Hut and shelters on the new Grampians Peaks Trail have taken out the top gong in the Victorian Architecture Awards.
The year’s top award, The Victorian Architecture Medal, went to the Grampians Peaks Trail Stage 2 by Noxon Giffen Architects with McGregor Coxall.
The hiking trail won for a series of 10 shelters so remote that materials and trades had to be choppered in to build them along the more than 160km hiking trail.
The Parks Victoria project aims to stem the flow of hiking tourism out of Victoria and has been in progress for 18 years over multiple stages after extensive consultation with Indigenous groups.
Shelters were placed and designed to disappear into their surrounding landscape and leave the natural vistas as the hero.
Charred timbers were used at one of the sites to reduce maintenance and blend in with the dark cliffsides nearby.
The designs also prioritised viewlines for those sheltering in the buildings.
AIA Regional Prize jury member Anja de Spa said the project was by far the most remote to receive an accolade but showed what “a sensitive architectural response can bring to any location”.
“There’s almost a feeling of reflection as you might have if you visit a religious site, and they are very deeply rooted in the spirit of the place,” Ms de Spa said.
Justin Noxon and Andrew Jenner oversaw the project for Noxon Giffen, with Mr Jenner revealing they had been “pinching ourselves” after being given the chance to work on the “13-day adventure walk” that had to shelter hikers from scorching summers and freezing winters.