The refurbishment of the ANU Birch Building, the home of the School of Cybernetics, was awarded the National Award for Education and the National Award for Heritage Architecture at the recently concluded 2022 Australian Architecture Awards.
The jury praised the building renovation’s ‘restraint and clarity’. “The hand of the architect is evident but not dominant. The mastery in this transformation must be celebrated: it speaks of an elegance and dignity appropriate to a national capital,” the Educational Architecture Award jury said.
Meanwhile, the Heritage Architecture Award jury raved about the preservation of the unique heritage features of the building. “Preserving the cultural heritage of this building, along with its considerable embodied energy, gives a potent lesson in how the best of the past can be carefully nurtured to create the future we need.”
The building renovation also received a commendation for Interior Architecture.
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 AUD75-million building upgrade commenced in 2018 and was completed in 2021. It previously received the top Canberra Medallion and also the excellence in Interior Architecture, Heritage, and Education awards at the 2022 ACT Architecture Awards back in June.
The Australian Architecture Awards have upheld since 1981 excellence in the architecture profession by recognising best practices in the field.
The ANU Birch Building is the venue of an upcoming exhibition, Australian Cybernetic: a point through time, on 22 November—2 December.
Australian Cybernetic: a point through time features over 100 original Australian and international works from the early 1960s to 2022. It is inspired by the historic exhibitions Cybernetic Serendipity in London in 1968 and Australia 75 in Canberra in 1975.
The exhibition, which aims to create space to imagine and enable new futures for complex systems comprising people, technology and the environment, is a highlight of the official launch of the School of Cybernetics.
22 Nov—2 December
Click here to register for guided tours and events. Open to the public.