Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg of KoningEizenberg

Seven key projects by Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal winning KoningEizenberg

KoningEizenberg founders, Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg, have been awarded the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal for 2019. We've rounded up seven of their key projects.

Australian architects Koning and Eizenberg were recognised for their various civic, educational and affordable housing projects including the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and the Pico Branch Library in Santa Monica.

"Throughout their careers and long before it was mainstream, Hank and Julie worked relentlessly to improve social and community outcomes through effective design," said Clare Cousins, former Australian Institute of Architects president.

"They took on complex and difficult challenges and now have a legacy of meaningful projects that have transformed individuals’ lives and the communities around them."

The architects both studied at the University of Melbourne, before relocating to the USA where they established KoningEizenberg in Santa Monica in 1981.

"We didn't really plan to leave Australia – why would you? And we miss it," explained Eizenberg. "Being honoured by our peers with the Gold Medal feels all the more meaningful. And we will be back! We still need to complete our first building in Australia – the Student Pavilion at the University of Melbourne."

Read on for seven of KoningEizenberg's key buildings:


Children's Museum in Pittsburgh by KoningEizenberg
Photograph is by Esto

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, 2005

In Pittsburgh Koning and Eizenberg connected two historic stone landmarks – a 1890s post office and a planetarium built in 1939, with a steel-and-glass-framed space to create an entrance for the interactive children's museum.

The bridging glass enclosure is shaded by a tiled sunscreen, which reflects the light as it moves with the wind.


Sobieski House by KoningEizenberg

Sobieski House, South Pasadena, 2012

The folded white boxes of the Sobieski House accommodate a family of four, and is designed to adapt to their upcoming lifestyle changes. Cladding of burnt wood bars on the exterior of bathroom and storage spaces are contrasted with the white exterior.

KoningEizenberg used a combination of passive design strategies and fan-assisted earth tubes to eliminate the need for air conditioning in the building.


28 Street Apartments by KoningEizenberg

28th Street Supportive Apartments, Los Angeles, 2012

At the 28th Street Supportive Apartments KoningEizenberg renovated a former YMCA within a 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival into a series of homes, alongside community facilities including a basketball court and workspaces.

The refurbished building and an addition block, which has perforated metal screens on several of its facades, are arranged on either side of a social garden space that was created on an existing rooftop.


Belmar Apartments by KoningEizenberg

Belmar Apartments, Santa Monica, 2014

Built on a sloping triangular site between existing office buildings, Belmar Apartments contains 160 affordable apartments. The studio used the changing grade of the central courtyard to fit high number of units within the wedge-shaped space.

Designed to be a sustainable neighbourhood, the masterplan was created through a community-participation process.


Pico Branch Library by KoningEizenberg

Pico Branch Library, Santa Monica, 2014

The distinct linear roof form of the Pico Branch Library was created from a focused approach to sustainability.

Rainwater is harvested to flush toilets, and the carved ceiling works alongside skylights to provide extensive light into the space. Direct sunlight and glare is shaded by exterior canopies that were designed to add pattern and detail to the building.

The library was designed as a community educational resource, preserving green areas while revitalising unused ones.


Temple Israel of Hollywood, Hollywood, 2016

The waved forms seen inside the light-filled space of the Temple Israel of Hollywood, take its cues from a fringed garment worn by Jews. Exterior awnings reflect the undulating shapes inside, and shade the sanctuary's courtyard.

Located alongside a historically significant sanctuary, the building was renovated to reflect a contemporary space of worship and offer classrooms to continue the congregation's educational philosophy.


Geffen Academy by KoningEizenberg

Geffen Academy, Los Angeles, 2018

KoningEizenberg replaced dark hallways with light-filled spaces in this UCLA-affiliated secondary school called the Geffen Academy. The studio added a porous central spine to run through all three floors of the existing library space, rooms with varying furniture are adapted for individual and group work.

Students can enjoy outdoor patios on the first floor, as well as a maker-space, dance studios and communal dining space. Housing multiple laboratories, classrooms and sound studios, the school is designed to enable diverse study and activity.


Photography is by Eric Staudenmaier unless stated otherwise. Main image is by Ned Kahn.