| Mar 18, 2010 |
Australia's top architecture prize goes to champions of sustainability
Boh staff
By Staff

A husband and wife team creating sustainable buildings that reinforce sense of place, community and identity in urban environments has been awarded Australia’s top national architecture prize – the Australian Institute of Architects 2010 Gold Medal for Architecture.

Presenting the honor at the inaugural Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards (AAAA) ceremony in Brisbane tonight, Australian Institute of Architects National President Melinda Dodson said she was proud to announce that outstanding architects Kerry and Lindsay Clare have won the 2010 Gold Medal.

Kerry and Lindsay are the first husband and wife team to win the nation’s top architecture prize, with Kerry the second Australian female only in the Gold Medal’s 50 year history to receive the honor.

Architecturally, Kerry and Lindsay Clare are best known for the creation over the past 31 years of a large range of projects in Queensland (particularly the Sunshine Coast) and NSW (Sydney). Their most iconic project to date is the multiple award-winning Gallery of Modern Art (as directors of Architectus) in Brisbane’s cultural precinct.

As importantly, the couple is widely known for their sub-tropical, low impact, sustainable residential projects across regional Queensland. These houses are typically modest in size, elegant, lightweight structures bathed in natural light and cooled by natural ventilation. The Goetz House and Thrupp and Summers House in particular received national attention when designed in the mid-1980s, forging new ground for environmental design.

In awarding the prize, Ms Dodson said the Gold Medal jury firmly believed Kerry and Lindsay “had made an enormous contribution to the advancement of architecture, and particularly sustainable architecture” during their careers, and were widely recognized for their “strongly held belief that good design and sustainable design were intrinsically linked.”

The jury citation noted: “Their great body of work demonstrates an appropriate environmental response, developing the concept of efficient low-energy, sustainable solutions decades before legislation made it mandatory.”

In its 50th year, and awarded annually since 1960, the Gold Medal is the architectural profession’s highest accolade and recognizes distinguished service by architects who have designed or executed buildings of high merit, or who have produced works of distinction resulting in the advancement of architecture. Recent past recipients include high profile architects such as Richard Johnson, Kerry Hill, Glenn Murcutt, Jørn Utzon, Gregory Burgess, Keith Cottier, Brit Andresen and Peter Corrigan.

Well-known Australians applauding Kerry and Lindsay’s award include the Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh, Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, Queensland Government Architect Philip Follent, NSW Government Architect Peter Mould, Victorian Government Architect Geoffrey London, and former Victorian Government Architect John Denton.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said Kerry and Lindsay are “two of Australia’s most talented and influential architects”. She added: “GoMA embodies the idea that architecture plays an integral role in the healthy functioning of a democracy. In GoMA, we see the notion that physical spaces can shape and influence social structure take on contemporary, and peculiarly antipodean, expression. In Australia’s relatively young cities, our cultural and communal self-perception is not pre-formed by centuries-old civic structures. Instead, each major public building that is commissioned and built makes a profound impact on the way in which we perform and perceive ourselves as a society. The redevelopment of the Queensland Cultural Centre, through the Millennium Arts Project, has had a transformative effect on our civic heart, and in particular on the integration of the South Bank precinct into the CBD. The popular appeal of GoMA has played a significant role in this. It is a building that welcomes, enlightens, shelters and nurtures the diverse cross section of society that comes to see the modern and contemporary art on display.”

“For the past three years, Kerry Clare has been a valuable member of the City of Sydney’s Design Advisory Panel chaired by the 2009 Gold Medal winner Ken Maher.” She added: “It is clear to me that Kerry sees the built environment, and the architecture that shapes it, as deeply interconnected with our climate and landscape. This is a rare skill to bring to the process of city building and I am very honoured to have her as key advisor to the City of Sydney,” said Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore.

“From the distant vantage point of the west coast of Australia, Kerry and Lindsay Clare appeared to be the perennial Queensland architects, demonstrating the virtues of that strong local group emerging from the 1960s and onwards: responsive to the particulars of their location, its climate, its ways of life, and its forms of construction, a kind of sub-tropical and antipodean translation of the pragmatic approach of postwar British Modernist architects. They seemed to draw together the approaches of a number of flanking architects - perhaps it was the force of numbers, the two of them working as a synergetic team, extending tradition with an inventive but practical verve," said Victorian Government Architect Geoffrey London.

Kerry and Lindsay have worked consistently as practitioners since graduating from the Queensland University of Technology in the late 1970s, completing more than 120 projects ranging from public, educational, commercial, attaching housing to single residences. Their projects have won numerous prestigious awards, including the 2008 Queensland Public Architecture Award for the University of Sunshine Coast Chancellery, a 2007 RAIA National Public Architecture Award for GoMA, and the RAIA Robin Boyd Award in 1992 and 1995 for the Clare House at Buderim and Hammond Residence respectively.

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