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 AUD75-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.
Very fortunate to get to work in such a beautiful place 🥰 and the people are pretty alright too https://t.co/mWGusILI8f— Ellen Broad (@ellenbroad) June 5, 2022
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.
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.