Six worldly finalists have been shortlisted by the International Area Committee’s 2013 awards jury for the Australian Institute of Architects’ Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture.

The award for International Architecture recognises the work of Institute members living abroad and members who are undertaking commissions overseas.

Situated outside the eight state and territory jurisdictions of Australia, finalists include an art gallery in Japan’s snow country, a steel house in Russia, mixed-use residential developments and a Californian family home.

The finalists who were selected from an initial 26 submissions will go forward to the National Architecture Awards in November where a final winner will be chosen by an esteemed jury. The finalists include immediate past president Shelley Penn and WOHA founder and director Richard Hassell, South Australian government architect Ben Hewett, Tribe studio director Hannah Tribe and architectural editor, writer and critic Justine Clark.

Silver House, Peter Stutchbury Architecture

Silver House, Peter Stutchbury Architecture

The finalists for the international category are:

  • Australia House, Andrew Burns Architect (Niigata, Japan)
  • Silver House, Peter Stutchbury Architecture (Cherepovets, Russia)
  • Martin No.38, Kerry Hill Architects (Singapore)
  • 387 Tamaki Drive, Ian Moore Architects (Auckland, New Zealand)
  • 28th Street Apartments, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc. (Los Angeles, United States)
  • Sobieski House, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc (South Pasadena, United States)
Martin No.38, Kerry Hill Architects

Martin No.38, Kerry Hill Architects

Australia House was a new building to replace the original Australia House – a 100 year old farmhouse – that collapsed during an aftershock in March 2011 in Japan’s snow country. The architects call it a new building that “stands as a symbol of healing and transformation in this beautiful area of Japan”.

Designed to survive future disasters, clean geometric lines direct the architecture of Australia House, with a steep triangular roof designed to manage the 1.5 metres of snow the location can receive in a single day.

Over in Russia, Silver House is designed to cope with a local harsh climate in Cherepovets, a city that experiences minus 48 degree temperatures.

The project brief was to design a house that worked to retain energy, which Peter Stutchbury Architecture achieved constructing a sustainable steel house.

387 Tamaki Drive

387 Tamaki Drive, Ian Moore Architects

Energy from the building was moved to a centralised storage wall which was sheet steel filled with gravel acting as a large thermal mass radiator.

Martin Number 3, Kerry Hill Architects’ first housing project in the humid city of Singapore  was also designed with the climate in mind.

The mixed-use 15-storey tower is comprised of 80 per cent apartments and 20 per cent public accessible space on the two lower floors.

The building is designed to maximise both the natural sunlight and cross-ventilation while offering beautiful views for residents.

“The trick with building in the tropics is not to exclude the sun, but to invite it in through a series of filters,” Kerry Hill said.

“These filters take the form of a louvered facade system that residents can control, allowing them to “mediate climate, noise and privacy. Each apartment also has an open-plan layout for additional flexibility, while terraces are created at the base of each building as ‘outdoor living spaces.'”

Beachfront project 387 Tamaki Drive by Ian Moore Architects is a little closer to home, in New Zealand.

28th Street Apartments, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.

28th Street Apartments, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.

The project consists of a multi-use three-storey property housing five apartments plus commercial and retail space. Its architecture is described as “deeply rectangular with large balconies and in internal courtyard between residencies bringing in natural light and ventilation.”

Recognised for its spatial arrangement, the building has a minimalist design, having been constructed entirely of off-white precast concrete panels that remain exposed both internally and externally.

Koning Eizenberg Architecture’s two US projects complete the finalist list including 28th Street Apartments in Los Angeles and a traditional Californian home dubbed Sobieski House in South Pasadena.

28th Street Apartments saw Koning Eizenberg Architecture choose to revive an original 1936 YMCA building, an important community centre which was in great need of restoration.

Not-for-profit developer Clifford Beers Housing bought the building in 2009 and appointed the firm to both reinvigorate the existing building and provide a new addition that included over 50 permanent houses that would house low-income earners, homeless people and those challenged with mental illness.

Reminiscent of Spanish Colonial influence, Koning Eizenberg Architecture retained some of the original architectural features while replicating others, taking a collaborative approach to the design building a roof garden and a series of social spaces.

Sobieski House, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc, South Pasadena

Sobieski House, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc, South Pasadena

Built for a family of four, Sobieski House has defied the boundaries of the conventional indoor/outdoor home layout.

The artistic Sobieski family, who purchased a rundown ranch in South Pasedena ,envisioned each household function such as dining or sleeping enclosed within its own building.

The idea first came about with the development of an art studio for wife Anne-Elizabeth Sobieski in 2005, with the building featuring an entire wall that led to the outdoors.

Three years later, the family commissioned Koning Eizenberg Architecture to further explore this concept by building a series of tall white boxes for sleeping  that neighbor each other with garden space in between.