A renovated heritage CBD pub, Fino’s city sibling and a multi-purpose high-rise were among the winners of the 2020 South Australian Architecture Awards, which were presented by the SA chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects on Thursday night. The presentation was held virtually for the first time, via a live Youtube stream. The awards are held annually and encompass a wide range of projects, from residential and commercial, to public and educational architecture.

The big winner was brewpub, restaurant and rooftop bar Sparkke at the Whitmore, which took home the commercial architecture award and a heritage award for its redesign and extension by Troppo Architects. Jurors were impressed with the designers’ ability to both honour and build on the “original character of the site”. The original Georgian frontage of the 181-year-old building has been preserved behind floor-to-ceiling glass and inside, painstakingly preserved brickwork runs into blush-pink archways.

Fino Vino, the recently opened urban sibling of Barossa icon Fino Seppeltsfied, received the Robert Dickson Award for interior architecture. It’s design by Studio-Gram brings the brand’s regional charm to the city centre and was lauded for its duality of raw and refined – a visual link to the raw produce and fine food of the restaurant. Our writer called the 70-seat wine bar and restaurant “a striking jumble of textures, where marble meets wood, leather meets iron, and rugged brick and stone walls are left naked”).

U City by Woods Bagot – a 20-storey mixed-use development made up of specialist apartments for people living with a disability, retirement living apartments and social services, including church services – was presented the City of Adelaide Prize and an award for Public Architecture. The $100-million development is on the corner of Franklin and Pitt Streets in the CBD, on the site of the now-demolished neo-gothic Maughan Church. Jurors commended the integration of “small reminders of the site’s rich history layered throughout the building through material, form and motif”. It’s also SA’s greenest building, given the state’s highest green score (84.9 points of a possible 100) by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Sans Arc Studio’s work on breezy city diner Part Time Lover – formerly a disused glass-roofed gazebo located between Adelaide Town Hall and the Adina Treasury – and Dowie Doole’s sustainable shipping container cellar door by Adelaide architect Oli Scholz (Scholz Vinall) both received commendations.

Australian Institute of Architects SA Chapter president Tony Giannone noted the unique situation this year presented to the awards. “With site visits replaced by online interviews, jurors rose to the challenge and were able to debate and remotely explore the merits of the entries,” he said in a press release. “We have all had to adapt and be flexible to a different delivery mode for the Awards Program this year. However, we’re confident in the process and proud to deliver the program despite this year’s extraordinary circumstances.”

In total, the jury bestowed 39 honours. Award-winners in each category will now progress to the National Architecture Awards to be announced in November.