ANU Birch Building renovation wins ACT’s top architecture award

Picture of ANU School of Cybernetics

Written by: ANU School of Cybernetics
7 Jun 2022

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ANU Birch Building renovation wins ACT’s top architecture award
ANU Birch Building renovation wins ACT’s top architecture award

The renovation of the ANU Birch Building—the home of the School of Cybernetics—bagged multiple recognitions, including the top Canberra Medallion, at the 2022 ACT Architecture Awards.

The 75-million upgrade was led by architect firm Hassell, which received high praises from the awards’ jury.

“Hassell’s thoughtful reinterpretation of the 1968 heritage-listed building celebrates its past and transforms it into a best-practice building that supports contemporary education and research,” the jury said.

The building also won the JS Murdoch Heritage Award, the Enrico Taglietti Award for Education Architecture, and the W Hayward Morris Award for Interior Architecture.

Hassell explained in an interview that its team aimed to celebrate the building’s history by developing a design that was “sympathetic to the features” and retained the building’s character.

Birch Building
Photo by Andrew Meares
Birch Building
Photo by Shirley Wang

The building’s historic water fountain was restored; the iconic central staircase modernised; and its partitions removed to maximise natural light.

Designed by Eggleston, MacDonald and Secomb, the Birch Building is a heritage-listed building completed in 1968. It was named after Arthur Birch, one of the greatest organic chemists of the twentieth century. Birch was the Dean of the ANU Research School of Chemistry (RSC) from 1967 to 1970 and 1973 to 1976 and was the President of the Australian Academy of Science from 1982 to 1986.

The Birch Building previously housed RSC and is now home to the College of Engineering and Computer Science where the School of Cybernetics is located.

The School of Cybernetics occupies the entire third level of the Birch Building. (MP)

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The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

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