The Building Design Awards are judged by 2 urban design experts and 3 Councillors. They’ll assess the nominations against the following criteria, which are widely recognised in the design and development professions.

Good fit and response to context

The design:

  • is a considerate design outcome that respond to its context by sensitively managing its interfaces and harmoniously blending with existing streetscapes and significant places.
  • contributes to enhancing Boroondara’s distinctive landscape and tree character.

Contribution to the public realm

The design:

  • is a positive contribution to, and seamless integration of the ground plane with the public realm, especially in activity centres and shopping strips.
  • has a mix of ‘experiential offerings’ with varied opportunities for activation and intimacy to promote a healthy, safe, vibrant, and pleasant public environment and experience.
  • will be assessed for any additional community benefit brought by the development, including enhanced public amenities like widening footpaths, making new connections, or cultural and social benefits.

Excellence in design

The design:

  • is an exemplary design outcome with high-quality contemporary architecture and refined attention to detail.
  • is an innovative and creative design that challenges conventional thinking, explores new ways of doing things to achieve high design standards, and enhances people’s lives and experiences.
  • ensures a balanced level of visual consistency, variety, and complexity.
  • employs materials and finishes that complement and enhance the visual quality and richness of the entire area.


The design:

  • takes an integrated approach to sustainability, making the best use of the site attributes, local materials, and existing trees and buildings.
  • has sustainable practice that challenges the status quo and investigates innovative technologies in the design and construction, above and beyond industry standards.

Robustness and continuity

The design:

  • maintains the unique sense of a place by embracing change yet respecting its heritage values.
  • is a resilient and robust building, capable of being adapted in the future for other purposes.
  • retains living heritage through sensitive, careful adaptive re-use; setting a fine example for new works (including restoration, extensions, or additions) and upgrades to heritage places.

Access and inclusion

The design:

  • achieves an excellent level of access and safety for all users.
  • creatively applies accessibility to enable dignified use, ease of access, choice, and control for all people.

Integrated approach to landscape design

The design:

  • recognises and enhances the qualities which give the place its valued identity and distinctive character, including existing significant trees and landscape features.
  • demonstrates a high level of sensitive site planning in which landscape is resolved as an integral part of the whole design and a vital ingredient for the successful integration of the development with the existing streetscape.

Best Sustainable Design: additional requirements

The Best Sustainable Design category reflects our commitment to further reducing the city’s environmental footprint and active response to managing climate change challenges as outlined in our Climate Action Plan.

The winning project in this category must meet these 3 additional criteria:

  • Demonstrate that sustainability is at its heart from inception to operation and beyond.
  • Push sustainability in the architecture and landscape design industry to new frontiers, exploring ground-breaking concepts of biophilia, circularity, and inclusivity in the design and master planning of new developments.
  • Act as a prototype, and showcase replicable ideas that explore better ways of doing things. It must ably show that new development, regardless of its size, scale, and location, can contribute to the enhancement and regeneration of our communities and the natural environment for the benefit of current and future generations.

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