From the Desert to the Coast: Four COX Projects Celebrated at the 2023 Queensland Architecture Awards
From the deserts of Winton to the coastal town of Proserpine, this year’s Queensland Architecture Awards saw four of our diverse projects take home titles in a range of categories.
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs’ Dynamic Destination Project took home an Award for Public Architecture at the awards. The project includes the March of the Titanosaurs exhibition and the Gondwana Stars Observatory, both designed by COX in collaboration with Cultivar Architecture.
The Dynamic Destination Project presents the third stage of the masterplan at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History. Imagined as an abstraction of the site’s landscape, the March of the Titanosaurus Pavilion presents a compelling interpretation of the site’s escarpment character, and the concrete is literally infused with the site’s golden soil.
The Gondwana Stars Observatory, with its meteor-like form, speaks to the astronomical experiences available at this Dark Sky venue. A rigorously bespoke approach to detail and materiality underpins an immersive sequence of experiences.
Both client and architect are to be commended for their collaboration, which has underpinned a seamless integration of exhibit and architecture.
Also taking home an Award for Public Architecture is the Proserpine Entertainment Centre, a project that the jury cited as a ‘remarkable journey of resilience, community collaboration, and architectural excellence.’ Designed by CA Architects and COX, the project was born of Cyclone Debbie, now standing proud as a multipurpose performance hall for community events, gathering, performances, and entertainment.
The Proserpine Entertainment Centre demonstrates a remarkable journey of resilience, community collaboration, and architectural excellence. This project, born out of the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, stands as a symbol of rebirth and renewal for the Proserpine community in northern Queensland.
The inclusion of a verandah space not only responds to the tropical climate but also adds street presence and identity to the centre. Furthermore, combined with a solar panel system, the state-of-the-art theatre and lighting ensure sustainable operations and reduced operating costs.
This award recognises an unwavering commitment to resilience, cultural heritage, and the creation of a vibrant community facility that exceeds the brief and embodies the spirit of Proserpine.
West End State School Expansion was awarded a Commendation for Educational Architecture, seen as an ‘ambitious expansion’ of the century-old West End Primary School. ‘Purposefully responding to the impact of inner city, high-rise living on students, [the project] blends elements of a vertical school with site planning that provides open space and amenity.’
This ambitious expansion of the century-old West End Primary School effectively doubles the campus area.
Purposefully responding to the impact of inner city, high-rise living on students, its hybrid design blends elements of a vertical school with site planning that provides the open space, amenity, and feel of a suburban school. Building footprints are minimised and pushed to the perimeter to maximise quality outdoor play space.
The natural slope is leveraged, linking levels and enhancing the site’s overall connectivity. This project demonstrates innovation, providing a catalyst for the evolution of state education department guidelines.
Labrador Social Housing was awarded a Commendation for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing, where it was celebrated for its skilful demonstration of ‘density done well.’ ‘Apartments are designed intelligently for climate, and the spaces between provide moments of joy, connection to landscape, and opportunities for social interaction.’
This development is a skilful demonstration of ‘density done well’ and is an exemplar for the wider development industry.
The scaled transition from two storeys at the street to five at the rear reflects the surrounding mixed-use context and respectfully manages the scale in relation to the adjoining residences. A landscaped courtyard forms the heart of the project, orienting movement and fostering a sense of community.
Apartments are designed intelligently for climate, and the spaces between provide moments of joy, connection to landscape, and opportunities for social interaction. Units are clustered in offset groups, admitting breezes and framing long, generous views to the Broadwater and distant mountains.
Also at the 2023 Queensland Architecture Awards, COX Architect Carly McMahon was awarded the Emerging Architect Prize, being celebrated as a ‘ceaseless advocate for the architectural profession since her graduation, achieving exemplary outcomes across multiple states.’
The jury described Carly as a ‘ceaseless advocate for the architectural professions since her graduation, achieving exemplary outcomes, both within the industry as a practitioner and a volunteer, and more broadly, across multiple states.’
‘She has consistently placed herself into positions of little personal gain, advocating and acting to demonstrably improve the industry for others, whether they be students, graduates, emerging architects, or experienced practitioners. Carly is an ‘unsung hero’: the type of person that is necessary for the proper functioning of the profession, but also the type of person that is rarely rewarded or acknowledged.
Carly has demonstrated excellence in her work on the Tasmanian Chapter Council and Education Committee, as well as the EmAGN Committees in both Tasmania and Queensland. Her original passion for architectural education emerged from some personal concern that she and many of her colleagues would ‘not be practice ready’ on graduation, resulting in her conducting research to inform approaches for bridging the gap between university and practice.
This passion continued into her advocacy, which was key in establishing a state-based mentorship scheme, now nationwide, and a regular role for an architectural graduate on awards juries.
Carly has had a fundamental role in a wide range of industry events, including EmAGN initiatives, a Tasmanian architectural conference, and creative direction of several Institute State Awards evenings.
Carly’s architectural abilities are evident in the strong portfolio of prize-winning projects she has accrued in her decade of working in nationally renowned architectural studios. Her commitment to a collaborative approach to projects is reflected in her personal ethos, ‘Leadership doesn’t mean being in charge. It means listening, learning, teaching, collaborating, communicating, building others up, speaking up when others can’t, having a seat at the table, and affecting change where you can’.
Her strong work ethic, values, and commitment have been recognised by both employers and colleagues, and she was duly rewarded as a National Winner of the 2019 Dulux Study Tour. For her admirable, consistent, and selfless dedication, Carly McMahon is the worthy winner of the 2023 Queensland Emerging Architect Prize.’
COX is proud to have Carly as part of our talented team and extend our appreciation for her unwavering dedication to Australian architecture that earnt her this prize. Well deserved Carly!