Gariwerd awarded highest Victorian architectural honours

Gariwerd awarded highest Victorian architectural honours

Grampians (Gariwerd) Peaks Trail Stage 2 has been recognised with dual accolades at the 2022 Victorian Architecture Awards, claiming both the Regional Prize and the state’s highest honour, the Victorian Architecture Medal.Across 14 categories, a total of 66 projects were awarded and commended from a pool of 125 shortlisted projects – one of the largest ever pools for the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects’ awards program.

The Victorian Architecture Medal is the highest honour awarded each year and draws from projects across all categories. Nick Griffin, Melbourne Co-Studio Leader and Associate Director at McGregor Coxall, said:

“We’re incredibly humbled to see Grampians (Gariwerd) Peaks Trail recognised with top honours amongst this year’s compelling entries. A genuinely collaborative process has resulted in an immersive natural tourism experience, and an outcome that McGregor Coxall’s Melbourne Studio, Noxon Giffen, and the community can be truly proud of.

“Congratulations to all winners and entrants on yet another year of quality projects progressing life in our built and natural environments.”

With environmental sensitivity in mind, Grampians (Gariwerd) Peaks Trail was designed to protect and celebrate the unique beauty of the 160km trail, responding to site-specific conditions to offer optimum comfort within nature at 11 separate hikers camps.

The trail and campsite locations were established by Parks Victoria whilst lead consultant and multidisciplinary design firm McGregor Coxall were responsible for setting design palettes, site layouts and landscape architecture for Stage 2 works – working closely with Noxon Giffen (Architects) and OPS Engineers (Structural Engineers).

Featuring architecture made to grow in parallel with its stunning natural landscape, the sites delve into the possibilities of the GPT’s diversity of terrain and unique posterity and resilience.

Projects that received an Architecture Award or a named award will progress to the National Architecture Awards program, with the shortlist to be announced by the Australian Institute of Architects in the coming months.

McGregor Coxall will return to Gariwerd’s unique cultural landscape to deliver a series of new trailheads for visitors of the Grampians Peaks Trail. Including major sites located at Mount Zero (North), Halls Gap (Central) and Dunkeld (South), the trailheads will transition hikers between built and natural settings along each section of the track – key thresholds that offer more flexibility of access, cultural information, and amenities.

Jury citation:In a list of outstanding contributions to architecture in Victoria, the Grampians Peaks Trail Stage 2 by Noxon Giffen Architects with McGregor Coxall is recognised for the highest levels of design accomplishment in the contemporary world we live in.

Grampians Peaks Trail Stage 2 demonstrates a resolution that is inextricably drawn from its context and the rich possibilities of contributing to a greater understanding of who we are and the land we live in. Modest but powerful, the project demonstrates how architecture can be strong and meaningful without having to be loud or over present. It is indeed a complete result of its context.

With an 18-year process of creation, importantly, an empowered Traditional Owners group led the site selection and indeed suggested the buildings take a step back so as not to overshadow the beauty and narrative of the landscape they sit in. Moreover, to enable a comprehensive appreciation of it.

The buildings demonstrate remarkable attention to detail, not only in the result itself but in designing for a challenging construction process. As collections of unassuming, yet especially well-crafted pavilions, camping platforms and self-contained amenity structures, the different settings use a common design language and sophisticated detailing, with differentiation arising from an individual material and response to the geology, geography, vegetation, and outlook of each setting.

The project demonstrates an extraordinary level of sensitivity, commitment and collaboration between the client group, the design team, contractors, and the local Indigenous communities. The Grampians Peaks Trail Stage 2 is a catalyst for the sensitive exploration of the Gariwerd region, enhancing the experience of visitors and the community in general, and creating ongoing development of our collective understanding of Country and the vital role architecture has in that.

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