ADFA Exterior

Australian Defence Force Academy: Jury Citations

Australian Institute of Architects ACT - Award for Educational Architecture

ADFA New Indoor Sports Centre

The New Indoor Sports Centre at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is an elegantly articulated, simple building that handsomely complements the ADFA campus. Permitted by its function and location — at the extreme edge of the campus and adjacent to a playing field — it expresses an active aesthetic.

Three bright-yellow umbel-like steel structures energetically reach out to announce the building and provide a canopy of covered entry space. The main volume, a transparent box perched on a splayed and facetted plinth of off-white precast concrete opens to connect internal and external fitness activities.  Two smaller box insertions of polychrome blockwork house raked seating bleachers and amenities in support, while internally, the large-scale volume accommodates two full sized courts and a climbing wall.

Functionality drives material choices, which are expressed with a consistent and integrated honesty throughout the building. Timber ply lining and railings characterises the inserted elements with refined detailing.  The cladding of the main volume, translucent polycarbonate panelling, illuminates all sides of the sports hall with natural daylight without the use of shading. The steel canopy structures are animated with a play of shadowed space.

The architectural language is a well-controlled expression of functional volumes, thoughtfully articulated, and further refined by material selection to achieve a legible and unified strength of composition. 

Australian Institute of Architects ACT - Award for Educational Architecture

ADFA Auditorium

This project is a careful and restrained addition to the Australian Defence Force Academy campus. The original campus, designed in the 1980s by the Commonwealth Architects Office is a modernist concrete facility that exudes strength and permanence set against the expanse of the landscape. The Auditorium is one of the ensemble of buildings at the campus’ key arrival square. The building in its complementary form and scale respectfully contributes to the overall experience of place, spatial arrangement and social activation.

Upon entering the building, there is a delightful interplay between rectangular external volume and circular geometry of the theatre within. This deceptively simple move resolves functional arrangement with formal expression and experiential sequence.

The interior experience starts at the foyer, which is a celebratory high volume space filled with light from which the circular form of the theatre is visible. As one moves towards the theatre, there is spatial compression in plan and section, heightening the sense of occasion as one moves into the theatre. This is enhanced by the placement of 1,200 hat hooks along the curved concrete wall — a practical gesture that is at the same time sculptural. A series of arced walls surrounding the theatre layer this spatial experience and accommodate the stairs. Outside the theatre, the full arc of the curved wall features low, dramatically lit glass cabinets that house gifts from international visitors and items of historical significance.

The limited material palette and detailing allow light and volume to take the foreground, and imbue the space with a composure befitting to the function and the site setting. The project is a compelling addition to the Australian Defence Force Academy campus.