WARRNAMBOOL building designer Dean Picken has taken out the state’s top industry award for a coastal home design in Port Fairy.
Six building projects in Warrnambool and three firms were nominated for the Building Design Association of Victoria (BDAV) awards held in Melbourne on Saturday.
Mr Picken, Designers by Nature’s chief designer, won three prizes for a Port Fairy home (pictured above), including best use of glass, best residential design from $500,000 to $1 million, and the top prize – building design of the year.
Form & Function’s Donna Monaghan won a non-residential design award her work on the refurbished Koala Childcare and Early Learning Centre on Lava Street.
Mr Picken said the recognition showed a change in how the industry viewed design concepts.
"They're looking at sustainability and good environmental housing that's well thought-out and designed in response to the site,” he said.
"Warrnambool is batting above its average to take down three top prizes.
“We're raising the bar and doing good quality work.
"For a small town with limited scope, limited sites and limited budget, it's fantastic.”
Mr Picken said the biggest challenge he faced with the Port Fairy design was integrating the development into the rugged environment and providing sweeping views of the southern ocean, while protecting it from the elements.
Mrs Monaghan said she was pleased the district had been recognised with awards against tough metropolitan competition.
"It was inspiring to see other Warrnambool designers in the city and it's motivating to see the work they're producing,” she said.
"Dean and I were both high-fiving each other and thinking it was a good thing to get past the Westgate Bridge and showcase some properties in south-west Victoria.
“It’s a great thing for Warrnambool.”
She said the refurbished childcare centre project was recognised for preserving the 19th century building’s heritage in a sustainable way.
The building was previously home to the offices of South West Healthcare’s mental health service.
“We were appointed with the challenge of fitting 103 children in the building without extending anything,” she said.
“It was my goal to remove its institutionalised feel and make the history of the building shine, but also make it feel warm and friendly for children, parents and staff.
“They were impressed by our ability to be sustainable with an existing building, which could have easily just been demolished, and gave it a new lease of life.”