Berry Sport + Recreation Hall by Michael Heenan and John Whittingham of Allen Jack+Cottier

public buildings

660 Coolangatta Road Berry

By: Allen Jack + Cottier

AJ+C Photography


AIA NSW Public Architecture Award Jury Comments

“This delightfully simple building presents a clear, clean image that demonstrates the rigour of its thinking and its craft. The structural resolution of bracing within the roof plane allows the roof and wall elements to be surprisingly thin. The prefabricated concrete is enlivened with an array of coloured perforations, which add joy to an essentially robust material.

Delivered on a modest budget, this project provides a delightful, naturally lit and flexible space. It shows the power of simple ideas well resolved and the role that innovative design can play in lifting the ordinary to a degree of eloquence. It also shows the importance of the role of the architect who worked closely with the fabricators and contractors, the latter in a ‘hands on’ manner, throughout the building process. During the day the ‘starlight’ holes add colour and intensity, at night they become a glowing array of abstract light spots visible from across the adjacent fields.”

Peter Mould, Jury Chairman

“One of Australia’s most magical, charming and sustainable buildings, designed for a very low budget, has won the prestigious World Architecture Festival Awards, sports section.”

The Fifth Estate by Tina Perinotto (

Set on 60ha of lush rolling agricultural land just outside of Berry on the NSW South Coast, the building is for indoor sports such as basketball, netball, volleyball, rock climbing as well as dance and theatre performances.

The entire building is an overt expression of its thermodynamic modeling, creating a significant and natural ventilation system in summer and a heat plume for insulation in winter. Rainwater is collected and tracked back to water tanks for reuse. An innovative and unique structural design eliminated over 20 steel columns and 1.2kms of roof purlins from the design budget.

The beautifully finished raw concrete walls have been transformed by the perforation of 500 starlight holes, giving a playful edge and newfound lightness and light. Internally, shafts of sunlight constantly animate the floor, changing in intensity and colour. In the evenings the light source is reversed, and the building itself becomes a glowing array of starlights blending with the night sky.

2008 Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Blacket Prize for Regional Architecture
2008  Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Award for Public Architecture
2009  World Architecture Festival (WAF) Winner in Sport Category
2009  Concrete Institute of Australia Award for Excellence in Concrete