Lawrence Nield awarded 2012 AIA Gold Medal

Mar 22, 2012
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Designer

Multi award-winning Sydney architect Lawrence Nield has been presented with the Australian Institute of Architects’ (AIA) highest accolade, the Gold Medal.

Nield was announced as the 2012 Gold Medalist at the Institute’s Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards (AAAA), held in Adelaide on 21 March.

AIA National President Brian Zulaikha said: “Lawrence Nield has made an outstanding contribution to architecture for over forty-five years. His career combines a prolific and continued output of significant architecture and urban design projects, services to the Australian Institute of Architects, academic and teaching achievements, including a distinguished list of writings and publications.”

Zulaikha continued: “His broad and principled approach to architecture reveals an uncommon understanding of our history, the arts, and other intellectual achievements, and his projects draw on a diverse range of architectural interests and studies.”

Nield graduated from the University of Sydney in 1963, and completed a Masters Degree at Cambridge in 1968. After working with London practice Yorke, Rosenberg, Mardall, Nield returned to Sydney to work with McConnel Smith and Johnson before establishing his own firm, Lawrence Nield + Partners, in 1975.

In 1997, he became a founding principal of Bligh Voller Nield (BVN). He now practices as Studio Nield.

The Gold Medal jury praised Nield’s significant contribution to healthcare design in the Asia Pacific region, noting that his “innovative designs have been highly influential in the development of health planning in Australia and Asia”. Nield has played a key role in the development of a series of international sporting facilities, including his appointment as Head of Masterplanning for the Sydney Olympic Games, and has provided design leadership on a number of tertiary educational facilities.

His award winning projects include the 1988 RAIA National Civic Design Award (in association with the NSW Government Architect) for the Overseas Passenger Terminal Sydney, the 1997 RAIA National Sir Zelman Cowen Award (in association with John Mainwaring and Associates) for the University of the Sunshine Coast Library, the 2000 RAIA NSW Sir John Sulman Medal for the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre, a 2007 RIBA International Award for the L5 Building at the University of New South Wales (with Andrew Cortese) and the Architectural Society of China’s Grand Architectural Creation Award 2009 for the Beijing Olympic Tennis Centre.

In addition to his achievements in practice, Nield has served as President of the AIA NSW Chapter (1986-88), was Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney (1992-96), worked as Adjunct Professor at UNSW, UTS and the University of Sydney, and is currently Professor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle.

The Gold Medal 2012 jurors – Brian Zulaikha, Lindsay Clare, Jennifer Taylor, Keith Cottier and Abbie Galvin – added: “[Nield’s] stated aspiration is that architecture provides support and background for cultural and social activity, maintaining that ‘without meaning and recognition architecture is just a commodity’. He argues for environmental leadership in architecture and personally has shown true leadership through his consistent and passionate advocacy for this humanist role for the profession.”

Images (1) Lawrence Nield portrait; (2) Cook and Philip Park, BVN and Spackman & Mossop landscape architects (1999); (3) Sydney International Tennis Centre, BVN (1999); (4) Mt Druitt Hospital, BVN (1982)

Conversation • 2 comments

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23 Mar 12 at 9:46 PM • Norman Moore

Lawerence, Although it was some years ago it was intensely enjoyable to work with you on what ultimately turned out to be an unsuccessful attempt to win a hospital project at Albury. I was the design mgr for CCL and your ferocious reject of the NSW govrt. decision not to accept our scheme amazed me and lifted my respect for your passion for your profession.
Well deserved. Norman Moore.

25 Oct 12 at 5:06 AM • Felicity Bassouls nee Liz Hodge

Lawrence, I worked at YRM early 1970’s and I can remember you were the architect on the Oxford Regional Hospital Project. I was a secretary for YRM at the time. Well done to you for achieving the AAAA – Gold Medal.

Often think back to those days at YRM, am now married to a wonderful Frenchman from Cambridge University, he is a mathematician. I have 2 children and my daughter is married to Ben Cohen former Rugby world cup player 2003 who beat the Aussies!!



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