Alongside Camilla Block and David Jaggers, Neil Durbach of Durbach Block Jaggers has carved out a unique place in Australian architecture. Known primarily for their carefully sculpted modernist houses, the firm's architecture is simultaneously rich in architectural references and thoroughly original. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, Durbach explains the true inspirations behind their work, why these inspirations have little to do with the public descriptions of their projects, and why for him, the intention of all of his architecture “is to win Corb’s approval.”
Neil Durbach: Yes, I first came to Australia as an exchange student while still in high school.
VB: So you have seen the Opera under construction then. How special was that? Did that building change anything in particular in you?
ND: Well, at that time I wanted to be an artist. A friend took me on a boat to see it. It was kind of staggering... And I thought – you know, this is much more interesting than art. And I felt – maybe architecture is what I should pursue.
The Australian Institute of Architects has announced the winners of its 2014 South Australia Awards. This year, the star of the show was the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) by Woods Bagot, which won a total of five awards: COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture, the Keith Neighbour Award for Commercial Architecture, the Robert Dickson Award for Interior Architecture, Jack McConnell Award for Public Architecture, and the Derrick Kendrick Award for Sustainable Architecture.
The jury commended Woods Bagot's project, saying that it "operates as a catalyst on multiple levels – a catalyst for the urban regeneration of the precinct; a catalyst and new exemplar for the city; and a catalyst for the state, evidencing step change in attitudes to both design and research."
Read on after the break to see all the winners