The architectural community in the Northern Territory came together on Saturday night for the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) NT Chapter Architecture Awards, celebrating a shining year of design excellence in Australia’s top end.

Hames Sharley was honoured to receive three accolades during the evening.

Melaleuca Australia Courtyard Shade Structure received a prestigious named award; the Yali-McNamara Award for Small Project Architecture.

Melaleuca Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that supports humanitarian entrants, migrants, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to settle in the Territory.

The gathering space at the heart of their building was underutilised due to the lack of shade and solar heat gain. The new shade structure facilitates the activation of the courtyard into a vibrant communal hub that enhances Melaleuca’s capacity to serve its community, fostering connection and belonging for all who visit.

The jury commended the project team for delivering an elegant and effective outcome that facilitates year-round use of the space, connecting the Melaleuca Centre more broadly to Darwin and beyond.

“This modest intervention for Melaleuca Australia (...) is a demonstrator of architecture’s capacity for impact beyond physical space,” said the jury.

The innovative project also earned the EmAGN Project Award, in recognition of the profound involvement of project leader Ilma Ali.

“Through her adept management and cultivation of strong relationships with clients, consultants, and builders, she has elevated the project to exceed expectations despite constrained resources,” said the jury.

“During the Jury’s assessment, Ilma’s profound ownership of the project was unmistakable, evident in her articulate exposition of the design process and close rapport with the client. Her involvement in all project phases, including Contract Administration during construction, underscores her comprehensive grasp of every aspect of the endeavour.”

Dripstone Middle School STEAM Centre received a Commendation for Educational Architecture. The new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Centre is an innovative and stimulating learning environment that encourages student engagement in STEAM curriculum to prepare them for the jobs of the future.

The Jury commended Hames Sharley and project lead Despina Rossides for their impactful work on this project as it will inspire students to pursue career pathways in industries that will underpin the Northern Territory economy for years to come.

“Facilitating strong visual and physical connections within and beyond the space via the introduction of extensive glazing and access to external breakout areas, the considered programming response together with bold graphics and colour purposefully connect the school’s identity with the Bauhaus and deliver a space for educators to inspire imagination and creativity.”

Well done to the teams that worked on these projects.