Northam wins architecture gongs

Countryman
Northam's Public Library and former Shire offices designed by Iwan Iwanoff that were both opened in 1971.
Camera IconNortham's Public Library and former Shire offices designed by Iwan Iwanoff that were both opened in 1971. Credit: Navigator Photographix

A country town boasting the most heritage buildings outside of Fremantle can add another feather to its cap after scooping four gongs at WA’s Architecture Awards.

The Shire of Northam’s library and its former chamber offices — located next to each other on Fitzgerald Street — took out the Richard Roach Jewell Award for enduring architecture.

The buildings were designed by immigrant architect Iwan Iwanoff and marked their fiftieth birthday this year.

Judges described the buildings as “stunning examples of the brutalist style”.

The new-look Farmers’ Home Hotel — which opened in March last year — took out both the Margaret Pitt Morison Award and and the Empowering People in Communities Award.

Shire of Northam president Chris Antonio said former councillors had showed progressive and innovative thinking by commissioning the library and former chamber offices more than 50 years ago.

“People either love it, or not — either way people should come and see the buildings,” he said.

“Northam boasts the largest concentration of significant heritage buildings after Fremantle.”

Farmers Hotel Northam. Photos supplied by Spaceagency architects
Camera IconFarmers Hotel Northam. Photos supplied by Spaceagency architects Credit: Spaceagency architects

Mr Antonio said the hotel, which has been a landmark in Northam since the 1860s, has been transformed to include a boutique hotel, café and the Temperance Bar with sophistication and a playful acknowledgement to the historic themes of the place.

“For Northam’s architecture to be part of an impressive showcase of nominees and winners, including the WA Museum Boola Bardip, is a great honour,” he said.

The WA Museum Boola Bardip, designed by Hassell and OMA, took out the highest honour at this year’s awards, winning the John Septimus Roe Award for Urban Design.

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