Following on from the Sustainability Summit, which was held earlier in the day, this salubrious event, was attended by more than 250 guests, and showcased the remarkable achievements of 19 winners across 18 categories who stood as beacons of innovation and commitment to environmental responsibility.

TV presenter, resident architect for Channel 7s ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ and other leading design programs, Peter Colquhoun.

The iconic venue itself, bathed in ethereal green lighting, set the tone for an evening dedicated to acknowledging those who have made substantial contributions to the planet’s well-being.

The choice of Sydney Cricket Ground as the backdrop for this event was symbolic, echoing the importance of collective action in the global arena, much like a team coming together for a common goal, all in a venue that has shown how heritage listing and adaptive reuse can work as one of the foundations of sustainability in our built environment.

Architecture & Design Editor Branko Miletic

As the doors opened to welcome the esteemed guests, the atmosphere buzzed with anticipation and excitement, with the official proceedings kicking off with a keynote delivered by Chris Nunn from Scape, who unveiled the remarkable potential of the Passive House model in Australia.

Potential in fact may well be an understatement said Nunn who also noted that not only is the proven and carbon-reducing Passive House model best practice today, it will also become the ‘new normal’, with places like Scotland already adapting it as their building code.

2023 SA judging panel

Let by the indefatigable architect, artist, TV presenter, resident architect for Channel 7s ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ and other leading design programs, Peter Colquhoun, the gala commenced with a heartfelt welcome address that emphasized the urgency of sustainable practices in the face of escalating environmental challenges.

The audience, a mix of industry leaders, environmentalists, and advocates, responded with resounding applause, setting the stage for an evening of inspiration.

The award categories – all 18 of them which you can see here – spanned the entire spectrum of sustainability, from renewable energy and waste reduction to community engagement and corporate responsibility. Each winner, carefully selected by our expert panel of judges let by Jeremy Spencer, embodied the spirit of innovation and dedication required to address the pressing issues of our time.

One of the standout moments of the evening was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

For the first time ever, this prestigious honour went to two worthy recipients- Dick Clarke and David Baggs. Clarke a former Sustainability Awards judge and Baggs, head of Global GreenTag in Australia, were deemed basically inseparable when it comes to their lifetime contribution to the design sector, so they were both given one Lifetime Achievement Award each.

Both Baggs’ and Clarke’s acceptance speeches echoed the sentiments of many in the room, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts and a holistic approach to sustainability.

 The awardees showcased a broad spectrum of initiatives, proving that sustainability is not a privilege but a responsibility for all.

The night unfolded seamlessly, with each award announcement met with a harmonious blend of cheers and applause. The diversity of winners reflected the interconnected nature of sustainability, illustrating that progress requires a multifaceted approach.

From innovative start-ups to established corporations, the awardees showcased a broad spectrum of initiatives, proving that sustainability is not a privilege but a responsibility for all.

The Gala also served as a platform for networking and idea exchange among the many like-minded guests. The air was charged with the spirit of collaboration, as industry leaders engaged in meaningful conversations about the future of sustainable practices.

The sense of community that permeated the event was a testament to the growing recognition that sustainability is a shared journey, requiring collective wisdom and effort.

It must be said that it was an honour to have Danielle Robinson from New Zealand joining the Gala in person, representing the family-owned business and 2023 Sustainability Awards Platinum Partner, Autex Acoustics.

Sustainability has always been at the core of Autex Acoustics and as the Carbon Neutral Platinum Partner, and it would be remiss of me not to mention their beautiful table centrepiece’s designed and manufactured by Autex Acoustics and made from their high-performance Cube acoustic panel, which is carbon neutral and made from a minimum 65% recycled PET.

Additionally, they were assembled without the use of glue – part of the company’s ongoing commitment to more circular product devolvement, and as such, making them even more sustainable and suitable for re-use and recycling.

As the official part of the night drew to a close, the room was filled with a sense of accomplishment and inspiration. The 17th annual Sustainability Awards had not only celebrated the achievements of the winners but had also ignited a spark of hope for a brighter, greener future.

These Awards, now an important annual event on the architect’s calendar, stand as a milestone and marking the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead in the pursuit of a sustainable world.

In conclusion, the 2023 Sustainability Awards Gala in Sydney was a resounding success, honouring those who have gone above and beyond to champion environmental responsibility.

The event served as a beacon of hope and was a call to action, urging individuals and organizations alike to embrace sustainable practices for the well-being of our planet and future generations.

As we reflect on this milestone event, it is evident that the path to sustainability is a collective journey, and the 19 category winners and 250 or so guests at the Sydney Cricket Ground have set a powerful example for the world to follow.

Written by Branko Miletic

Main image: The Indesign team