations people.

The project offers a contemporary, leading-edge vertical education facility connected to a contemporary knowledge network and the country it is bound to – a clear demonstration of design and pedagogy leadership in a Queensland context.

Brisbane South State Secondary College, image by Tom Roe (via Queensland Government Department of Energy and Works)

There were also three commendations for this category including Hassell with the University of Queensland’s Student Central – The University of Queensland, a Brisbane Open House 2023 participant.  

The jury said of the space ‘it invites students to connect with the University’s support services in a welcoming and calming environment and establishes a new, central campus precinct. The ‘service counter’ function can now sit in a lush outdoor space, signifying that the administration is coming out into the campus to engage with its students in an open, relaxed way. The flexibility of the space provides a future proof facility for informal gathering. The subtropical garden and verandah express the local vernacular while the gold finishes add a touch of playful glamour.’

The University of Queensland Student Central, image by Scott Burrows 

The Malcolm Middleton Award for Outstanding Liveable Design

The Malcolm Middleton Award for Outstanding Liveable Design highlights accessible and adaptable home designs that meet our ever-changing wants and needs as we grow up, or grow old. This year’s jury unanimously agreed on a single winner and a single commendation.

Congratulations to Refresh* Studio for Architecture with the Department of Housing for the project Habitat on Juers by Refresh* Studio for Architecture, offering an emerging dual occupancy townhouse, a social housing development comfortably co-existing within a predominantly free-standing suburban house neighbourhood.

Habitat on Juers by Refresh* Studio for Architecture, image by Scott Burrows (via Queensland Government Department of Energy and Works)

A popular Brisbane Open House 2023 program participant Middle House, by Nobel Carter Architects, Lara and Andrew Nobel, received the commendation for this category. An ‘inverse granny flat’ nestled in the middle of a larger co-housing project – designed and built by the occupants.

‘Middle House’ forms a link between two families and three generations. The project displays a design-led solution for a small, steep site and a tight budget to simultaneously enrich the character of the neighbourhood. It incorporates Liveable Housing features such as wider doorways and hallways, grab bars, zero-threshold showers and even provision for a future lift.

Middle House, image supplied

For the full list of 2023 award winners and commendations please visit the Queensland Government Department of Energy and Works website.

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