The GPT Group’s Wollongong Central Development Wins Two Architizer A+ Awards

(April 14, 2015) - Architizer, the largest online platform for architecture and interior design enthusiasts, announced today that The GPT Group's Wollongong Central Development has won both the Popular Choice and the Juror's Choice awards in the Shopping Center category of the Architizer A+ Awards. The awards program, which received more than 3,000 entries from 80 countries, recognizes design excellence in more than 90 categories. According to Architizer, winners "represent the best of architecture and design worldwide."

The GPT Group's Wollongong Central Development, designed by HDR | Rice Daubney, is located just over 50 miles (approximately 80 kilometers) south of Sydney. Its design proudly reflects the natural beauty and rich culture of the region, creating a renewed social heart and retail destination for Wollongong that fuses architecture, art and culture. Most importantly, the project authentically reflects the city. "It is not a building the city deserved, but rather a building deserving of the city," notes Susanne Pini, director of retail + mixed use at HDR | Rice Daubney. Pini grew up in Wollongong and describes the city as exquisitely beautiful and brutal, raw and primal. 

"Quintessentially, the Illawarra [the region Wollongong is located within] is characterized by a unique dichotomy—a perception of a tough and gritty town defined solely by its history as a steel town and then a rich, almost achingly beautiful landscape held tightly between the escarpment and the Pacific Ocean," says Pini. "This friction defines the architecture of the building; a heroic, engineered and precise outer shell reflecting the man-made and a warm, organic and sensual interiorscape that celebrates the natural."

Beyond simply creating a beautiful building, the team knew this project had work to do far beyond its footprint. Like many cities, Wollongong's central business district had struggled to remain relevant—its ailing main streets bereft of active life. "We knew this project could either start a city-wide dialogue and be a catalyst for change and possibility, or simply be just another building. We opted for the latter, planting a seed that would grow with strong roots to reach out and connect parts of the city that had become severed and promote new growth where it had never dreamed to exist," added Pini.

Reflecting on the recognition from Architizer, Anthony McNulty, The GPT Group's head of development – retail & major projects, notes that, "The GPT Group is extremely proud that the Wollongong Central expansion has been recognised as a leader in an international competition. From the outset, GPT sought to deliver a city centre destination that responds to the needs of the local community while celebrating the unique traditions and cultures of the region within which it sits. This award is great recognition for the work done by HDR | Rice Daubney and our broader consultant team in creating a truly unique place that is valued by the Illawarra community."

Both awards will be presented to the team at a formal gala in New York City on May 14. 

More about the Architizer A+ Awards
The Architizer A+ Awards is the definitive architectural award program with 90+ categories and over 300 jurors. For each category, two awards are given: a Juror's Award and a Popular Choice Award. The jury consists of industry luminaries such as Charles Renfro, Bjarke Ingels and Tom Kundig, as well as people from beyond architecture like Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos), Yves Behar (Fuseproject), John Edelman (CEO, Design Within Reach), Cameron Sinclair (Architecture for Humanity) and Barry Bergdoll (MoMA). The Popular Choice Award is determined by public voting.