The Annual Australian Timber Design Award winners for 2023 were announced at the Cargo Hall in Melbourne, MC Tim Ross. ARM Architecture received first prize for their outstanding Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal project.

The World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House celebrates its 50th birthday this year. The Concert Hall, its largest venue and home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra had never lived up to the promise of the exterior of the building, suffering a poor reputation for acoustics. The challenge to solve this shortcoming involved innovative use of Brushbox timber panelling and smart interventions into the existing White Birch ceiling.

The wall panelling around the stage, stalls and rear walls were reconstructed with new solid carved panelling. All were made in the same Brushbox timber already present in the Hall. The new panels diffuse the acoustic energy, prevent direct reflections and create a blended sound and sense of envelopment in the music. The result is a series of highly tactile and sculptural surfaces that encourage the hand to run along them.

CONDEV Reception Space by Studio Workshop. Image:  David Taylor

2023 Award Winners