Berninneit’s designers take a bow, as centre is recognised in prestigious awards

The new cultural heart of Cowes, Berninneit, has been recognised for its unique design, sustainability and public appeal, shortlisted in four categories for a prestigious national architecture award.

The Australian Institute of Architects’ Victorian Chapter Awards shortlisted Berninneit across four categories: Public Architecture, Regional Architecture, Sustainable Architecture, and Interior Architecture.

Berninneit was architecturally designed by Jackson Clements Burrows and built by McCorkell Constructions.

Opened in October, Berninneit has already hosted a who’s who of art and music, including performer Kate Ceberano, who said despite its grand size, Berninneit was one of the finest and most intimate venues she’d performed in during her decades long career.

More than 12,000 patrons watched live performances at the centre in the first three months of opening – that’s the population of Phillip Island, and movie screenings and events regularly sell out.

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor Cr Clare Le Serve said the ambitious, Passivhaus design was testament to the talent involved in the building’s planning and construction.

“The architects took their inspiration from the Island, both geographically and historically,” Cr Le Serve said.

“The external staggered brickwork a major technical feat reflecting the erosion of the sand cliffs, and the use of red stonework in the interior surfaces is inspired by our Red Rocks. The magnificent mountain ash pillars – a feature of the grand hall – tell the story of our colonial heritage through our jetty pylons.”

Council worked alongside Bunurong Land to design an Indigenous plant landscape outside, and with council Bunurong artist, Kobi Sainty, to create unique carpet fittings, room names and, most significantly, the name of the building itself, which means ‘gather together’.

Cr Le Serve said with Council’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, an ambitious, completely sustainable building was required.

“Being able to design and construct a building that minimises long term operational cost through its Passivhaus design will have lasting impact for our local community and environment. Buildings like Berninneit are the future of community spaces, so it’s fitting, but not surprising, this wonderful building has been recognised on a national scale,” she said.

The award winners will be announced on 7 June.

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