SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
July 10, 2024

Architecture Awards showcasing the best of South Australia

The South Australian Architecture Awards have long showcased the relationship between architecture and the community and for the first time, the top honour has been awarded to two projects.

  • This article was produced in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Architects.

The diversity of winners at this year’s South Australian Architecture Awards highlights how important architecture is in shaping our society.

Australia Institute of Architecture South Australian Chapter Executive Director Nicolette Di Lernia says the SA Architecture Awards illustrate the wide impact even small projects can have on a community.

“A lot of people are a bit bemused or confused about what architects might do,” Nicolette says.

“The reality is that architects work on everything from public parks, toilet buildings and bike lockups at universities all the way through to major public buildings.”

This diversity of architecture is reflected in the awards categories that range from small residential builds to major public ones.

Each year the SA Architecture Medal recognises the most outstanding project and this year, for the first time, it was shared by two different projects.

Sunkissed Higgins by RADS

This year’s Awards Director Erin Crowden says Sunkissed Higgins by RADS and Evergreen Community Precinct by Walter Brooke both interrogated their briefs instead of taking a straightforward approach.


The SA Architecture Awards were announced at a gala event on Friday July 5, view the full list here.

“[They’re from] two entirely different categories but both amazing projects in that they take the client brief and sort of turn it on its head in a way,” Erin says.

Sunkissed Higgins by RADS is a rework of a Middleton holiday house, now turned permanent family home. With its very own skate ramp this modern ode to the best of 70s and 80s beach shacks showcases relaxed Australian coastal living.

Erin Crowden says RADS thought outside the box and made this project into something that would benefit its entire community as well as the client.

“[RADS] questioned things and kept questioning until they came up with an amazing result that is really humble in nature but still really fun and embodies the clients and a bit of the wider community as well,” Eris says.

The strategic use of natural light and recycled materials also earned Sunkissed Higgins a commendation for sustainability.

Nicolette Di Lernia says RADS went above and beyond in considering their clients and their lifestyle.

“[Sunkissed Higgins is] really responsive; it gives back to the street, it allows them to have a connection with their place and allows people in the community to actually engage with them as well,” Nicolette says.

“They haven’t gone super big, they’ve really thought about people who have houses behind them not getting in the way of their views, but at the same time they’ve got a really beautiful, comfortable, delightful family home.”

Evergreen Community Precinct by Walter Brooke.

Evergreen Community Precinct by Walter Brooke in the heart of Enfield Memorial Park has far exceeded its purpose of providing funeral services.

Its circular form embodies the circle of life and Nicolette Di Lernia says all its services are “beautifully integrated” and the carefully considered layout has left nothing as an afterthought.

“It’s clever thinking and it’s maximising the benefits those buildings provide,” Nicolette says.

“Instead of it being an end-of-life kind of place it’s become very much a place where the community feels at home.”

Erin Crowden says Evergreen Community Precinct is another model example of a client brief that has been approached in a non-traditional way.

“Evergreen community centre is, amongst other things, a crematorium but turning that into a community centre and a celebration for life — and for other life events — and really embedding that into the landscape turned that whole idea on its head and created a really successful outcome,” Erin says.

The diversity of architecture within Adelaide is further showcased through the City of Adelaide Prize recipients.

60 King William Street by Cox Architecture.

This year 60 King William Street by Cox Architecture was awarded the City of Adelaide Prize — an award that recognises projects that actively engage and enhance the City of Adelaide community.

This all-in-one hub incorporates contemporary work, retail, food and drink spaces as well as the Kings Lane thoroughfare that connects King William Street and James Place.

Art Gallery of South Australia installation Frida & Diego: Love and Revolution Exhibition by Grieve Gillett Architects received the City of Adelaide People’s Choice Prize and a City of Adelaide Prize commendation.

Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution by Grieve Gillett Architects.

Grieve Gillett Architects designed the exhibition to be bold and stimulating in a way that complements the works while reflecting the passion of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Family homes, crematoriums, commercial buildings and art exhibitions are only a select few of the 43 projects that received an award or commendation this year that shape South Australia.

Nicolette Di Lernia says South Australia is a unique environment to work in and the best architecture responds to what it means to be a part of Adelaide and the wider community.

Read the full list of 2024 South Australian Institute of Architect winners here.

Share —