Save Anzac Hall campaigner awarded top architecture prize

Clare Cousins was awarded the 2021 Presidents Medal at the ACT Architecture Awards. Photo supplied.

Architect Clare Cousins has been awarded the 2021 Presidents Medal at the ACT Architecture Awards for her defence of the value of architecture and commitment to the Institute of Architects’ members.

Ms Cousins is a former national president and life fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and has been the spokesperson for the Institute’s long-running campaign against plans to demolish and redevelop Anzac Hall at the Australian War Memorial.

ACT Chapter president and national president-elect, Shannon Battisson, said Ms Cousins is “an architect of the highest standard”.

“As spokesperson for the #HandsOffAnzacHall campaign, Clare has led a public interest campaign to fight for a building of not just national significance, but one of immense importance to the fabric of our city, Canberra.

“Clare has upheld the highest possible standard of professionalism throughout the three years of the campaign, collaborated with other key interest groups, and importantly explained to the community through extensive media and social media outreach why buildings such as Anzac Hall matter.”

Five other prizes were awarded on the night, including the Emerging Architect Prize to SQC Architecture principal, Sander de Vries.

“Aptly self-described as ‘the oil between the parts’, Sander’s commitment to delivering frank collaboration and meaningful change for the profession both nationally and locally is to be enthusiastically commended,” said Ms Battisson. 

Ajanthan ‘AJ’ Bala of DNA Architects was recognised as a “true all-rounder” with the Architecture Professional Practitioner Award.

Students recognised for architecture excellence

As well, University of Canberra (UC) architecture students Chloe Yin and James Sekoranja were recognised for their achievements, jointly awarded the ACT Chapter Student Medallion for attaining the highest grade point average over five years of architectural education.

Mr Sekoranja also received the Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn Graduate Prize, for the highest grade point average over the two years of the Master of Architecture course at UC.

For the highest achievement during the first three years of architectural studies, UC student Matt Runko was awarded the John Redmond Prize.

“Our award winners represent the next generation of architectural excellence that will further the significant value our profession delivers to creating a better, more liveable, more sustainable and healthier built environment,” Ms Battison said.

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