2019 NSW Student Architecture Awards

The NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects announced on Friday 1 March 2019 the winners in the 2019 NSW Student Architecture Awards, recognising the best student work completed in the last year from the four accredited schools of architecture in NSW.

NSW Graduate Medal
supported by Mirvac Design

No ‘us’ and ‘them’ Joshua Sleight | The University of New South Wales

No ‘us’ and ‘them’ is a disarmingly powerful demonstration of the potential for architecture to respond to major social problems through small, beautiful and cumulative spatial moves. While awareness of mental health issues has been growing in recent times, the role of architecture in addressing them has not been very clear. Through a series of annotated watercolour diagrams, masterplan and two buildings for Bondi, this project delivers not only an exquisitely spatialised analysis of the daily forms of alienation that mental health sufferers experience, but a sensitive, highly-resolved scheme that resonates at urban, architectural and intimate scales.

Identifying two critical conditions of how people facing societal challenges – such as domestic violence, homelessness and addiction – become segregated into the visible and the hidden, the project offers a sequence of sophisticated yet gentle public spaces that provide both community forum and living room for Bondi. The architecture is consistently engaging in programmatic richness, section, materiality, and sense of place, attuned to the redemptive effects of light, the natural world and human interaction.

Immaculately crafted models, drawings and material experiments, as well as an empathetic and moving set of narratives make this a distinctive, accomplished suite. A worthy winner of the NSW Graduate Medal No ‘us’ and ‘them’ merits dissemination beyond the profession into the broader community

NSW Graduate Medal – Commendation
supported by Mirvac Design

The Brickworks Nathan Dawes | The University of Newcastle

The Brickworks as a Sydney landmark on the fringe of the city sits slowly decaying into the earth. Once the centre of industry producing bricks for the growing suburbs it has long stood idle and unloved. The pit infilled with the detritus of Sydney; only a resurgence of hedonistic interest in the 90’s rave scene saw a brief reprieve from its current state.

Nathan’s scheme adapts this layered history into an opportunity to reinvigorate and adapt the existing fabric above ground and incorporate a series of subterranean chambers, part performance space, part experiential journey, into the bowels of the earth.  Attention to detail and symbolic layering of materiality respect both the industrial past of the site and create a seductive labyrinth of spaces.  The narrative and research were strongly supported by intricate models, sketches, renders and a video presentation.

NSW Undergraduate Medal
supported by Bates Smart

Little Bay Retreat Yishun Tang | The University of New South Wales

Little Bay Retreat, an overnight accommodation for walkers travelling along the coastal trails, takes us on an ethereal journey that demonstrates a level of sophisticated elegance and architectural rigour. Whilst seemingly understated, the author reveals a keen awareness of both the natural and material environments as well as the user’s requirements. The outcome is a simultaneous juxtaposition of creativity – the retreat is both present yet absent; immediate yet distant; dark yet light; playful yet pragmatic; ordered yet organic; static yet mobile. Articulated through the renders, drawings and equally through the author’s presentation, the design evokes a purposeful craftsmanship that rejuvenates the body both physically and mentally – a well-deserved winner of the NSW Undergraduate Medal.

NSW Undergraduate Medal – Commendation

supported by Bates Smart

Urban Studio Shuyang Liang | The University of New South Wales

Urban Studio shows a precocious handling of a complex educational program for an inner city high school on a demanding site in Elizabeth Bay. Supported by insightful research into site, educational design and the experiential nature of learning, the highlight of this scheme is its architectonic finesse and fit to streetscape. The part is of a stepped mass around a central courtyard is argued convincingly, both as a climatic device and as socially active circulation. Vertically dispersed learning tiers, from busy public plane to private roof terrace articulate pedagogical and community aspects of school life, while timber cladding unites the diverse elements of the urban block in a fine-grained, materially dynamic wrap.

NSW Undergraduate Medal – Commendation

Domain Arts Sasha Tatham | The University of Sydney

Domain Arts, tucked behind The Mint and fronting The Domain, presents itself as an evocative space that consists of a series of both public and private moments. Through meticulous site research and reinterpretation of Jorn Utzon’s Can Lis, these moments, or objects, manifest unique spatial experiences that are specific to the site.

A site which has limitless possibilities, the author instead delivers a sophisticated design with creative restraint. Both the use of fixed furniture that merge with the architectural elements, as well as the simplicity of the wall – its thickness, height, length, curvature, openness and orientation – anchor the project. The curved roof plane and sculptural columns define the entry and circulation space; the wall becomes the bookstore, which upon ascending, captures views to the park; the wall curves and descends to a narrow opening, which culminates to an underground gallery; the walls below become intimate performance spaces, which from above are presented as round sculptural domes in the park. Communicated through diagrammatic images, plans, sections, models and the report, the walls and objects articulate a level of spatial richness that is both bold and beautiful.

NSW Architectural Communication Award
supported by Turner

Type 15: work live in Chandigarh Sahibajot Kaur| The University of Newcastle

Type 15: work live in Chandigarh is a wholistic proposal to improve the quality of people’s lives while creating a richer urban fabric. It is the essence of what architecture strives for; the enrichment of the human condition and a positive force for change.

Through the skilful use of models, drawings and videos it communicates passion and empathy for those whose lives can be improved by a re-examination of existing typologies and preconceptions.

The tonal qualities of the drawings, materiality of the models and production of the video are moody and evocative. The different mediums weave a multilayered story that connect to the viewer on many levels creating a desire to dwell deeper into the possibilities of what could be and how could one make this happen.

NSW Architectural Technologies Award

The Filament Factory Jazmin Gavin | The University of Newcastle

The Filament Factory reveals the process of plastic recycling through architecture on a site in the town of Alice Springs.  The project identifies a sensitive architectural response to both a local and global sustainability issue.  The project takes on an important advocacy role.  The architecture celebrates a process which is often private and concealed.   A collage of plastic wraps the building externally which is approached as a ‘billboard’, providing an opportunity to share the message of sustainability, becoming a key interface with the local community.  The project communicates waste consumption and challenges consideration of how it should be valued as a resource through encouraging community participation.

The façade tells a story and invites the public inside where they can observe and engage with the intricacies of the manufacturing process.  By making the recycling process explicit the building has taken on a role in educating, engaging and informing the public. The recipient has demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the recycling process. This is expressed through the celebration of the mechanistic components of the recycling process. The jury was impressed by the social and environmental ambition of The Filament Factory and agree is a worthy recipient of the Technology award.


The University of New South Wales
supported by fjmt

  • Hayden Co’Burn – Graduate of the Year (Master’s program)
  • Louisa Hartley – Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program)
  • Luke Walker – History & Theory Prize
  • Matthew Burnett – Construction & Practice Prize

The University of Technology Sydney
supported by Crone

  • Joel Glynn – Graduate of the Year (Master’s program) 
  • Oscar Read– Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program)
  • Madison Randall – History & Theory Prize
  • Alexander Lewis – Construction & Practice Prize

The University of Newcastle
supported by EJE architecture       

  • Sahibajot Kaur – Graduate of the Year (Master’s Program)
  • Kate Glanville – Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s Program)          
  • Claudia Smith – History & Theory Prize
  • Nathan Dawes – Construction & Practice Prize

The University of Sydney
supported by Jacobs

  • Sarah Mae-Siew Yap – Graduate of the Year (Master’s program)                             
  • Chris Koustoubardis – Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program)
  • Mitchell Tran – History & Theory Prize
  • Nicolas Buci & Jong-Oh Won – Construction & Practice Prize

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