Whitehorse City Council

Built Environment Awards - 2017 Shortlist




Deakin Logo 2017

Good design creates engaging and innovative places that are loved and valued by the people who use them. The City of Whitehorse Built Environment Awards celebrate the value of good design and creative thinking by showcasing the best in design and environmental sustainability in the built environment. The awards recognise and celebrate the people who contribute to good design within the City of Whitehorse.

2017 Built Environment Awards Shortlisted Projects

Category: Single House – New Dwelling

Winner: Earnshaw House, Blackburn

Winner of Sustainability Award

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Earnshaw & Associates

The brief was to design a “green” home that would take full advantage of the unique bushland setting and creek meandering through the property.

The design intent included:

  • Take advantage of the north-east aspect and views to the creek. 
  • Rejuvenate the surrounding landscape and creek to integrate the two with the building.
  • Create a comfortable open plan family home which is well connected to the landscape beyond.
  • Integrate elements of the original home such as stone feature walls.

The house has strong environmental sustainability merit, achieving the equivalent of a 10 Star Energy rating by being energy efficient, minimising ground surface disturbance, careful materials choices, low water use and landscaping with indigenous plant species which have low water requirements.

Commendation: ArchiBlox House, Blackburn

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Photography: Tom Ross

This home is cantilevered over the sloped site capturing views to Gardiners Creek Reserve. Its position amongst the trees making it feel more like a tree house than a regular home.

This prefabricated building is separated into two wings, the orientation of each capturing views of the natural landscape setting and bushland setting beyond.

The design intent included:

  • Careful configuration to reduce the building footprint as much as possible but give the feeling of a “big hearted” house.
  • Respond to the unique site and integrate the building with the natural landscaping and bushland beyond.
  • Create spaces that enhance family life and allow for the families future needs. 
  • Create a sustainable contemporary house through passive design solutions, careful material selection and energy efficiency.  
  • Innovative prefabricated modular building technology.

DE atelier Villas, Surrey Hills

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DE atelier Architects

This project involved the construction of 2 stand-alone dwellings on an old church tennis court. The most recognizable architectural feature is the striking 2-storey high timber awning feature over the entry. This sculptural form gives the buildings distinct character and gives a clue that the laneway has new life. Other elements of the buildings are more traditional which ensures the dwellings are in keeping with the broader neighbourhood character.

The design intent includes:

  • Introduce a new strong architectural presence to the laneway environment.
  • Provide comfortable family homes economising on the use of space with a small building footprint but providing well-proportioned rooms with a sense of spaciousness.
  • Include materials and forms that connect the dwellings with the broader environment.

Category: Single House – Renovated Dwelling

Winner: Idle Architecture House, Mont Albert

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Idle Architecture
Photography: Hillary Bradford

The design intention for this project was to create a functional and beautiful family home with a strong indoor – outdoor connection both visually and functionally. This project involved the substantial remodeling of an existing California Bungalow and addition of a north facing living space. The California Bungalow was painstakingly and substantially reworked and continues to keep with the neighbourhood character.

The design intent includes:

  • Respect the old building form while welcoming the new.
  • The use of a natural materials palette and curvilinear forms blend the renovation with the natural surrounds and native landscape.
  • Include sustainable design principle such as maximizing natural light and ventilation, low water use and grey water recycling.
  • Retain the original dwelling to minimize embodied energy.

DCON Enterprises House, Mitcham

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DCON Enterprises

This renovation takes an existing building and transforms it into a contemporary, open planned home with a strong connection to the outdoors. The project uses locally sourced rocks to complement the feature stone work on the building and to create an attractive and engaging natural landscape.

The design intent includes:

  • Take advantage of the sloping site to capture views.
  • Retain the existing building but create an extension which is beautiful, functional and blends with its surrounds.
  • Integrate the new building form and materials with the landscape design.

Category: Multi-residential

Winner: Thiele Court Aparments, Blackburn

Thiele Court 1 Thiele Court 2
Idle Architecture Studio

This project demonstrates an innovative approach to planning and design of an apartment arrangement which responds distinctively to its context. The concept of a double interlocking apartment allows the southern apartments to have two dual aspects. This solution provides natural ventilation and increases access to natural light.

The design intent includes:

  • Create a high quality and diverse range of apartment types.
  • A generous area of landscaped communal open space.
  • Double level apartments provide diversity in dwelling type offered. 
  • Careful material palette selection and architectural play with mass and void form to create an interesting and timeless building.

People's Choice Award: Harrow Street, Box Hill – Spectrum Apartments

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Spectrum Apartments uses community based architectural language and an innovative approach to low-rise apartment layout. The key aspect of the development is the open central north facing atrium. The internal circulation areas are open to the outdoors, providing better daylight and natural ventilation outcomes whilst allowing for vegetation to populate the open atrium. The architecturally activated colourful façade drew inspiration from the locally culturally diverse community. The overarching scope of the project was to bridge the gap in the market by providing comparatively affordable housing that is thoughtfully designed.

The design intent includes:

  • To address and activate all three frontages but also be of a singular architectural expression.
  • Increase the public amenity of the residents by including the atrium space.
  • Creatively express the diverse cultural context of Box Hill using geometric patterns and colour.

Townhouses, Mont Albert North

Mont Albert North Units 01 Mont Albert North Units 02
DE atelier Architects

This is a unique development of two contemporary townhouses nestled behind two 1950’s dwellings. The development worked with the steep slope and the existing dwellings to provide a benefit to the environment and street character by retaining the existing dwellings.

The new dwellings are contemporary in design, layout and material selection. Whilst contemporary, it was important to create a visual link across the development. Brick selection of the two new dwellings selectively matched the existing 1950’s dwelling. There is an innovative mix of new materials including, highly insulated Perspex on the front façade, rendered foam cladding and feature timber battens, providing screening to and from the new dwellings, whist still providing ample light within the dwellings.

The design intent included:

  • Retain the existing 1950’s building, and hence reduce the impact of the overall development on the neighbourhood setting
  • Work with the steeply sloping site
  • Creating two substantial contemporary residences with minimal footprint and compact overall design

Category: Institutional

Winner: Forest Hill Police Station

Winner of Mayor's Award

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Bamford - Architects
Photography: Peter Bennetts

The design of this building acknowledges and responds to the parkland setting to create a type of gatehouse building marking the entry to the parkland and heritage orchard. The ascending figure 8 loop plan creates continuous circulation, provides cross ventilation and equitable access to natural light and takes advantage of curated views to the parklands and distant hills whilst maintaining the security and privacy required of a police station.

The design intent includes:

  • Reference the adjacent heritage orchard by incorporating grafted heritage apples trees on site.
  • Cater for the highly specific functional requirements of a police station.
  • Provide a strong and symbolic presence by incorporating the traditional characterisation of a police station such as opaque, secure and fenced but in a contemporary way.
  • Functional and engaging courtyard spaces.

The project incorporates water management initiatives such as storm water collection and reuse for irrigation and toilet flushing and storm water swales adjacent to police car parking to collect and filter water prior to entering the storm water system.

Notre Dame Centre, Our Lady of Sion College Box Hill
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Law Architects
Photography: Katherine Peasley, George Theodoridis and Adam Thwaites

The building provides an innovative learning environment which is bright and welcoming. Already the building has had a positive influence on the learning experience of students. The project includes a diverse range of internal and external spaces, inclusive of dedicated learning areas and informal gathering spaces.

The design intent includes:

  • Enhance the school’s sense of community and ensure the space cultivates independent and collaborative learning as well as student wellbeing.
  • Providing a strong architectural presence that is also responsive to the surrounding neighbourhood.
  • Make the spaces flexible to cater for a range of activities and functions.
  • Be socially and environmentally responsive.

The building and landscape incorporates a range of passive design features that provide a comfortable and inspiring learning environment. These include careful materials selection that are low VOC and environmentally conscious, mixed mode ventilation and water sensitive urban design elements such as rain gardens for storm water retention and reuse.

St Benedict’s Parish Church, Burwood

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Law Architects
Photography: George Theodoridis

This building was recently heritage listed as a significant example of Mid-Century Australian architecture. The project aimed to provide the desired physical transformation to enhance the Parish’s unique identity, while respecting and acknowledging the significance of the building itself. As part of the process, over 100 voices where heard to help bring physical renewal that would enhance parish life.

The design intent includes:

  • Increase the capacity of the space to cater for a fast growing congregation.
  • Provide a range of spaces that are flexible and cater for diverse activities and user groups.
  • A new gathering space outside to welcome the wider community, strengthen the relationship between the parish and school communities, as well as re-creating a connection with the wider community.
  • Balance the site constraints, heritage value and project requirements.

The specifics of this project offered the opportunity to creatively reuse and recycle everything possible from the original building.

Category: Commercial or Retail

Winner: Mister + Miss Cafe, Mont Albert

Commendation for Sustainability Award

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Maria Danos Architecture
Photography: Sharyn Cairns

Mister + Miss Café is an innovative, conceptually based, sustainably driven example of adaptively re-using an existing warehouse into a successful hospitality destination. The business injects ‘life’ into middle Whitehorse Road by activating a small commercial streetscape. The former use of the site as Jatt Mechanics provided inspiration in the form of shapes, patterns and colours for the new use.

The design intent includes:

  • Provide a variety of seating and interaction options and spaces including communal tables, benches, courtyard, forecourts, cosy booths and function room. 
  • Activate the street frontage and make a connection with the community through planter boxes and a high level of amenity.
  • Embrace the spatial volume of the warehouse by creating a sense of human scale.

Environmental sustainability informed many design decisions including local design or fabrication of furniture, lighting and some fixtures. Upcycling of the existing building, retaining the existing party walls and concrete flooring and using recycled timber contributed to the sustainability credentials of the project.

Grain Asian Café and Dessert, Box Hill

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Rptecture Architects
Photography: Penn Cheung

This innovative project aims to represent and serve the multi-cultural community in Box Hill and beyond. The interior is a charismatic representation of the cuisine, a modern take on hawker style street food and offers a high level of functionality and user amenity to cater for the high volume patronage. The iconic posters are sourced from overseas and are reminiscent of South-East Asia in the early 20th century.

The design intent includes:

  • Invoke a sense of familiarity by using recognizable graphics, symbols, neon signage and colors that pay homage to the street food stalls of South-East Asia.
  • Selection of materials that are durable and robust and sustainable such as recycled content and timber from Certification schemes.
  • Create a relaxed, comfortable, warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Little Hugh Café, Nunawading

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Biasol Design Studio
Photography: Ari Hatzis

This café uses a contemporary design philosophy that has been inspired by the industrial heritage of the Rooks Road surrounds. The interior is dynamic and elegant whilst simultaneously being inviting and engaging for the local workers and wider community. The curious and striking exploration of the Delaunay triangulation forms the basis of the cafes interior and branding. This complex series of tessellated panels that wrap the walls and ceilings used innovative thinking and contemporary construction techniques.

The design intent includes:

  • Bringing a minimalist but highly detailed café fit out to Nunawading.
  • Drawing on inspiration from the surrounding industrial neighbourhood.
  • Experimentation with cutting edge production technology.
  • Push boundaries in relation to creative expression and representation.

Category: Landscape

Winner: Victoria Grange, Vermont South

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Green and Dale Associates

The project consists of the design of a range of landscape types for an aged care apartment and village development with a strong focus on communal activities. The projects scope included the creation of a range of safe, accessible and enjoyable spaces that encouraged community activity, incidental social opportunities, meaningful daily activities and included fitness and wellbeing activities such as a bowling green and a vegetable garden.

The design intent includes:

  • Overcome the significant site constraints caused by its former use as a quarry.
  • Sustainable water management by designing to reduce demand, stormwater harvesting, storage and reuse on site.
  • Provide legible, accessible and equitable spaces for residents and visitors.
  • Provide an attractive and engaging landscape which provides sensory stimulation.

Commendation: Japanese Landscape, Mitcham

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Ross U Design

This residential garden showcases culture and sustainability and is a great example of what can be achieved with trust, innovative thinking, fine detailing and limited use of hard materials and abundant planting. Key elements of the design such as the timber archway used traditional joinery methods and responded to the Japanese saying of “work with nature, not against it”.

The design intent includes:

  • Strong commitment to sustainable design principles and initiatives.
  • Retain water on site for longer to allow it to permeate the ground surface.
  • Respond to the existing mature trees on site.
  • Create a beautiful, highly detailed space for use.

Mont Albert Primary School, Mont Albert

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One Red Tree Landscaping
Photography: Mont Albert Primary School

Mont Albert Primary School delivered a Centenary Playground as part of its Centenary Year celebrations, a gift from the school to the present and future students. After consulting with students and teachers it was decided there was a clear need for an additional playground and flexible spaces for students. An important part of the project was ensuring that student input was at the heart of the design. This project has been a collaborative effort that has been managed, funded and installed by the school community and has provided a playspace to enjoy, explore, relax and learn.

The design intent and process includes:

  • Student and teacher input identified 3 top themes, a challenging and adventurous climbing structure, more space for ball games and spaces to sit quietly.
  • Regular checking in with the school community as the project progressed.
  • Non-structured play elements in a natural environment setting.

The final project delivered the top 3 themes, along with an outdoor learning space for 30 students which provides teachers with an invaluable space to offer different perspectives of a learning environment. 

Category: Heritage

Winner: St Benedict’s Parish Church, Burwood

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Law Architects
Photography: George Theodoridis

This building received heritage listing in 2014 and is a significant example of Mid-Century Australian architecture. The building was designed in 1975 by McIntosh and Harris and is one of only a few mid-century buildings for public use in the region that still clearly exemplifies Mid-Century Australian architecture. The assertively modernist simple shape of the edifice is characterised by key elements such as the slot windows, butterfly skillion roof, glazed entry façade and concrete entry porch. The building makes for an extraordinary example of modern and innovative ecclesiastical space. The design aimed to maintain, restore where damaged and protect where still intact the integrity of the architecture, structure and aesthetic of the building while satisfying the client’s requests and needs.

2017 Built Environment Award Categories

  • Single house project - new dwelling
  • Single house project – renovated dwelling
  • Multi-residential project (unit/townhouse/apartment)
  • Commercial or retail project
  • Institutional project
  • Landscape design project
  • Heritage project

In addition, the following awards are presented:

  • Mayors Award – is chosen by the Mayor from all shortlisted nominations and recognises an exemplar project which reflects Council’s values and initiatives.
  • People’s Choice Award – is open to public vote and reflects the community values and aspirations.
  • Sustainability Award – is awarded by the judging panel from all shortlisted nominees and recognises a project which demonstrates commitment to environmentally sustainable design principles.

Judging Criteria

Please refer to the below document which specifies the judging criteria for each category.


2015 Shortlisted Projects

View the 2015 Shortlisted Projects.