Based in Santa Monica, the respected Australian architect duo Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg were revealed today as the 2019 recipients of the Australian Institute of Architects' Gold Medal, the country's highest architecture accolade. The honorable medal is bestowed to architects who have designed or executed buildings of high merit or have produced distinctive, influential work that has advanced the architectural profession.
After finishing their graduate architecture studies at UCLA, Koning and Eizenberg set up their practice in 1981. The Gold Medal jury praised them for producing “work of dignity underpinned by an egalitarian generosity of light, scale and air – all imbued with Australian congeniality and wit”. They also noted the firm's early adoption of applying sustainable practices to their projects, even in their own Santa Monica office.
Over the years, their work has brought much-needed attention to communities commonly overlooked by the architecture and design industry, whether it's by designing affordable housing or education and civic projects. They also actively challenge the planning process by engaging with authorities and the community to make better outcomes than what existing regulations and methods would typically allow.
Julie Eizenberg and Hank Koning are involved in the architecture community beyond practice. Eizenberg has taught and lectured around the world, and Hank Koning has been a committee member of the Australian Institute of Architects' International Chapter since 2010, including serving as Chair.
“The legacy of their projects lies not just in the bricks and mortar of the buildings themselves, but also in the hearts and minds of all those involved in making sure the lessons learnt extend beyond the property boundaries,” the jury added. “[...] it is this design talent combined with a long-term ethical investment in designing for underprivileged communities, and showing the value of this endeavor for all concerned, that make Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg most worthy recipients of the 2019 Gold Medal.”
Clare Cousins FRAIA (Chair) – President, Australian Institute of Architects | Director, Clare Cousins Architects
Richard Kirk LFRAIA – Immediate Past President, Australian Institute of Architects | Director, Kirk
Peter Elliott AM LFRAIA – 2017 Gold Medalist | Principal, Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design
Emma Williamson RAIA – Principal, TheFulcrum.Agency
Kerry Clare LFRAIA – 2010 Gold Medallist (with Lindsay Clare) | Director, Clare Design
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