11 September 2023

Take a look inside Canberra's newly crowned house and project of the year

| Travis Radford
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canberra grammar school – music centre & terry snow auditorium

Canberra Grammar School’s new music centre and auditorium was named project of the year at the Master Builders and Asset Construction Hire Excellence Awards. Photo: Canberra Grammar School.

A French-chateau-inspired home in Deakin and Canberra Grammar School’s new underground concert hall have taken out top gongs at the ACT’s annual building and construction awards night.

A five-bedroom Deakin home was named best in its category (custom built/project home $2 million to $4 million) and house of the year at the 2023 Master Builders and Asset Construction Hire Excellence Awards on Friday (1 September). Architects Ring and Associates director Terry Ring said he was surprised the house his firm designed beat out modern style homes.

“The classic look is probably not in fashion at the moment,” he explained. “It’s very well-detailed and much harder to do than many modern houses.

“We used details we haven’t used before, including details around the windows that we have never used on any house before.”

Aluminium window frames and other internal and external elements were colour-matched to the balcony’s wrought iron balustrades.

Judges also highlighted the home’s spiral staircase as indicative of the property’s attention to detail and handcrafted quality. The staircase was delivered to the millimetre, with each timber stair tread templated onsite and manufactured offsite. Mr Ring also paid tribute to a strong client vision and the work of builder Manteena and interior designer Archetec Interiors.

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Canberra Grammar School’s music centre and auditorium was named project of the year.

The 1400-seat concert hall, music teaching facilities and library designed by Cox Architecture and built by Construction Control also won several other award categories, including for commercial construction between $20 million to $50 million, a project displaying technical difficulty or innovation and a special purpose/adaptable commercial construction.

Construction Control project manager Nick Barnier was also named project manager of the year, in part because of his noteworthy work on the Canberra Grammar project.

“The awards are great, but the real thing we look for is the client being happy with the outcome and the school is really excited about the outcome,” Mr Barnier said.

“There’s been some pretty significant professional musicians playing in the auditorium the last six months who have also found it to be a phenomenal facility.”

Mr Barnier said significant planning went into navigating the difficulties associated with building a facility inside an operational school and during COVID.

To make matters more complicated, the facility was built 15 metres underground to meet the requirements of the surrounding heritage-listed buildings.

The judges praised Construction Control for its industry-leading planning and delivery to address these and other technical challenges.

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More than 50 other winners were also named at the annual industry awards night. The Village Building Company took home awards in three categories, including the custom built/project home less than $350,000 category. The judges commended the developer for their innovative approach and dedication to quality in achieving the four-bedroom South Jerrabomberra home.

“Our under $350,000 home demonstrated that affordable does not mean that quality needs to be compromised,” ACT region general manager Jamie Cregan said.

“This home contained many of the features included in our winning Display Home, which won the under $750,000 home category.”

These features included full landscaping and retaining walls, Colourbond fencing, full height tiling in wet areas and under tile heating, raked ceilings in living areas to maximise solar efficiency, scrubbable paint, square-set finish to the gyprock, stone benchtops, access through garage to rear yard, fully ducted reverse cycle air conditioning, irrigation to the gardens and timber flooring.

Village also jointly won the civil subdivision category with Canberra Contractors and Spiire for two new residential land stages at South Jerrabomberra, comprising 182 lots and a water reservoir.

Visit MBA for more information on the winning projects and homes.

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Not The Mama11:34 pm 05 Sep 23

The Auditorium appears to be in the same style and seat inclination as the Canberra Theatre – which is appalling – If anyone sits on the seat in front of you, you just cannot see any part of the performance. The experience is so bad that I have bowed never to attend TCT again. I have submitted feedback but never received a reply.

Who decides on these awards? What are the design criteria that are considered when making them? And surely the architect(s) could have asked – for example – the Canberra Theatre for patron feedback on the audience comfort…

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